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  • Essential Tips For Pitching Your Startup

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    pitch tips

    As we approach the 2014 TechRaising Weekend April 25-27  let’s look at some of the insights that we learned from Adeo Ressi’s Pitch Practice session during last July’s TechRaising Meetup.

    All of these tips are essential when you are pitching to investors. And most will help you create a great pitch to attract team member to help work on your idea at TechRaising. Take a look and ask questions I the comments or tell us what you think.

    Adeo’s Pitching Tips

    Don’t ever use adjectives and especially superlatives.  You may think your idea is the best, the greatest, the first. Chances are the VC you are talking to has heard that same idea 100 times in the last two weeks. Ideas come in waves, if you thought of it chances are at least 975 other people did too. In Adeo ‘s case, when he hears superlatives you lose so much credibility he has to fight himself to “re-listen to what is coming out of your mouth.”

    His advice: Don’t squander your precious time in front a VC — get straight to what they need to hear: tell them what you product is, who buys it and what problem it solves.

    All businesses have one customer. Tell me whom you are helping – and it can’t be half of humanity. Yes you want to have a broad customer base, and it needs to be a specific segment of humanity. “Men” is not a specific segment. That is half of humanity.

    The customer is who’s paying.  Always focus on the people with the money – especially when you are creating a market place.

    Use the phrase, “My [product or service] helps specific segment of humanity to [do what]“ Not “I’m helping them by….”

    Never, Never, Never, Ever – Start your pitch with Questions. 1) Unless you are actually gathering market data you are wasting time that you could be using to tell your story about your business.  2) Big risk: If no one engages your pitch has just crashed & burned.

    Appear fresh and new – Saying that you have been working on your product/idea for the last 5 years is often not a good thing. You want to give the appearance of magic — that your idea just came from the ether and hey “look at this prototype we created over night!”  If you tell them that you have been at this for years – they’re going to want to see all the customers you’ve garnered in that time.

    You spend all day thinking about your business model and need to make it comprehensible in a short pitch. Don’t give partial information. If there are 10 parts to you model don’t give only parts 4, 6 & 9 in your pitch. It confuses the audience. Find a way to distill your whole model into your pitch. (By the way, if your model requires 10 parts you may need to reexamine your model.)

    Don’t lead with your “oh so clever phrase” or your data – Always start with what you are creating. People need the context first for you stats or clever phrase to make sense. Otherwise they are confused on where you are going with this. You don’t want to start them off questioning the data. Use the data to justify their gut feeling after you already sold the idea. Not the state you want the people with the purse strings to be in! Seriously, resist the temptation to be what you think is a great showman. Trust Adeo on this, your stats or catchy phrase will be even more powerful when people know what the heck you’re talking about!

    Start with this phrase  “My company (insert name) is developing (insert a concrete item – website, mobile app, software etc) to solve (name the problem) with (insert your secret sauce)”.

    When you’re the winner, Shut Up!  When you’re pitch has landed stop talking. Maybe the hardest thing to do and also the most important. Any top sales pro knows this and it is still hard for them.

    Ok, now that you are ready you can get your TechRaising Tickets here.

    Image: Flickr – Adam

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