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Things to consider for your next business pitch

Things to consider for your next business pitch

From trying too hard to over-impress to not trying to impress at all, it is sad – almost shameful indeed – that many intending entrepreneurs have no idea what it takes to pitch business ideas to an intending investor properly.

I learned that an investor recently offered to invest 40 million naira in various small businesses via his social media handle. He asked his followers to send their business pitches to him. Trust me; you don’t want to see the quality of the business pitches he received.

It is the one-minute debate we used to have back in schools where you tried to convince the audience to agree with your point of view in a 1-minute presentation. It occurred then that these youths could do with some help what a business pitch should look like. I mean, you don’t need to attend a business school to be able to pitch.

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I have recently done a live session on LinkedIn on how to pitch, so if you are an entrepreneur, you can also take a look. In the meantime, I would like to share a few tips to keep in mind when you next want to do a business pitch.

Could you tell your business story?

Every business idea or startup idea has a story behind it. For Ola Orekunrin Brown of Flying Doctors Nigeria, her business idea could be traced to the point that she lost her sister because there was no available aircraft to transport her to where quality medical service was available.

For Piggyvest, it was the story of how a woman saved N1,000 every day in her local piggybank and only had N365,000 at the end of the year. No rewards or interest in developing and maintaining a savings culture.

I can go on and on, but I will stop here. Every business idea was inspired by an experience, the need to solve a problem, or a personal burden to make life easier for others. Please make sure to tell your own story in your pitch.

Know your numbers

It is okay that you are out to solve a problem and have beautifully narrated the story behind it. But how does this translate into profit? Unless you want to start a non-profit organization, there has to be a way your product or services will bring in money to sustain the business.

Knowing your numbers means that you should be able to tell a potential investor that every N100,000 invested in production or service delivery will deliver about N30,000 in profits every month for the first five months and N50,000 in profits for seven months after.

Do you happen to remember our earlier article on feasibility study? It will come in handy here.

Know your USP

I have earlier published an article on competitive advantage (aka USP), so I need not dive much into this. You can read more in my previous article. Please tell the investor why you think you are in the best position to solve the problem and whether customers will be willing to pay for the solution you bring to the table. Please tell the investor what you’ll be offering that is different from what is available in the market already.

Timing is key

Keep it Short and Simple (KISS). It always feels like there is so much to say, but please try to figure out this information as quickly as possible and quickly. Try capturing all of this information for practice in 60 seconds or less.

If you start right, you will get the investor’s attention, but you will have to conclude before it gets too long and begins to bore your listeners. Remember what they say about taking a bow when the ovation is loudest?

Demonstrate some business acumen

While you want your listeners / potential investors to know that you are professional in the field where you want to solve a problem, you also need them to see that you possess business acumen. Why? You may need to be a professional to solve a problem in a field, but you need business acumen to do a successful business. Business acumen is a whole discussion, so watch out for it.

My advice: Watch any of the Dragons Den series you can lay hands on and see practical pitches so that you can learn from the successful angles and also see what the other guys did wrong. I’ll be waiting in the comment section to know what you think. Do you have other tips for intending entrepreneurs?

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