Home > Enterprise > To pitch… or not to pitch… There is no question

To pitch… or not to pitch… There is no question

When you start a business – you are bringing something new into life. Nobody will know it exists unless you tell people about it.

And people’s attention spans are becoming shorter. Much shorter.

A pitch is a concise (usually 15 to 30 seconds) and tailored message that you use to get across the key benefits of your business – it can be used in any situation and not just for formal ‘Dragon’s Den’ moments – it can be used on your website, in casual conversation and even to your staff.

Many people love talking about their business but get very nervous when delivering a pitch – which is understandable as you are passionate about your idea and humans naturally get nervous when they feel they are judged. It is also difficult to know how to structure a pitch.

However the biggest cause of nerves is the unrealistic expectation people set on their pitch – the purpose is not always to make a sale right away – it is to start the conversation towards a possible sale – so imagine the pitch as a conversation and enjoy the direction that it takes you – you never know, you could get a lot more than you thought.

I promise to make this article as concise and useful as possible – I want a promise from you to start to articulate your message to the different people you want to be interested in your venture. I will use an example of fictional company, Z to A child-care.

What is the purpose of a pitch?

  • Capture the persons interest
  • Intrigue the person to want to know more
  • You want to get an invitation to a meeting

What a pitch isn’t?

  • An opportunity to go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on

The pitch is not about you – it’s about the person you are talking to – so think about what they will be thinking

  • They don’t care to hear about everything!
    • They are always thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’
  • Know your audience!
    • What do they want, how and why?
  • Prioritize your information”
    • What do they need to know now (what can I save for later) – How do they need this communicated to them?

Structure of your pitch

  • Start with a question / scenario / introduction – examples:
    • Question: How much money do you spend on normal childcare for your children during holiday periods? Is this value for money?
    • Scenario: During the holiday season, working parents spend an average of £1,200 on normal childcare – my company can halve this price and deliver a healthy and stimulating experience for your child.
    • Introduction: Hello, my name is Barry and I am here from Z to A child-care where we look after children using healthy and stimulating activities.
  • Think about the persons motivations and identify 1 – 3 benefits that your venture delivers to them
    • Examples:
      • To a time poor cash rich family: We know time is precious so we pick up and drop your children to the family home or your office at a time suitable for you
      • To a health conscious family: There are so many scary ingredients in food today, which have been blamed for poor behaviour and learning in children – at our centre we only use organic and wholegrain ingredients for your children.
      • For value added focused family: At our centre, we don’t believe in just letting children run around whilst supervised – we have a whole program of activities that help build social, academic and physical skills in children to equip them for the best in life.
    • Close with a call for an action – this is not always to ask for the sale – make it something small and easily agreeable to that will move you towards your ultimate aim – whether it be a sale, investment or an agreement of some sort.
      • Example: It’s very easy for me to tell you about Z to A child-care because it is something I am passionate about, hence why I started it – I’ve got a great testimonial video from loads of other parents – why don’t I send you that today and I’ll call you before the weekend to hear your thoughts.

Pro-tip: Don’t try and memorise every word of your pitch – the pitch is just a base from which you adapt, add to and subtract from according to the situation you are in, enjoy it.

Some exercises to help you pitch

Write down a pitch of yourself to a potential love interest if you meet in a supermarket

– What would be your end goal of your 15 to 30 second pitch? Would you propose marriage/couple-hood straight away (remember what I said about unrealistic expectations)?

– What do you think the 1-3 things they would want to know about you right there and then?

Write down a pitch for convincing your grandparents to use Facebook

– What do your grandparents like that Facebook helps them do

Write down a pitch to convince your someone to give you a promotion

 – What are they looking for?

– How would you start the pitch? Would it be weird to start with an introduction to someone you        already know?

– Are the one to three main points you choose relevant to them or just you?

– Do you close demanding a promotion (remember what I said about the pitch                               being the beginning of the conversation)

If you want to book a 1:1 advice session to discuss your pitch, you can do so through careerhub.herts.ac.uk/enterprise advice.

If you are unable to get onto campus, don’t worry, Skype appointments are also available upon request.

Follow us on twitter:@UHEnterprise

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