An important part of getting investors on board with your venture is to create a strong presentation that explains your concept and its value proposition.
A good pitch should include the problem you are solving, how your idea or product solves that problem and what makes it different from other ventures. Dr. Scott Ambrose, an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, suggests that students spend time practicing their pitch for the upcoming Entrepreneurship “TREP” Expo on April 11 and the Launch Your Venture Competition on April 18 at the John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex set to open this spring at the Embry-Riddle Research Park.
While pitching to an audience can be intimidating, preparation and hard work can help you develop the skills you need to get support for your big idea.
Here are five ways to perfect your pitch:
Define your pitch style
There are several types of pitches and it’s important to match the pitch style with the setting. Daniel Pink outlines various pitching techniques in his book “To Sell is Human,” including an elevator pitch that is a brief and well-honed sales pitch that should last no longer than 60 seconds. A Pixar Pitch, named for Pixar Animation Studio’s clear and succinct plots, defines your mission and what it seeks to accomplish in six sentences. A question pitch uses the interrogative to make your case, by asking questions when you have facts firmly on your side. When presenting at an expo, Ambrose suggests that entrepreneurs clearly define their venture and create a dialogue and exchange of ideas with investors or judges. Your pitch should include an overview of your venture, the problem it solves, the solution, your competition, business model and use of funds.
“Make it fit your personality and what you feel comfortable with,” Ambrose said. “When it comes to being persuasive, you need to be passionate and you have to be solving a problem that matters to others.”
Connect with your audience
Sharing your origin story of where you got your idea can be a great way to connect with your audience and make your presentation more personable. Authentic pitches that connect with people on an emotional level are more likely to be remembered. Using an analogy or metaphor can also help explain the problem you are solving, especially if it involves a more technical approach, Ambrose said. “In the world of science and engineering, ventures can be highly technical so you have to provide a frame of reference that gives them context,” Ambrose said. Compare your product or service to other ventures that have revolutionized industries or find an easy metaphor that describes how your technology works.
Describe your value proposition
How do you serve the needs of your customer in a unique way and how do you stand out from existing ventures? Those are important questions to address when defining your venture, Ambrose said. Potential investors are looking for market niches that new ventures can establish and successfully defend. According to the Expo judging criteria, you should be able to demonstrate your venture’s commercial viability, general interest and innovativeness.
Know your numbers
Your business model should define the market for your product or service in as much detail as possible. “This is where most folks fall down,” Ambrose said. “They fall in love with their idea but don’t focus on its commercial viability.” You have to know who your potential customer is. You need to know if you will have repeat customers or one-time customers and be realistic about the market share that your new venture can garner.
Include a call to action
What is it that an investor can contribute to your startup and what would it enable you to do? Ending your pitch with a call to action tells the investor or intended audience how they can support you, buy your product or provide feedback for research and development.
For more information on preparing for the upcoming Trep Expo, the College of Business will host a customer segments and value proposition workshop on Feb. 27 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in room 114. Workshops on pitching techniques and preparation will also be held on March 6 from 5 to 6 p.m. and March 27. For more information, visit The Center for Entrepreneurship.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.