A successful pitch takes more than a great idea. That is certainly a critical starting point, it is just one piece of what makes a pitch convincing to investors, to potential partners, and to your audience at large. The best ways to foster that conviction is always in flux and shifts constantly as the greater startup industry itself changes shape.
While there will never be an entirely foolproof strategy to convince everyone of your quality, there are some continually evolving best practices that are worthy of your consideration.
Before we get into all of the specific tactics, it’s important not to forget about that idea step. Too many intrepid new business owners imagine something game-changing, but that’s also too difficult or too unwieldy to build. This is the exact opposite of what investors are generally interested in. For the most part, all they want to see is something that fills a need, and more importantly, something that stands a real chance of making money.
Your product doesn’t have to be sexy, just something that people or businesses want that you believe you can package in a better way than anyone else has. Your idea can still be ingenious, it can still be innovative, and important, but above all, it needs to be really and truly feasible.
The next step is to find a way to convince people of both the real application of your idea, and the chance of making it into a reality. That all starts with how you present yourself and your team. Investors want to see experience. They want to understand clearly that you are capable of selling something, and you have the history to back it up.
For many young, new entrepreneurs, this is a brutal catch-22. How can you build the experience you need if no one is taking you seriously in the first place because of your lack of experience? The only way to combat that is to look at yourself and recognize the valuable intangibles that you bring to the table in the place of years of experience.
Whether it be passion, the depth of your knowledge of the market, or your general product developments intelligence, these elements are what will make investors take notice of you. No one, but you can determine what those are, and they are what you need to bring to the table every time you sit down to share your pitch.
You’re going to need to be adaptable too. Many investors like a CEO that they can work with. Someone who’s willing to take their advice, and be transparent with all the elements of their business. This is something that you should be upfront about right away. You want to create a successful product, and even if the final result might not appear exactly like what you envision, that should always be the end goal. Hopefully you can work with investors to make sure that every pivot is still in line with the dream that you’re trying to bring into the world.
Once you’ve figured out how you are going to present yourself, the next step is to show off the team that’s going to be building the product. More and more, the team is what investors want to hear about most. They are what’s going to make the product a real, testable thing. If an investor can’t have faith in the people that are going to execute on your vision then there’s not a chance in hell that they will give you the time of day (or their money for that matter).
Hopefully you have people with experience, both in product development and business, each with the skillsets and backgrounds that will play off each other perfectly to build a well-oiled machine.
And of course, last but not least is the product (or service). Ideas are great, but products are all that really matter at the end of the day. A clear vision of what it is, how it’s going to sell, and how you’re going to get from Point A (the idea) to Point B (the product) are the pieces that investors need to hear.
If you can project your business plan with confidence, and articulate very clearly what exactly you’re building then you should be in a good position to be given real consideration. The best way to do this is to have real, anecdotal examples of how people or businesses are going to benefit from what you are putting on offer. A “picture this” moment if you will or an elevator pitch.
Now it’s just a matter of the investor seeing that benefit both in terms of potential revenue and real impact. Share your history, share your passion, and share your story. If you can truly move them with the depth of your dedication and the scope of your plan then you’ve got it made.