Pitch with confidence to secure new investors, partners, staff, and customers
Pitching is an essential part of building your startup. This is your opportunity to persuade and influence people to either work with you or support you. Even if you are a nervous public speaker, you can pitch like a pro — and it all comes down to practice, preparation, and knowing your audience!
So, whether you’re pitching in a competition, a boardroom meeting, or to a group of angel investors, we’re here to share tips to help you create a stand-out pitch presentation.
Why is pitching so important?
Pitching allows you to have meaningful conversations that help you to attract and influence people to support your business. You may be wanting to attract investors, partners, sponsors, customers, suppliers, a co-founder, or even staff. Each pitch should be specific and tailored directly to the types of people you are looking to work with. At the end of the day, you’re asking for other people’s time, energy, or money, so it’s important to customise your pitch presentation.
What makes a good pitch?
There are a number of things that make a pitch standout to the audience, and you should consider them when putting together your presentation. Even if it’s a 30 second networking pitch, a 5 minute pitch at a competition, or a 10 minute pitch to a group of angel investors, you need to think about what’s important to your specific audience, and how you can influence them to want to speak to you further.
Here’s what can help you make a great pitch:
- Incredulity or disbelief which identifies the problem you’re solving, and why — “I can’t believe that problem was so bad!”
- An a-ha moment
- Strategically pausing throughout the presentation to highlight key moments
- Changing the pitch or loudness of your voice
- Structure — every pitch should have a beginning, middle, and end. Just like any presentation, you should tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it, then tell them what you said
- Be engaging — you need to make your audience take notice, so think about what can help you to stand out
How to structure your pitch
We’ve outlined a pitch structure to help you create your next presentation. But, it’s important to remember that your structure should be built upon, or narrowed down, depending on who you’re presenting to.
Here’s an overview of the structure and slides you should include in your pitch presentation to stand out from the crowd:
Although it’s often overlooked, you should ensure you have all relevant information included on your title slide. This includes your name, company name, contact details, social media handles, and a short and punchy one-liner that helps to capture the essence of your idea. Adding a name and location on the title slide also shows that you’ve put in the effort to tailor your presentation to the audience.
On this slide you should list your current statistics, such as launch date, customers, revenue to date, funding received (if any), your notable achievements, and why you are pitching. This slide should only be included if you are pitching to investors or co-founders.
Identify the problem and opportunity:
This slide should include how real or serious the problem you are trying to solve is, how it’s currently being solved, and why the current solutions aren’t adequate.
Sell your solution:
This is your chance to talk about how you are solving the problem, and why your solution is special. What makes you stand out in the market?
This slide should discuss why your solution is relevant right now. Are there any emerging trends on the horizon? Does your audience know they need a new solution to their problem? Think about why now is the right time to launch your idea.
Product or service overview:
In this slide you will share your specific product. Tell the audience what it is, the status of development (is your product or service a prototype, MVP, or a polished product ready for market?). This is your chance to include photos, videos, or a demo of your product in action.
Even if it’s just you, or you’re working in a team, this is your opportunity to showcase your skill sets and experience that will help bring your product or service to life. This slide should only be included if you are pitching to investors, partners, or co-founders. Investors specifically will be looking at the skill sets within the team that will ensure the idea is a success, and give them a return on investment.
In this slide you will discuss the revenue opportunity and market size of your startup. There are 2 ways to calculate this. The first is called “top down”, by using industry reports to gather market information. The second is called “bottom up”, where revenue opportunity is calculated by your transaction value, potential customers in the market, conversion rate, and annual market growth rate. When calculating your potential customers or market share, it’s important to be realistic, as this is the number of people likely to use your product or service. This slide should only be included if you are pitching to investors or co-founders.
In this slide you will share the research and market validation you’ve done for your idea to date. What evidence have you gathered so far? How do you know that you can meet your market share? This slide should only be included if you are pitching to investors or co-founders.
Your revenue model:
Talk about how you’ll make money, and your projections and assessments for your revenue. This slide should only be included if you are pitching to investors or co-founders.
It’s essential to perform competitor research and analysis. Co-founders and investors want to know who your competitors are, what they’re doing, what they’re not doing (that you CAN do), and how you’ll compete.This slide should only be included if you are pitching to investors or co-founders.
Your startup plan:
In this slide you’ll discuss your plans for the next 6-12 months, and address the following: What milestones will you hit to make money? What are your goals? What are your top 1-2 risks, and how will you address them? This slide should only be included if you are pitching to investors or co-founders.
This is the reason you’re presenting your pitch! It’s time to tell the audience why you’re here, and what you need. Is it investment? Networks and contacts? Staff or co-founders? Customers? Or partners?
Our tips to pitch like a pro
There are some things to consider when it comes to using your body and voice during a pitch presentation. While most of these may sound like common sense, they can often be overlooked — especially when you’re focussed on what you want to say, or clicking to your next slide.
Here are some things to think about that can make you appear more credible and confident on stage (even if you’re nervous):
- The loudness of your voice: You should be easily heard without being overpowering
- Pausing instead of using filler words like “um” and “like”
- The pace of your speech: Deliberately speed up or slow down to keep the audience’s attention
- Maintain good posture: Keep an open stance to the whole audience, and avoid swaying or shifting
- Maintain eye contact: Hold your gaze and ensure you work the room, so you make contact with everyone in the audience
- Avoid covering your face or hands
Now that we’ve shared our top tips to help you pitch with confidence, it’s time to get to work on developing your pitch presentation or practicing your speaking skills!
If you’re interested in learning more about Startup Gippsland and how we can help you build and scale your business, be sure to take a look at our website.