We get a lot of pitches from Start-ups, that’s understandable. However, we don’t always manage to understand from the pitch what the idea is, where the innovation is and how viable it is.
To help you hone your pitch skills we decided to create this list of tips for entrepreneurs on how to best write your pitch when you address an investor, VC, incubator or anyone else.
Tip 1: Use less words to say more
Every incubator or VC have their own forms and formats for pitching new ideas. Some may be very long and detailed, others short and sweet. Regardless of the length of the form, what you write in the fields matters. Try to think ahead and prepare your texts. Ask yourself the following questions:
- If I had to describe my idea in 140 characters on twitter, what would I say?
- If I had to explain my idea to a total stranger who is not from my field, what would I say?
- If I had to think of a slogan for my idea/venture, a 1 liner that explains the concept and invites people to learn more, what would I say?
Try to envision what the form looks like on the other end, after you send it. Will it come out messy and full of text? Will it be organized and clear to the person reading it? What would you think if you received your own pitch and you have no idea what the venture is – would you understand it?
Tip 2: Include all the relevant information
Make sure you fill in the form properly. This may sound like common sense, but more often than not, we see that people don’t fully read the labels or questions before answering them. We then get blocks of text irrelevant to the question we asked and we have to start rebuilding the puzzle. This is not a good start. Keep in mind that most investors and business development managers or deal flow managers are busy people. Also remember that they may be getting dozens of pitches every day. Yours needs to stand out – not necessarily in the innovative concept, but in its simplicity!
Don’t get caught up in your own dream until you forget to include important information such as your contact details or why you want to start your venture.
Tip 3: Remember that who reads your pitch is not you
Chances are the pitch will be read and analyzed by someone who is not savvy in technology as you are and perhaps has no knowledge or deep understanding in your specific field. In other words, even experts on certain things don’t know everything. Explain your idea as if you are talking to a child. Think of the 4 “W” in this order:
WHY do you do what you do? (Believe it or not, your motivation for the venture is the most important thing!)
WHO do you do this for? (Who is the human being best served by your venture?)
WHAT do you do? (What is the solution/idea?)
WHERE will you apply it? (What market segments or niches will you address?)
Tip 4: Proof-read your pitch
We realize that not all entrepreneurs are native English speakers or writers. That’s OK. We’re not testing you for your spelling or grammar. But we need to be able to understand what you wish to say. So before you hit “send” and start praying, take a moment to re-read what you wrote and make sure it makes sense. If the person on the other side can’t understand what you want to say, chances are they won’t pursue communication with you.
Tip 5: Follow up
So, you’ve pitched your idea to an incubator. Congratulations and good luck! Now what? Now you follow up! Research and try to connect to some of the team members on LinkedIn (better make sure your own LinkedIn profile is up to date and looking sharp!), see if there is a way to meet them in person on meetups, conferences or workshops and follow up with a short polite email after a week if you get no response. Many times you will find they were just too busy handling previous pitches to get back to you but when you show you are determined, it goes a long way!