What makes an entrepreneur successful? That’s a loaded question but in my experience there is one trait that sticks out; the successful entrpreneur is always looking for problems (i.e. gaps) to solve (i.e fill). If you are a true entrepreneur, you probably come up with about half-a-dozen ideas per week!
So you have an idea, now what?
Having been involved with a “few” idea pitches in my time as an entrepreneur and during my tour-of-duty in Corporate Canada, I have found that most investors, partners and C-Level Execs, have limited time for you. So when you get the opportunity to present an idea, it has to be short, to the point and impactful. Presenting an idea is really an extension of an Elevator Pitch.
Keeping this in mind, listed below is what I have found to be the best formula for pitching an idea – 5 slides that should cover the following:
Describe the situation; give background information on your idea, for example, market size. Set the stage for the audience and describe the problem or gap you are planning to fill.
Get to it! Describe your idea and how you are suggesting filling the gap you described in Slide 1. This should be macro view of your idea.
3. How it Works
Zoom in on your idea. Describe briefly how the idea works, be a bit more specific, but be careful not to get caught in the details. Describe how you would implement it and be sure you know your idea inside out.
You would have probably already discussed some benefits through questions or they may have been integrated in your pitch but use this slide to reinforce the benefits, both rational, emotional and financial. It’s a good time to repeat how your idea would solve the problem you’ve identified.
To determine if this is a successful pitch, ask the audience for their interest level; “Do you like the idea?” At worst case, you will get some good feedback so you can build on your idea. Most importantly, outline the next steps (if there are any) and be clear. If they are interested, then keep the momentum going. If they are not, ask if they know of anyone who is.
In my experience with pitching ideas, whomever the audience is, they typically try and find something wrong with it so as to derail the idea; it’s their way of vetting the idea and testing you out. They are investing you in YOU as much as the, so, they need to feel comfortable knowing YOU know your stuff; be prepared for every and any question. You can prepare for this by doing a SWOT-Analysis (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) and keep it in your pocket. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll impress the audience.
And whatever you do, no matter what the questions or feedback is, don’t take it personal! Take advantage of who’s in the room and leverage their relationships.
Be an entrepreneur. Be Real
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