Entrepreneur Prepping for Pitch Competition
Yesterday, a business student I was coaching for a pitch competition won.
I had worked with this individual for two weeks prior to the Event, and here are the takeaways I learnt from the experience:
- When working on the creation of your pitch deck (1 to 13 slides to support your presentation), know your story inside and out. The content of the slides or other material (auditory, for example) matter less then knowing what your story is and being able to communicate it properly to the panel.
- Does your pitch answer six or seven relevant questions early, capturing your call to action within the first two minutes? The product or service, market size, value proposition and business model to make money, team members and their background, the market competitors, and competitive advantage are at the heart of a successful pitch. In other words, what is the problem you are trying to solve?
- Summarize your Go-to-Market (GTM) blueprint for winning in the marketplace clearly and succinctly; repeat the GTM throughout the pitch and be prepared to field questions related to the GTM. The panel is made up of humans with limited attention spans, they may or may not takes notes, and their questions could reflect this — see point #1.
- Know your audience and the strengths, weaknesses, and potential biases, they bring to their decision making. If you’re pitching to a panel of tech consultants a food franchise concept, they may lack the expertise to properly assess your proposal and their competition decision may negatively reflect this.
- Be clear about how your concept will scale and grow. Having a rough idea of how your idea will develop and grow the business can help to clarify your idea’s road-map for success — see point#3.
- Have clarity in your pitch. Speaking to goals with a clearly articulated message will win over the panel; the panel will ask questions and look for holes in your concept which will bring into focus any lack of clarity. Be very clear in what it is you’re asking for, be it a another meeting, a cash award, a mentor-ship, etc. This might sound repetitive, but knowing your audience and their backgrounds will be beneficial in anticipating the kind of questions that may be posed.
- Bring mindfulness into your competition prep. Chew gum, focus on your breathing, or do something else that will take your mind off worrying or ruminating over the outcomes of your pitch. A pitch competition is a competitive endeavor: approaching it as such in terms of training and preparation are all you can do; being anxious will only hurt your delivery and your potential to win. Putting some effort into a having a few tools at your disposal to counter anxiety will pay handsomely in terms of a winning pitch.