Posted: Fri 21st Sep 2012
I recently won a competition to pitch my business idea to Sir Richard Branson at his Oxfordshire home, writes Maria (left). The feedback I got from the panel was amazing, with Sir Richard describing my pitch as "superb". So here are my top three tips on planning and delivering the perfect pitch!
Find out about the people you are pitching to. Is it a company? If yes, what does the company stand for? What is the ethos and core values of the company? How can you demonstrate you have these in your pitch? Who are the individuals you are pitching to? Get to know their personalities and professional backgrounds. Do they have children? If you have a product for children, tap into their parental side and show them how their own children would love your product or business idea. Are you pitching to a brands expert? They'll most likely ask you how and why you have branded your product or business the way you have. Are you pitching to a marketing expert? They'll probably ask you how you intend to market your product. Get to know each individual and make a list of possible questions they may ask you and then prepare yourself for these.
Know your figures. If someone is going to give you their hard-earned cash, then they will want to know exactly what you are going to do with it and how you are going to make them money, too! It's as simple as that. So work out your costs and know exactly what you will spend the money on. If you are not good at keeping figures in your head, then write these down on a prompt card and if your mind goes blank you'll have it to hand. People often don't mind if you use prompt cards, as long as you don't read your whole pitch directly from them!
It's all well and good to have an amazing product, but you need to make your investors believe in your product or business just as much as you do. Knowing what you are selling and showing your passion is how to achieve this. More often than not investors are now investing in people and if the investor feels they could work well with you. Yes, your product needs to be amazing - but so do you! Be yourself. There's nothing more appealing than an honest, genuine person, someone who you feel will communicate openly and work with you. And you can never show too much passion! If you can show people that you believe in your product or business then you will make people believe in it also!