Lots of people have written books about how to do a good pitch. Pitch Anything, a book by Oren Klaff, is worth a read for those who have a pitch coming up.
For those of you that are just getting started, the Business Internet Examiner is going to give you a few lessons learned from recent personal experience to apply to your internet start-up. So here we go:
1. Practice–if you wing the thing is is highly likely that you will not finish up in a timely way and maybe even get cut off by an investor or big customer. Try to see if you can practice with some experienced business persons or investors. Take their suggestions seriously and fine-tune your message. Then practice at home. Use your phone to record your pitch and fine-tune some more.
2. Use Prezi–yes throw out Power Point, Prezi is the new standard for how you do the visuals for a presentation. The on-line service helps you organize your pitch, tell it in a way that is not nearly as boring, and keeps the user awake. There is an added advantage that “Prezis” as they are called can be restructured and reused for different audiences.
3. Make sure that you computer hardware, software etc. works. Do not depend on the anyone else’s equipment.
4. Make sure you get to the point. What does you product or service do? What pain is there that is going to make people want to use your product or service? Why are you better than others? What makes your special sauce as they call it? What is the market like for this product or service? Why are you and your team the persons to make this happen? What do you project will happen if people invest in you or become a large scale customer of your product? How does everyone win? There is more to it but make sure you emphasize these points.
And finally, how much money do you want and what do you think your project is worth?
5. Make a set of slides for questions and pop them up when people ask.
6. Anticipate questions and give short succinct answers. Stop yourself from giving super long explanations.
7. Stay away from saying too much about technological advances you have made (even if you have figured out how to send a man to the moon with quantum physics and a home- made contraption developed with your old toaster oven). Investors and major customers want to know that you can get the the job done and they will verify technology later. Most people don’t want to hear about computer code endlessly.
8. Get some really good advisors who you can trust and have them work with you on the speech. This is different than just practicing, its making sure that you are getting feedback from people who will be brutally honest with you. Then after the brutal honestly, change what you are doing to make your presentation better.
9. Have one person do the presentation and have a pace where you aren’t rushing. If you are rushing too much people won’t comprehend your ideas.
10. And finally, be proud of what you did and don’t be afraid to get out there and put the best face on your product, service, and company because after all the biggest thing that an investor or major customer wants to see is that you as an individual are competent, smart, and thoughtful….and responsible.