Pitch Your Business: 5 Tips
You never know when you may need to give a short account of your business’s fundamental aims and drivers. Perhaps you need money from your bank manager, an investor or even your friends and family. Maybe it’s to win an important new sale. Perhaps you simply need to win someone over – a potential employee, a supplier or an influential business contact.
Whatever the reason you need to pitch your business, and whatever the audience, here are 5 top tips to ensure your pitch goes smoothly:
Make an impression. Eye contact, politeness and being presentable all contribute to how you come across. You want this person to remember you and a boring, monotonous pitch is forgettable. Keep a balance of style and substance.
Clarity. Give a clear, concise and simple pitch outlining the main points of your business. Be honest and sincere with your approach. Over-selling yourself and the product can be off-putting and desperate. A direct, confident approach is the key. Don’t exaggerate or lie. You want this person to trust you and believe in your product and if there is even a small suspicion of dishonesty the deal will be off. Your future investor must be able to believe in you.
Practice makes perfect. A good delivery of your pitch makes you sound confident, prepared and organised – all excellent traits in the business world. On the other hand, long pauses or forgetting your words do not come across well. Practice in front of a group and know your facts and figures inside out. Prepare for potential questions and answers. No hesitations when you are being questioned will give a good impression and show that you know what you are talking about.
Be passionate about your product. A genuine belief that your product can be a success will engage your target. However, there is a fine line. Being over-enthusiastic and exaggerating can put off the person you’re trying to impress.
Prepare for success. What if your pitch is successful and the target wants to help you or buy into your business in some way? Make sure you’ve thought about your next move and how you want to go forward. Be prepared to give a clear account of the terms you need to make your sale or, when seeking investment, how much of your business you’re prepared to give away to get the money.
Along with a solid business plan, these 5 tips could help you on your way to securing an investor, a loan or when pitching day to day, simply a new sale or a vital new employee.
Christian Nellemann is CEO of XLN, a supplier of telecoms, energy and card processing to more than 130,000 small UK businesses. Christian was Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 for Technology and Communication, and again in 2010.