How do I get pitch-ready?

Highlights from the EY Women in Leadership Summit
Three fundamental adaptations that can help women entrepreneurs scale big

Preparing your pitch is an art form and can seem like a daunting task. However, you’re probably a lot closer than you think; if your business is at a stage where it’s pitch-ready, then so are you.

Different types of pitch

Begin by making sure you have your ‘elevator pitch’ prepared. You need to be able to summarize your business in 1 minute or less, covering the service or product you want to provide, the gap in the market which you will fill, how you differ from your rivals and who your target market is. Being able to offer a succinct, accessible description of what your business will do and what it is about is essential to engage potential investors.

When it comes to making your full-length pitch, you need to be able to show off your expertise in a personable way, showcase your team and their strengths, and ground your idea with simple, realistic messages. Remember that in addition to presenting your idea, you are also presenting yourself. Investors invest in the entrepreneur as well as the idea, so make sure you demonstrate your personal strengths as well as the strengths of your business. It also often pays off to have done your investor research and found out what your potential investor has funded before and why, how well they know your industry and how successful they have been. However, be wary of using jargon or gimmicks to differentiate your business or expertise, as often these can have an adverse effect and undermine the image of yourself that you want to present.

Prepping your pitch content

As far as the content of the pitch is concerned, you should be prepared to start from scratch and assume that your investor has little or no knowledge of your sector unless you have concrete reasons to believe otherwise. You need to be able to clearly explain what problem your product or service solves, your target market and customer acquisition strategy, your funding needs, the growth strategy and return on investment, your exit strategy, and offer competitive analysis to show where you have credibility and where your rivals have credibility. Rehearse and spend some time picking holes in your pitch and thinking of the tough questions that you would least like to answer about your business, and make sure you come up with solutions or answers so that the content of your pitch is fully-fledged.

Making your pitch stand out

When it comes to distinguishing your pitch and engaging your investor, make sure that your pitch is simple, clear and concise, and doesn’t rely too heavily on visual stimuli or supplementary reading. In addition to creating a stronger pitch, it will make sure that you can continue even if your presentation slides fail. Put yourself in your listener’s shoes, and figure out what your pitch and your delivery really show about your business. Finding a way to integrate your personality into your pitch will stand to your advantage as it will make your business more memorable. And whilst you shouldn’t necessarily weigh your potential investor down with large stacks of paper, it’s a good idea to have a factually-supported, well-written executive summary to hand over at the end.
Finally, remember that you are there for a reason: because you have an idea, and a way to turn that into a reality. Use that fact to stay confident – even if you are not the world’s biggest extrovert, being able to present your passion will help you maintain an air of confidence, which will be key to securing your investor.

Highlights from the EY Women in Leadership Summit
Three fundamental adaptations that can help women entrepreneurs scale big
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