Pitch, that marvellous manifestation of the art of oration, where the drab world of business suddenly acquires a creative perspective. From Warren Buffet to Jeff Bezos, every business tycoon swears by the importance of a good pitch for the prospects of a business to soar. But while the internet is full of material that supposedly helps you to master the art of pitching, no singular blueprint has been created thus far. A general idea, however, can be drawn about the things that prospective entrepreneurs need to certainly avoid if they want their pitch to ensure that their businesses see the light of the day. Enlisted below are a few pointers that entrepreneurs should keep in mind and avoid doing for that perfect pitch:
Missing vital pitch material
One of the biggest turn-off phrases for any investor would be when during a pitch, someone would say ‘we had the material for this feature ready, but unfortunately cannot present it due to….” the reason does not matter. Investors instantly lose faith in an entrepreneur who does not show up fully prepared even during a pitching session. If it’s not one of those impromptu 2 minute elevator or washroom pitches, prospective entrepreneurs should have all their material ready and arranged.
Statistics, graphs, histograms, charts and accounting ratios, although extremely important, should not comprise the entirety of a pitch. Investors, essentially, are looking to identify the prospect of the business idea and the depth of the entrepreneur’s vision and understanding. Thus, while providing quantitative evidence is desired and sometimes necessary, a pitch that is simple, engaging and concise is accepted easily. Such a pitch also creates a more conversational and interactive discussion session, which is beneficial in itself as a networking exercise even if the pitch gets rejected.
Too many participants
While it’s a noble thought on your part to let your entire team in on the spotlight, this magnanimity may cost you the entire effort. The art of speaking in front of an audience, and an audience as critical as prospective investors, should involve someone who has an innate ability for the same. Team members who are great at their job but falter when it comes to succinctly explaining the merits of the business should not be a part of the direct pitching process. Furthermore, the act of pitching should be kept restricted to a maximum of 3 participants as it becomes difficult to maintain cohesion beyond this number.
Many pitches which start out strongly go down the drain because the pitcher just refuses to say the 3 magic words -‘I don’t Know.’ Do not let your ego or apprehension at the prospect of being identified as ignorant get in the way of the future of your business. Investors are mostly industry veterans and it is obvious that they will know more about the prevailing scenario than you do. Unnecessary arguments or opinion that is backed not by careful analysis and data but by speculation and emotion is easily caught by investors, who do not take kindly to such an attitude.
Too much of rehearsing
While it is better to test the strength of your pitch among critical members of your friends and family circle, one should not rehearse so much as to lose the spontaneity of the moment. Have an idea about the progression of your pitch and improvise rather than focus on a fixed set of lines. Use language in which you can express yourself well, and try to engage each and every investor present in the room rather than address your pitch to a specific few.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the publication