What to consider before deciding to participate in a Pitch event
One of the major events when being a tech start up in Silicon Valley (SV) are PITCH EVENTS. They are part of the “education pattern” to get into SV’s culture. The fact of participating forces the entrepreneur to nail down in a couple of minutes the BIG picture of your business case. It’s a must for every early stage startup — but considering some important aspects can safe you quite some time that you can dedicated to move ahead with your venture.
- Especially if you are a first time entrepreneur or if you have not graduated in the states — you might better participate in a couple of those events as in preparation of those you learn the ABC of how to potentially rock the stage the SV-way! The reason why I throw in also the target group of non-US graduated entrepreneurs, is based on my learnings of being one and from having pitched/and seen presentation all over EU, LATAM and US. US and especially bay area school systems teach you public speaking from early on — and yes — one can see that! Many speakers are awesome. So you better jump into the pool!
- Filter — Filter — Filter which one makes sense to join! You might keep investing quite a bit of time — just to show up with no result. To prepare for a 45 min presentation takes you a workday. To prepare for a 3 minute pitch takes you a week. And because startup is a company where circumstances and facts change almost daily … in most cases your last pitch never equals your next one!
- Set the right expectations / potential result of each event with the team. Preparing for such an event is always a team effort. As such, everybody has an expectation of“wow — we get visibility and more funding to reinvest in colleagues that helps us build our awesome product”. Let’s face — we are living the dream and this is what we aim. Thus, a very important aspect of every event you participate is to align the expectation with the team before you participate. Are we going to get funded? Are you creating brand awareness? Are you going to reach new customers? Are you potentially meeting new team members? … Expectation settings is the most important factor through out the entire start up journey.
- How to make a difference on stage is crucial. It’s TUE morning, the pitch event starts — everybody had a coffee and the the event has been kicked off. After a short intro the first startups come on stage — one after the other. Fast forwarding the story … Imagine now after lunch … It’s 2pm meanwhile and the audience has listened to 38 pitches already … and now it’s your turn!! Tarararahhhh!!! How to grab their attention? How can you be different? What can you do to give it a crazy moment — that leads them to like you & than your product?
a) Be creative and come up with a thing others don’t do (eg. see my pitch video above).
b) Transform your fear into courage. Fear is a status of your mind. You can control it. You can’t control pain — because it’s a physical issue — but you CAN fear — it’s mental.
Believe it or not it’s important / if not key for start up entrepreneurs. The way you speak in public is part of your Product Marketing! That’s what I call create a brand experience — where people connect beyond your product. Because business is all about enchanting others!
- business is about enchanting everybody around you
- filter — as you time is very valuable
- set the right expectations with the team
- be creative and rock the stage
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