During the hard times of a recession, there are still opportunities out there to explore and take advantage of. However, many people are falling flat at the second and third hurdles (the first is coming up with a good idea) because they fail to take certain things into consideration. For the vast majority of companies, this is the time to make moves and waves in the business world; where loyalty is being tested, cost-cutting is the order of the day and streamlining is the buzz word. So when the chance comes for you to impress, make sure that you make the most of it. Delivering a good pitch will help win your audience over quickly so make sure that there are no errors because second chances in the business world are very hard to come by.
With the soon coming arrival of Business Enter-Prize!®, I thought it would be useful for all you budding entrepreneurs out here to give a few pointers about how to make a good business pitch. Many people come up with a great idea and may even have a good business plan. But, to go to the next stage involves a first-class business pitch for investment and that is where many fall down So when you are called to do a business pitch remember some of these pointers and you will not go far wrong.
Make sure you do your research cos knowledge is power - Yes, its my favorite word again. But it is very important here. You have to know your audience, know your company and product and most importantly, know what you can offer them in terms of their need.
Focus, focus, focus - If the pitch is relation to a problem that your business/service/product will solve, then place it in that context. If the investors can relate to the problem, then they are more likely to put their money where your mouth is. So keep it relevant, interesting and professional. In business, sometimes less is more.
Use technology, but sparingly - I think there are things that technology can do that we cannot. So I think PowerPoint is a great way to...make a point. However, try and keep it to a minimum. It should contain the salient points and no unnecessary animations and cartoons. Make sure that the investors receive copies of the slides where they can look over them at their leisure and make notes where necessary.
Question and Answer misery - I always encourage a Q&A session when doing a pitch. But when answering the questions, avoid waffling on unless you want to bore the investors to death (which is one way to get their money, I suppose...just kidding!)
Importance of confidence - It is crucial not to go into the pitch with a defeatist attitude. It will not only spread throughout your team (if you have one) but the investors will pick up on this quickly. If you do not have faith in your product/service/company, then why should they?
Its all in the numbers - Make sure the facts and figures tally. Any inconsistency will be picked on and picked apart by any shrewd investor. Do not give them a reason to turn you down. They have choices, make sure yours is the one that they choose.
Practice makes perfect - Most of the time. If you are an actor and have just landed your first big audition/role, you would not dream of turning up without at least putting in some hours practice. The same goes for a business pitch. Practice allows you to feel more confident and prepared and will help you iron out any problems in the run-up. One of the ways of doing this is by pitching to your friends, family, teachers, etc.
Listen and learn - Even the most perfect pitch sometimes does not win the investors over. Ask for their feedback, listen and tweak.
Last but not least - never give up. Edison took over 1,000 tries before he perfected the light-bulb. Charles Darrow, the inventor of Monopoly was rejected by Parker Brothers before becoming a millionaire. So the morale of this story is simple - falling down does not make you a failure, staying down, does.
I hope this helps you budding entrepreneurs out there not only in Business Enter-Prize!® but in your future endeavors
Take care, God bless and all the best...
© Ngozi Nwabineli - September 2009