Pitching is never easy, and every pitch is different, but there are a few basic pieces of information that every audience would like to hear, so I decided to throw together an outline of the critical components that your pitch should cover.
This is not an outline of your entire pitch, but a starting point to help you make sure that you have the most important parts in there.
This is based on the audience feedback from StartupCampToronto 1.
The audience needs to have some context. The easiest way to answer the majority of the audience?s questions is to define as tightly as possible who you plan to sell to.
Relevant data includes
- Estimated Market Size
- Rough demographic information
- Geographic limitations or focus
- An idea of how your market will grow and change during the time you are targeting them
How will you communicate with your customers? ?We will get written about in blogs? is a popular but ultimately bad answer.
If you have done the ?Market Analysis? work and have an idea of who you will be selling to, then the best way to get a decent first marketing plan is to look at the ways in which you can communicate with that market.
Not everyone will need this, but if your customers go through any sort of ?purchasing process? (ie: Enterprise customers, or small businesses), then it is a good idea to demonstrate how you will handle that sales process. What are your points of contact?
How will you find a lead, test it and then follow through on communicating with them? Think about showing how you go from cold leads to getting the sales rolling in.
Product Development Vision
A lot of startups get so caught up in demoing what they have built so far that they forget to get people excited about what?s coming next. Telling people your vision for the product says a lot, but more than anything it shows that you aren?t going to sit still. People have trouble getting excited about a startup that has built something great but might not do much of interest going forward.
- How will your product change?
- How will the market change?
- How will the product address that change?
Don?t be that guy
Occasionally there is a really smart group of people who have the product nailed, but are weak on the marketing and biz dev side of the startup. If you fit that profile, the audience is going to be hard on you about this, so you have to prepare to be as open as possible to the advice you will get.
What you don?t want to do is to become defensive and start relying on the product as your savior in each case ?it will sell itself?, etc.
Don?t be ?that guy? who won?t admit his shortcomings. Knowing your weaknesses is a critical part of being a great entrepreneur. So get real about where you fall down and get ready to be grilled about it.
Relax. Startupcamp could be the opportunity of a lifetime for your startup. Mentors, investors and other entrepreneurs (who may be your most valuable connection) are all there to help you build something great. So relax, you are among friends.