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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Preparing a Pitch







This article from www.growthbusiness.co.uk is a good introduction to prepping for a pitch, I have been asked these questions a few times...ok loads of times..as trying to raise money in these days is like finding the proverbial "Hens teeth" ....Well not that bad, what I would say select the VC funds carefully, make sure they are investing, they have an interest in your sector and look for a weakness in there portfolio companies, where you could bring something to the party









A lack of preparation will kill any presentation before you even enter the room. Here's how to make sure you have everything in place to wow your audience.

Start by asking yourself the following:

* What is the purpose of the pitch?
* Who are you pitching to?
* What are you likely to be asked?
* What could go wrong?

What is the purpose of a pitch?
Before you begin your research or start writing the presentation, you need to clearly define what you hope to achieve from the meeting or pitch and what the ideal outcome would be. This will ensure you have a clear approach and are consistent across your presentation. It is important to clarify your objectives: are you looking for investment or a partner? Are you trying to sell yourself, your product, or your company?

Who are you pitching to?
Research is the foundation of any successful pitch, and is not just limited to the market you’re operating in. It sounds obvious, but you also need to ensure you have a thorough understanding of the company you are going to be talking to and the sector it operates in. In addition, you should also find out exactly who you are going to meet and get some background information about them. This can be done very easily using internet search engines and will allow you to engage with them on a much more knowledgeable and personal level.

What are you likely to be asked?
When you see senior executives of the world’s biggest companies, they often seem to know the answer to everything they are asked, whether that is the financial position of their business or the name of the cleaner’s niece. It’s impressive to watch, but do they really know the answer to every question about their business? The answer in most cases is ‘no’ – they have just done their research and prepared thoroughly based on their audience and subject – you should do the same.

Think about the types of questions that you may be asked, particularly those that may be difficult to answer. Questions vary depending on the type of audience, but here are a few examples:

* What does your company do exactly – the overarching pitch?
* What is the value of the market for your product?
* Is your intellectual property protected in any way?
* How much money do you need? How far will that go?
* What is your marketing strategy?
* Who is on your management team and what is their experience?

What could go wrong?
It may sound negative, but you have to think about everything that could go wrong and have contingencies in place. This can include basics like:

* Having business cards
* Ensuring you have all the leads for your computer
* Having a backup copy of your presentation (on a memory stick or DVD)
* Printing off and binding colour copies of your slide deck
* Having the exact location of the pitch and the contact details of the people you are meeting

Rehearsal
Your ability to present in a clear, concise and convincing manner is vital in any pitch situation. Remember that everything you do sends out a message – people focus consciously on what you are saying but unconsciously on how you are saying it.

While there are always a few naturally gifted speakers who can present without practising, there aren’t very many of them. And even they rehearse. As a result, for those of us who don’t have the ability to ‘wow’ off-the-cuff, the more you rehearse your pitch the more natural it will become and the more confident you will be in delivering the content. Confidence is critical for any pitch, as it puts everyone involved at ease – including the presenter, who will give a more convincing performance as a result.

Anyone can feel a little nervous and silly rehearsing in front of others, particularly colleagues, but this is essential because we never get anything right without practice. Think about the pitch as going on stage, rather than just a way of imparting information and think what would happen if musicians, singers or actors had the same attitude – they would never perfect their art.

Getting it right: Ten questions to ask yourself before a pitch
1. Do you know what you want to achieve from the pitch?
2. Have you rehearsed the pitch?
3. Are you passionate about what you are presenting?
4. Are you comfortable with the content, especially any figures?
5. Do you know who you are pitching to?
6. Are you prepared for any difficult questions that may be asked?
7. Has someone else looked over the presentation?
8. Have you checked all of the facts?
9. Are you going to excite your audience?
10. Are you going to enjoy the pitch?

If you ask yourself the ten questions below and can answer ‘yes’ to them all, you are on your way to a great pitch; any ‘nos’ and there is still some room for improvement.

2 comments:

Susan said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Margaret

http://businesseshome.net

Flying Bus said...

Nice photo. Do you know who shot it?