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  • Miriam Simon

Tips on Pitching - for investment or otherwise...


In my time as a businesswoman, I've seen - literally - hundreds of business pitches.

Pitches to sell new product into retail, or new concepts into support functions & agencies. New business seed investment pitches, VC and Angel investment pitches. Also, multimillion-euro funding pitches for the serious disruptors and the future-focused, even the hopeful unicorns.

I've worked in and with private business. Worked in both profit and non-profit spaces. And mentored within Enterprise Ireland's programmes and panels, as well as Europe with Horizon 2020 and the SME Instrument.

This means that I know quite a bit about what a really good pitch deck looks like, having seen which have been the most successful (and not) over the years.

So - if you are in business and getting ready to pitch - here are some initial tips to help you do it more successfully...


1.Consider who you are pitching to...

As much as this may sound obvious, it's often the biggest mistake made. Do not make the mistake of focusing on your own love affair with your awesome business. Think about specifically who you are pitching to and what is in it for them. What are they looking to see? Clue: it's usually a strong/fast/secure return on their investment...


2. Have no more than 10-12 slides in your deck...

The truth is that no one wants to sit through 35 slides of your journey so far. Sorry. But they don't. Whilst you may want to give the full full picture, it's like showing someone the 478 pictures of your recent holiday, new baby, marathon or iron-man contest etc (i.e. only exciting to you!). You're often pitching to people that are time poor and that are seeing several pitches in succession. Hook them early to get their attention. Then get to the point quickly and follow a good structure.


3. Follow a robust deck structure...

I recommend that, as a minimum, you include the following information within your slides as part of this:

The problem your product/service/invention solvesWhy and How you are the solutionYour Business Model/How you see it workingStatus - Progress so far/What you've achieved.Size of the Prize - This is your business case - why should they want you/invest in you?Strategy - See Timeline tip later / Is great visual toolWhat's your 'ask?' Be specific - Is it sales order, funding, retainer etc.Your numbersYour Thanks for their time


4. Make sure your numbers add up...

Don't 'blag it' on the numbers or try to make them look better than they are. You will be caught out and lose all credibility. This is often the first area that gets pulled apart. Almost always.


5. Include a good Timeline...

This can be a serious deal clincher when executed well. It's a real power slide because it shows what you've achieved already - and also what is in the pipeline including the key milestones that are planned. In short - This evidences that there's a robust strategy behind what you're saying.


6. Anticipate the Questions that will come...

If you know who your audience is, it's likely you can anticipate what questions they may have. And that will allow you to ensure you have most of that covered within your pitch...


And finally - An extra tip for good measure...


Think about your Team - particularly at the pitch. Your audience will be looking for pedigree - i.e. what you've all done and achieved before this venture. They will also be looking at the chemistry and balance within your Team; both on paper and during your pitch. Therefore, whoever attends the pitch with you - and how you interact - is extremely important also.

Hope these few initial tips give you some decent pointers. Would love to know your views or even your own tips - Please feel free to add in the comments as they could help others reading this article.

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