Every 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
In 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
Any 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
Thanks 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