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Friday, February 16, 2007

Interview with Peter Jones on the perfect Pitch

I picked this up yesterday, as I lay in bed with the flu...please send the sympathy my way...and off course have a read at Peter's comments on the perfect pitch.

Peter Jones, serial entrepreneur and star of BBC hit show Dragons’ Den, started his business journey at the tender age of 16 and has since gone on to assemble an ever-expanding portfolio of companies, including the £150m turnover Phones International Group.
He is currently searching for budding entrepreneurs to appear in an exciting new programme for ITV1, Tycoon - details below - but has taken time out from his hectic schedule to offer you, the Startups.co.uk readers, firsthand advice on pitching for finance.
Here’s how to impress a Dragon:
“There are five main pieces of advice I’d give to pitchers:
1) Dress appropriately. You wouldn’t ask your bank manager for a loan dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, and you shouldn’t expect me to invest in you if you don’t know what is appropriate to wear in a given situation. Dress according to the job you are applying for, or the request you are making.

2) Be confident. You should have faith in yourself and your idea. Often I look to invest in an individual as much as in their concept – so show what you can do! You get few opportunities to pitch directly to investors, so make the most of them. Even if they choose not to invest in you, it is a great opportunity to get some feedback from experienced business people.

3) Be honest about your company and your forecasts. There is nothing more embarrassing than seeing a pitcher crumble when their figures are questioned and picked apart by savvy investors. Do not over-estimate your capability, it will not inspire investors with enthusiasm or confidence in you. Some investments that are made on Dragons’ Den fall through because pitchers over-exaggerate about their business potential, and are misleading about their contacts and their progress so far.

4) Be concise. Make sure that your business plan can be easily understood by those who you are pitching to and do not waffle. Remember, I want hard facts and figures as well as how you are going to make your concept into reality. What you say must inspire investors, without drifting into a fantasy realm.

5) My final, and perhaps my most crucial tip of all, is make sure that you research your idea thoroughly! It is amazing how many people try to pitch to me, without having looked into the market sector that they are trying to break into. Sometimes a simple internet search reveals that their idea has been done before, or that their estimation of demand is completely skewed. Look around at your competitors and see how you can offer a better and more competitive service than them.


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