Pitching is probably the most crucial presentation technique an entrepreneur has to master in the startup life. Whether it is in written form of an email or an application to an accelerator or a grant, visual or multi-media in the form of a one-pager or video or orally like an elevator pitch – pitching is important for stirring interest and making noise.
At weXelerate, pitching is a crucial part for all startups and scaleups in the program. For example at the reverse open house where all the participants get to know the other established companies, agencies and institutions in the hub and most notably at the traditional Startup Fair: Pitching and making one’s startup noticeable is crucial for opening the next door, getting a vital warm intro or booking the next big meeting with a prospective client, investor or future team member.
In part 1 of this mini-series on pitching, we’ll focus on the basic philosophy of a pitch.
The first do: understand that a pitch is an attention grabber. Many inexperienced pitchers misunderstand the purpose of a pitch, be it a 60 seconds elevator pitch or a four minutes investor pitch at a venture capital event. A pitch is always just a foot in the door that should entice your audience to ask questions, approach you later and should make them want to get to know you and your business.
The corresponding don’t: you must not want to answer every single question about the product, the technology or the business model. Do not overload the pitch with too many different story lines and too much information.
Do know the mission of you pitching. Why are you here at this event? Why are you pitching? Before going to a pitch competition, a trade show or a venture capital forum where you will ultimately have to pitch, you must have a mission. It can be everything from finding investors, to customers to advertising your app launch but it has to be there, and you have to be aware of your mission because it defines how and what you are going to pitch (and – very importantly – what you leave out of the pitch).
In contrast, do not confuse the audience. The golden rule of any presentation is that you must know your audience. Who is listening? What is their mission of being here watching you pitch? A pitch has to be aligned according to these thoughts. For instance, going to a small business angel summit when you’re raising a double-digit Series B-round will probably be a waste of time, while attending a top student career summit when looking for your next interns could very well pay off.
To sum up, understand a pitch’s purpose, set a clear focus, always be aware why you are pitching and construct your pitch according to the audience. How you exactly do that we’ll tell you in part 2 the next time!
>>>> AVISO: In part 2 we’ll talk about do’s & don’ts regarding the pitch structure, approach and storytelling