As an entrepreneur, you intuitively understand the importance of your business pitch. It’s your best opportunity to share your objectives with prospective clients and investors — an opportunity that can make all the difference to an early-stage company seeking its first major adopters and crucial funding.
While there’s more than one type of pitch that you’ll need to master, the overlap between them is substantial. As you craft your own pitch, make sure it includes these eight essential elements.
- Create a Concise Pitch Deck
Keep your pitch short and to the point.
“You can deliver an entire pitch with four slides,” writes Fast Company contributor Bing Gordon. According to Gordon, your four-slide pitch should include:
- The movie poster: This is your company’s core concept in visual form. It should clearly demonstrate how your product or service benefits users.
- The strategy slide: This slide outlines your business strategy, leading with the most compelling ideas.
- The assets slide: These can be tangible or intangible assets, says Gordon, such as “team, code complete, design complete, IP, contracts, traction, [and] revenue growth.”
- The numbers slide: This is a metrics-based snapshot of your company, and a look ahead to where you want to be in the medium or long term.
- Develop Ready Answers for Common Questions
Anticipate your audience’s questions before they’re asked. In addition to demonstrating your command of the material, this will show your interlocutors that you can think on your feet — a crucial attribute for any startup founder.
“Each pitch is an opportunity to put yourself in your investors’ and clients’ shoes,” says George Otte, a Miami, Florida entrepreneur. “The more pitching experience you have, the easier you’ll find it to anticipate and address common questions.”
Over time, you can even incorporate these questions into a FAQ slide near the end of your presentation.
- Produce Effective Visuals
Audiences love crisp, engaging visuals. Your pitch’s visual components should incorporate lots of color and minimal clutter. Use the visuals, including candid photos of employees and end-users, to advance your story
- Deliver Clearly Communicated Benefits
A great pitch leaves no doubt about the benefits of your products and solutions. Be economical with words and use case studies to demonstrate your company’s potential whenever possible.
- Use Samples and Examples
Ask existing clients for permission to include their stories in your pitch. Use examples wherever possible, too. For instance, you can display a sample contract or statement of work to give prospective clients an idea of how your relationship will look on paper.
- Call Out Existing Clients, Partners and Investors
Build audience confidence in your solutions by identifying existing clients, partners and investors by name. Include their logos or names on a dedicated slide within your pitch deck.
- Leave Unstructured Time
Leave some unstructured time at the end of your pitch for audience questions and feedback. While continuing to project confidence, don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they thought of your presentation. Even if you don’t close the deal this time, honest feedback will help you hone your pitch the next time around.
- Lay Out the Next Steps
Clearly communicate what you’d like your audience to do with the information you’ve laid out. Include this in a “next steps” slide toward the end of your presentation.
How many of these elements are currently in your business pitch?