Perfecting the Pitch â€" A How to Guide

Last Updated May 2, 2007 2:37 PM EDT

Starting a business is like assembling giant mechanical watch in that there are hundreds of moving parts that must be timed to interact perfectly. Much like a watch has a face which is the external component that the world sees; an early stage startup has “the pitch” – the one facet of the business that must beautifully communicate everything that is going on in the background.

The difference between a good pitch and bad pitch not only can determine whether you get meetings with investors, but also how well you are able to hire, establish partnerships, build buzz, and generate excitement.

I am no expert on the pitch, but these are my thoughts:

A pitch is like a minimalist business plan, you need to get to the bottom of the issue very quickly.

1 - Hook your audience:
Propose a big problem. Think of a heavy hitting sentence that you can use to catch your listeners attention with the sheer magnitude of the problem you are trying to solve.

2- Solve the problem:
Explain the elegant solution you are developing to solve this devastating problem.

3 - Bring it home
Knock em dead with a real world example of how your solution will solve the problem.

Do:

  • Keep it short: The goal is to generate interest so that you are asked further questions.
  • Make it a conversation: A lot of entrepreneurs memorize the pitch and spit it back out word for word, try to keep it light and easy on the ears.
  • Show excitement: The more into it you get, the more people will feed of your energy and share your passion

Don’t:

  • Quote numbers: These numbers are great in presentations and models, not in pitches. If you must, then keep it to just the market size.
  • Use words you can’t qualify: Saying your product is the best will get you nowhere.
  • Explain features: If you have to resort to explaining features, your pitch won’t work. The pitch is all about the big idea not the details. Save those for later.