The Deconstructed Business Power Pitch: The Problem

SIBP-Blog-NEW-1Every business pitch needs to start with a “problem.” There’s something wrong in the market, and it’s causing anxiety, frustration and pain. Maybe it’s a customer need that is going unmet, or it’s a roadblock that simply doesn’t need to be there. By establishing the problem — or presenting this “problem statement” — you’re setting up how your business or idea will solve it, meeting that demand, winning customers and generating sales.

It’s easy to see why every pitch starts with a problem. It serves as the sharp, pointy end of the “hook” phase of the pitch, establishing a conflict that then demands some kind of resolution. As you explain the problem, you’re also laying the groundwork for the story of how your business plans to resolve that conflict.

A good example of this is ridesharing startup Uber. Continue reading

The Deconstructed Business Power Pitch: The Big Picture

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-3In the entrepreneurial world, there is a profound and definite need for telling the story of a business in the most succinct and compelling way possible. It’s not just about mastering the process of pitching to investors, lenders and potential partners, although those groups are important. The more powerfully you can present the case for your business to anyone and everyone, the easier it will be to do things like win new clients, attract top talent, and make connections with everyone else along the way.

Calling this kind of storytelling a “pitch” allows for a useful shorthand, but what we’re really talking about is creating a clear, concise narrative about why your business matters, and why other people should be paying attention. The same preparation that go into creating a great pitch also allows you to master the tools, methods and best practices for telling your story any time it really matters. If these techniques work during the high-stakes presentation of a formal business pitch setting, they will work anywhere. Continue reading

The Deconstructed Business Power Pitch: An Overview of the Proof

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-5A successful business pitch doesn’t happen by accident. Like any great story, a pitch takes your audience on a journey, grabbing their attention and playing to their curiosity as you guide them from one stage to the next. This means laying out each element of the pitch in a very specific order, each step setting up the next so that the story unfolds in the most compelling way possible. Understanding this process is essential for anyone who hopes to master the business pitch.

In my last post, I explained the role of the “hook” in the business pitch. If you want to catch a fish, you have to bait the hook. In the context of a pitch, setting the hook means establishing your business narrative. They understand what problem your business aims to solve, how you will solve it, and why your solution is the right one. It’s about building a credible narrative while capturing their attention.

But there’s more to fishing than just getting a fish to bite. You also need to get them into the boat. That second phase of the process, where you’re reeling in the audience, is giving them what they need to truly accept the story you’ve presented. This is the “proof.” Continue reading

The Deconstructed Business Power Pitch: An Overview of the Hook

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-2Any time I begin the process of taking apart a big topic, I like to start at the macro level, giving us that all-important 50,000 foot view. The further we zoom out, the easier it becomes to forget about all the smaller, occasionally distracting details. With a little distance, we can start to take in the big picture. Given just how big and complex a great business pitch can be, we need to step as far back as we can until we see just few major concepts.

There are two major elements that go into creating a business pitch, and you need to nail both of them if you want to see great results from your presentation. These are the “hook” and the “proof.” Each of these is made up of smaller ideas, steps and processes, but for now let’s just think of a pitch in terms of these two big, distinct concepts. You need both for a successful pitch, and they are equally important. Continue reading

Ep. 201 – Seed Funding 101: What is an SBA Loan?

SIBP-Blog-NEW-2One of the most powerful funding tools available to first-time entrepreneurs and early stage companies is debt-based financing. Without a great credit history, however, getting a commercial loan from a traditional lender isn’t always the easiest thing to do. If only there was some way a startup could bring in a third-party to help secure that loan, much like getting a teenager getting their parent to co-sign on a car loan. For many entrepreneurs, the “ultimate co-signer” turns out to be the federal government in the form of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

In today’s podcast, host and business coach Tom Ryan provides an overview of the SBA’s loan program. Learn how SBA loans work, what the eligibility requirements are, how the loans can be used, and how much money they can provide. Continue reading

The Deconstructed Business Power Pitch: Why Pitching Matters

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-2Thanks to shows like Shark Tank, business pitching is currently in something of a cultural golden era. Across the county, entrepreneurs participate in pitch competitions, delivering their most powerful appeals for funding in the form of a 100 minute, two minute, and even 30 second pitches. In a way that was unthinkable only a few years ago, pitching has become a “sexy” topic.

What’s more interesting to me, however, is that the sudden growth in interest around this fundamental entrepreneurial skill. The ability to effectively pitch your business or startup concept in any setting, over any span of time, and to any audience, is an ability every founder should actively hone. In fact, it’s an incredibly useful skill even outside the context of courting investors. Continue reading

Ep. 200 – Celebrating Two Bills and SIBP Goes Weekly

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-2Good morning, rise and shine Success in Business Podcast listeners! We’ve finally reached a massive new milestone with our 200th episode! This special episode brings a little reflection on the series thus far, including some hearty thanks to both the listeners and the people behind the scenes at the Success In Business Podcast. As we move towards episode 300, Tom is even more committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

To help as many entrepreneurs as possible the Success in Business Podcast is converting to a weekly show. Join us every Monday for a longer, more in-depth format filled with great insights and immediately actionable ideas for anyone seeking to find success in business. Continue reading

Ep. 199 – Seed Funding 101: Microloans

SIBP-Blog-NEW-2Getting a loan from a conventional lender can be tricky for an early-stage company. Without a long enough operating history or a significant amount of assets to use as collateral, a banker simply might not see your startup as a very good risk. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. For a business that needs just a little capital to grease the wheels and get things moving — perhaps $15,000 or so — a “microloan” might just be the right option.

In today’s episode, host and business coach Tom Ryan talks about the pros and cons of microloans, and some great sources (such as the SBA) to start the process. As always, Tom is joined by producer and co-host Jason Pyles. Continue reading

6 Tips For Avoiding A Founders’ Breakup

SIBP-Blog-NEW-B-5When a business partnership goes bad, the results can easily rival even the messiest romantic breakup. Founders’ breakups are an all-too-common problem in the startup world, and most entrepreneurs have a story or two about the business meltdowns and broken friendships that happen when the people who started a company together no longer see eye to eye. I even have a pretty good one of my own.

But just because it’s a common story doesn’t mean that painful founders’ breakups are inevitable. Handled correctly, it’s possible to avoid many of the simple blunders that create high tension between founders. Let’s take a look at a few tips for avoiding the business-breakup drama. Continue reading

Ep. 198 – Seed Funding 101: Debt Financing Examples

SIBP-Blog-NEW-1One of the often overlooked options for small-business and startup financing is getting a loan from a friend or family member. Not only can this kind of person-to-person loan be easier to get, but it’s also more intuitive for both parties than trying to work out an equity-based deal. Getting your Aunt Sally to loan you $50,000 just isn’t going to be as complex as trying to create a meaningful valuation for your startup for her to buy equity in. But just because they love you doesn’t mean that friends and family loans should be taken any less seriously. Get this kind of deal wrong, and your family holidays are going to become pretty awkward.

In today’s episode, host and business coach Tom Ryan explores a simple example of a friends and family loan in action. As always, Tom is joined by producer and co-host Jason Pyles. Continue reading