Pitching is both an art and a science that every entrepreneur needs to master. Even if you possess a rare charm that enables you to sell ice to Eskimos, you still need to focus on articulating critical aspects of your startup.
Ahead of this year’s ZOL Jumpstart Challenge, we’ve put together the few pointers below. Each borrows from real world scenarios and is handy for usage beyond the competition.
Stick to time:
There’s no point in putting in a lot of hard work and time into preparing a presentation filled with juicy facts and figures, only to have it all wasted by not sticking to a given timeframe. This year’s Jumpstart Challenge and most real life pitch scenarios are very strict when it comes to time. 5 minutes is exactly that and you have to capture your story within that.
As an entrepreneur, you’re emotionally invested in your startup. That story of how you got to think of the idea might sound good to you but is it good for your startup? Focus on:
- The painpoint
- Why you’re in a position to solve the painpoint
- Facts and figures (research)
- Your team (Skills & abilities)
- Your product
Be careful not to quote irrelevant information that doesn’t apply to your market.
The adrenalin laden journey from preparation to presentation can make even the most seasoned public speakers nervous; often inducing a speech deficiency. Almost everyone goes through the butterflies but be careful not to drift away with them towards lands where Greek is spoken. Pronounce your words clearly and stay away from jargon (big sounding words that few understand). As the representative of your startup, speaking directly, purposefully and in an audible manner can only help your cause.
PowerPoint is a tool and not a member of your team:
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com is said to have a great disdain for “death by PowerPoint”, it wouldn’t be surprising to unearth a survey that points out a lot more people that share the same sentiments. PowerPoint is supposed to aide what you are presenting and not become the focal point. Limit your slides to visual material and not enlarged textbooks. Ideally stick to not more than 12 slides.
Have something to show:
The proof is in the pudding. To sell your concept and demonstrate commitment beyond winning prize money, putting together a prototype or wireframes of your product is essential. Regardless of how raw your material is, having something to show is a lot more convincing than telling people how you’ll build the next Google. Talk is cheap.
- For unexpected questions (by knowing your venture and the sector inside out)
- For your laptop crashing a few minutes before you go up to present
- For your laptop not being compatible with the projector and subsequently eating into your time
- For you sidekick/s developing cold feet just before “D day”
- For that “trigger happy” judge that seemingly has your startup on target
All the best!