Learning to deliver the perfect business pitch is a skill every entrepreneur must have as it determines the success of your business.
Businesses pitch for a variety of reasons: to investors, to raise capital; to customers, to show their value offering; to potential partners, to show mutual benefits; and employees, to show what the company has to offer them.
To understand how to deliver the perfect business pitch, we must first understand what a pitch is and its use.
What Is A Pitch?
A pitch is a presentation, where a business or individual sells an idea. Most investors require businesses to pitch their idea before they invest.
Online publications require pitches from contributing writers to understand what skills they have, and the reasons why their articles should be important to them. Basically, a pitch is a promise of value from one party to another.
Things To Consider When Building The Perfect Business Pitch
Crafting the perfect business pitch requires a lot of work. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs miss opportunities to seal investment deals, build partnerships, and grow their customer base because they couldn’t sell themselves. Pitching is about selling yourself or your business.
Here are a few things to consider before building your perfect business pitch;
Know Your Audience
A pitch to a client totally differs from a pitch to an investor. Investors are keen on knowing how your solution would work and how they would get a return on their investment. Clients want to know how you would solve their problem, how much they would have to pay for it, and how they can reach you.
What Problem Are You Solving?
Messaging apps like WhatsApp have solved the problem of paying for every text we send, thereby enabling users to connect better with friends and family.
Airbnb argues that hotels are too expensive and do not allow travellers to feel the culture of the cities they visit.
Be clear about your problem. In my experience, some investors want you to highlight the problem as a figure; either described in terms of the number of people that are suffering from the challenge, the losses incurred using existing solutions or the opportunity to be gained in your industry.
For example, fintech companies in Africa often highlight the problem of over 2billion people in the world, who are unbanked. They then go further to highlight the percentage of unbanked people in Africa.
Tourism startups highlight the opportunity of increased earnings if they can bring travel activities and tours online.
Before you can prepare the perfect business pitch, you have to know the problem or challenge you’re trying to solve. In understanding the problem, you can then see the opportunities that your stakeholders will be interested in.
Who Are Your Target Users/Customers?
A lot of businesses fail as a result of not identifying the people for whom they are solving a problem. For example, if you are building a solution that is entirely on the internet through an app, people who do not own a smartphone and are not on the internet are automatically excluded from your solution.
In building businesses, entrepreneurs ought to identify which industry they have passion for, analyze the players in the industry, identify trends and opportunities.
Market research, when properly done enables entrepreneurs to deeply understand who the key stakeholders and major players in their industry are. Also, it helps the entrepreneur understand the challenges they face in carrying out their activities.
Using the design thinking framework, entrepreneurs are able to understand their target users journey, their goals and their frustrations thus, enabling the entrepreneur to build a solution that helps solve the problems that the users/customers face.
Properly identifying your target users/customers is key in creating that perfect business pitch.
Most times, the people you are solving problems for, usually have a way they solve their problems. Before email, we had the post office, telephone and fax machines. So, as entrepreneurs, we need to identify the challenges they have with their current hacks. Because, if they are to use your solution, it has to be better than what they are already used to.
Looking at the financial industry, people have already been saving money under their beds, before the advent of the banking system. But, with all the banks in Nigeria, PiggyVest, a new technology company, is still enabling millions of Nigerians save to meet personal goals.
In other words, identify how your customers/clients currently solve their challenges. This will help you redefine your offering and perfect your pitch.
What Is Your Solution And How Does It Work?
After describing how the current hacks are problematic, it’s then time to present your solution. For instance, let’s look at Airbnb’s solution to its customers.
Airbnb is enabling locals to share experiences with travellers by giving them a place to stay as well as offering them that local experience that they desire and can’t get in hotels. They do this by listing people’s spare rooms online and enabling travelers to pick rooms and hosts that suit their needs.
What Value Are You Offering?
When a customer decides to buy a product, what they are actually buying is the value you’re delivering. The greater the value offered, the more likely they would be to purchase it. Show them that value, speak to their aspiration.
Your value offering should be focused on tackling their problems. Again, looking at PiggVest, PiggyVest offers upwardly mobile young people the opportunity to save and invest wisely as they grow in their careers. That value offer has enabled thousands of Nigerians to save over N1billion naira.
So, they enable users to save money and earn interests. What makes them different is, that they lock the funds away and prevent you from using it at will. With Investify, one of their products, they go a step further in enabling the user to invest in farms and earn up to 20% interest on the principal investment sum.
Your value offering is key when building the perfect business pitch. Your offer needs to resonate with your target customer, if they do not see it, they would stick with their existing hack.
Which other companies are solving the same problem?
There is never a virgin idea, there is a company somewhere tackling the same problem, but they might not be approaching the challenge from your perspective. It is important to note all the players in the industry so you can understand how best to position yourself in the competitor mix.
Using competitor analysis tools like Porter’s Five Forces, The Feature Matrix, Perceptual Mapping and SWOT you would be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your company, the opportunities, and threats from substitutes and direct competitors. This would best enable you to position yourself in your industry.
What Is Your Unique Selling Point?
What sets you apart from your competition. Investors, partners and even customers want to know why and how you are different from other companies that are solving the same problem.
Use a feature matrix to identify which features of your solution sets you apart from your competition.
Investors and even customers need to know what you would be charging customers for and how you would charge them. Your business and revenue model describes how your customer engages with your product and how you would make money from them.
Facebook’s revenue model is based on advertising. They leverage users like me and you that use their platform for free, to charge businesses and organisations for views and clicks on their ads.
Uber, the largest ride-hailing startup, makes money by charging drivers a 25% brokerage fee for every ride taken through the Uber App.
A business can make money through multiple means. However, identifying the right business model that will keep you in business is not easy. But, understanding your customer and their spending patterns is key to crafting the right business and revenue model.
This is very important for investors as they want to know the return on their investment in a few months to a couple of years.
The financial projections help your investors assess your growth potential and their potential return on investment. Investors want to know how much you are making now and how much you think you are going to make in future. This ultimately guides their decision making.
Therefore, creating a sustainable revenue model and projecting your future earnings is vital to building the perfect business pitch.
What Is Your Business Go-To-Market Strategy?
How are you going to go about acquiring your users?
A company’s go-to-market strategy is highly dependent on what product/service they are selling and who their target customers are. An agritech company offering product/services to farmers would probably opt to target farmers’ cooperatives through direct sales than using paid social media advertising to find them online.
Investors want to know how easy it would be to find your first set of customers and the activities that you would do to grow your initial set of customers.
For example, Facebook started by connecting university students to their peers before eventually connecting the world. They targeted communities of young people that are tech-savvy and were already building communities online through platforms like Google Hangout, Bebo and MySpace.
Who Are The Members Of Your Team?
This is important to both clients and investors. Most times, investors invest in people than the idea. So, they would like to know the people behind the company before they invest.
Also, they want to know the skills you and your team have and how those skills are critical to the success of your company.
It helps if your team have diverse experience. Experience is important as it gives investors confidence to invest in your product/service. Moreso, customers will trust your product or service if your team meet and surpass their expectations.
What Is Your Ask?
You must do the asking. If you’re not asking for anything, why then are you pitching? Investors would like to know how much you need from them. Also, they will like to know the percentage of equity you are willing to offer for their investment.
Likewise, partners would like to know what is expected of them and customers will also like to know what to do next. Should they click to buy or click to learn more?
How To Prepare Your Perfect Business Pitch
Once you have addressed all the highlighted points above, you are well on your way to delivering the perfect business pitch. So, how do you ensure you convey your business idea and your value proposition to your investors and customers.
Steps To Take When Preparing To Deliver The Perfect Business Pitch.
- If you are using a pitch deck, ensure your pitch deck is not wordy. That way, your audience doesn’t get distracted and take their focus off you. The use of infographics is often advised as they help convey the right messages in a simple and easily understandable format.
- Rehearse several times. Record and replay your pitch severally. It will make you comfortable with the speech and also enable you to identify areas that need tweaking. Practising will help you control the tone of your voice to elicit the right emotions from your audience.
- Have a sample of your product or a prototype of your website/app handy, so the audience can clearly see how your solution works. This will help them visually appreciate what value you are offering to them.
- Pace yourself. The allowable time for most pitches is usually between three to seven minutes. You do not want to talk slowly, so you don’t bore the audience, but you also do not want to have a lot of things to say and rush through the content.
- Prepare for potential questions that customers or investors might ask. Think through your presentation and predict at least 7 potential questions they might ask you and ensure you have good answers for every one of them. Stay confident. No one knows your business better than you. Let that shine through in your pitch.
There you have it. So, go out there and sell yourself.