How to Prepare a Winning Business Pitch
To get a business idea off the ground, you may need some investment. And this means you’ll need to convince investors that you have a great business plan. But what goes into a good business pitch?
A few things to consider when pitching a business include:
- The type of business pitch you’re preparing (e.g., verbal or written)
- Details to include, such as your target customers, market research, etc.
- Who you’re pitching your idea to and what they’re seeking.
- Who you are and who you’re working with in the business venture.
- How much to include in your pitch (as compared to a full business plan).
So let’s take a closer look at how to prepare a winning business pitch.
1. Written vs. Verbal Pitches
If you’ve been asked to pitch your business, make sure you know what type of pitch to give. The main distinction here is between written and verbal pitches:
- A written pitch is a short document, typically between one and three pages, where you outline the nature of your business for investors.
- A verbal pitch is a presentation you give to potential investors in person. This could be a short elevator pitch, which would last up to two minutes. Or it could be a full presentation with backup visuals and documentation.
Chances are you’ll need to use both at different points of pitching a business (e.g., selling the idea with a short elevator pitch before writing a written pitch to flesh out the details). Thus, you should try to find out what kind of pitches investors are seeking and tailor yours accordingly.
If you are preparing any written documents as part of your pitch, , moreover, make sure to have them proofread. This will ensure they are error free and easy to read, demonstrating your attention to detail.
2. The Essentials of a Business Pitch
The exact content of your business pitch will depend on the kind of business you’re pitching and the type of pitch you’re delivering. However, there are at least a few details that any business pitch should include, such as:
- A brief overview of your business idea and your overall goals (this could be the introduction for a longer presentation or written document, but it might be the entirely of an elevator pitch).
- Your target customers and how your business idea will serve them.
- The market you’re entering and the opportunities it presents.
- How your business will distinguish itself from existing competitors.
- Your financial projections, including revenue and profit forecasts.
- Key team members and any partners you will work with in your business.
- How much investment you’re seeking and how you will spend it.
Remember, though, that a business pitch is not a business plan. It’s about selling an idea. As such, telling a compelling story can be more important than the pure details. For instance, when outlining your business, you could tell an anecdote that demonstrates the need for your product.
This can help your pitch resonate on a personal level – it’s about how your business will help real people, not just how much money you hope to make.
3. Do Your Research on Investors
It always pays to do some basic research on investors before preparing a pitch. This will give you a better idea of what different people and groups are looking for in a business, as well as giving you a sense of the kind of pitch investors are expecting. Try to find out:
- Whether they typically invest in certain business types or areas, especially if this matches the profile of your proposed investment.
- If they usually invest in specific geographic regions.
- How much they usually invest and what they seek in return.
- Whether they take a hands-on or hands-off approach to companies they invest in and how this might affect your proposed business.
This will help you pick the right investors for your business idea.
4. Sell Yourself
Don’t forget you’re part of your business pitch! In fact, some investors focus more on the people pitching a business idea than what they are pitching. A great idea can be worthless in the wrong hands, after all, so you need to show investors they can trust you with their money.
As such, you should include something about you and your team’s past achievements in your pitch. If possible, focus on success stories that show you know how to start and run a business.
5. Don’t Overload on Information
Finally, when you’ve prepared a first draft of your pitch, cut it down to the essentials. The most common error when pitching a business is trying to cram too much in, especially in a verbal pitch, where you may end up rushing.
Remember: this is a pitch, not a plan. So rather than launching straight into a full five-year financial breakdown, focus on key details that make your idea appealing. Another tip is to use visual aids, such as charts and tables, which can stop your presentation becoming too wordy.
In other words, your priority in a pitch is to make investors interested in your idea. And you won’t be able to do this if they’re struggling to keep up with reams of information. Of course, if all goes well, the people you’ve pitched to may ask follow-up questions. Or they may ask for a full written plan. This is when you’ll need the in-depth research you’ve prepared. But try to keep things engaging until you know the investors are already hooked!