Mastering the startup pitch can be one of the more nerve-wrecking experiences for budding entrepreneurs looking to make a great first impression to venture capitalists, angel investors, and other sources of funding. When making a startup pitch, many individuals make the common mistake of cramming multiple ideas into their explanations of why their startup plans are great. This method of over-cramming a startup pitch is ineffective as it tends to confuse or overwhelm the listener. Making a good startup pitch is all about enticing the listener to become interested in seeing why your startup plans are worth further investigation. Remember that the goal of a startup pitch is to get another meeting with your prospective investor. To achieve this, here are some tips that will make your startup pitch more enticing to your listener.
- Identify the Need for Your Startup Venture. In giving their startup pitch, I find that many entrepreneurs fail to clearly identify the need their startup is addressing. Identifying the need for your business venture is one of the first key concepts that you must immediately point out as you begin your startup pitch. Identifying the need occurs when you talk about why your product or service is needed in your specific target market. The need or problem your solving must be significant and important enough that your customers will buy your product or service. In addition, you must identify who your target market/demographics as well as how and why your startup will solve the identified problem. The population with the problem or need your startup is addressing must be large enough to grow a profitable startup.
- Identify Your Startup’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The next key concept that you must identify immediately when making a pitch is your venture’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which is essentially what your products/services uniquely offer to address the problem or need that you have identified. This should not contain the long list of product/service features, but rather, the top two or three key features that are most likely to set your business apart from your competition or other solutions to your identified need or problem.
- Avoid Using Buzzwords, Unnecessary Adjectives and Industry Jargon when Making a Pitch. When making a pitch, it is crucial that you address your listener as you would a regular human being. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of giving their startup pitch using lots of buzzwords, industry jargon or meaningless adjectives. Many investors refer to this approach as the “word salad” startup pitch. Using buzzwords in a startup pitch is always a bad idea. And when you use technical terms such as “Algorithmic”, “Linear Learning”, and other technical phrases, you risk alienating and confusing your listeners. If you wish to get the point of your startup across as clear and concise as possible, just explain the concept in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Finally, never use unnecessary adjectives because they will just ruin your startup pitch. Examples of unnecessary adjectives include “revolutionary,” “groundbreaking” or even “best.”
- Give a Demo of What Your Startup Offers. It is a fact that many individuals have very short attention spans and would rather see something visual as opposed to listening to words. This is true in many cases, especially in making a startup pitch. Therefore, it can be useful when giving your startup pitch to include a short demo including film, screen shots, pie charts, and other visual tools that will aid your listener in fully understanding your concept. If you do decide to include a demonstration, make it from a first-time user’s perspective as this helps them to experience what the process of using your product will be like.
There you have four simple tips for improving your startup pitch. I know it’s incredibly difficult for first-time entrepreneurs to build an amazing pitch but fortunately, there are lots of great resources available to help you on the pathway to success. The Founder Institute offers some great templates and Adeo Ressi has perfected the art of the one-sentence startup pitch with his ‘madlibs’ concept. Good luck and contact me if you have any questions about building a great pitch!