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September 26, 2018

The Best Way to Pitch Your Startup

At some point, every startup company needs to pitch their company. The pitch might be to win a local competition, to attract new investors, or to overall just market and sell the company’s product or service. No matter what the reason for the pitch is, there are a few key components that can be helpful to include with your pitch in order to improve your chances of success.

Below are some of the areas we have seen over the years that have made for successful pitches.  Not all are relevant for all settings.  For example, a potential customer may not be as interest in your company’s Exit or ROI strategy.  As such, be ready with multiple pitch decks or be ready to swap these areas around between pitches.

1) Define the Problem

State the problem and then explain how your company is going to fix this problem. Make sure you give specific real-life examples on how the problem will be fixed. For this, you do not want to be too generic.

2) Showcase Your Company

Explain what you expect your company to do and how successful you can be at fixing the above problem. Make sure to include any case studies you can get to support your solution.

3) Explain the Revenue Model

Where are your sources of revenue going to come from? If you have more than one source of revenue, make sure you highlight all of them.

4) Showcase Current Customers

Who are you currently selling your product or service to? Explain your success you have seen with these customers. This is always great to do because it helps your audience see who you are currently working with in the market and it gives you some credibility. One important thing to remember: make sure you get permission from your current customers to discuss them while pitching your own company.

5) Talk About Your Pipeline

If applicable, discuss some of the potential customers you are hoping to work with. This will help to explain your goals and where you see the company going.

6) Key Metrics

What key factors make your company stand out from your competition? Within this area, explain both the stats on your company and how those compare to your competition.

7) Discuss Your Competitors

Coming right off the stats from the key metrics, you should then discuss your competitive advantage over these competitors. Differentiation is key!

8) Highlight Milestones

For example: when you started, when you picked up your first client, when you created any partnerships with a company, if you won any awards, etc. This is your time to brag about your successes and achievements so far.

9) The Future

Start with where you are now, and then where you see your company in 2-5 years. Explain how you plan to get there.

10) The Team

Many times, your audience is just as interested in your team as they are your product or service.  Particularly, the founding team, the management team and the advisory team.  On the fundraising circuit, you may hear the old expression, “Bet on the jockey (the founder), not the horse (the idea).” Clients and customers are often time just as interested in the team as investors are.

11) Financial Projections

Make sure you have the most accurate financial projection of revenue and expenses that you can. List and explain any assumptions you are using to come up with those financial projections. It is also a good idea to project out at least 5-10 years to showcase your company.

12) Exit and ROI Opportunities

This area is particularly important to investors. They are investing in your company to obtain a return on their investment (ROI). Be ready to prove to them just how you will utilize their capital in order to grow their investment. Many times that involves an exit or partial exit, so showing industry examples of other companies in your industry that have provided a significant ROI or significant exit event can be a big selling feature of your pitch.

13) The Pitch Deck Says it All

While the content above is the meat of your pitch, the pitch deck that contains the information is very important as well. The more polished and clean your pitch deck, the easier it will be for your audience to follow and should lead to more questions and follow-up.

14) Practice, Practice, Practice

Another key factor other than to include the above content is to make sure you practice, practice, and then practice some more, on delivering your pitch. Delivery is just as important as content, so you want to make sure the pitch is as seamless as possible.

While there may be a few other factors that could be added to the mix, we have seen these areas prove very beneficial for many startup companies. We have seen hundreds if not thousands of pitches over the years, and we here to help out with this process.  Contact an Anders advisor for further guidance.

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