Top Tips for Entrepreneurs Attending Pitching Competitions
NACUE’s top tips for young entrepreneurs attending pitching competitions this year.
So you have a cool idea? Or even better – You have an early stage business and you’ve decided to showcase it in a pitch competition.
Bold but smart.
Whether you are pitching for funding, trying to drum up some media attention, or simply networking at a function, it is important to nail it correctly.
You might get nervous but feeling a bit tense is normal and most people can’t really see your sweaty palms or notice the two second silences, so embrace it.
The key is to slow things down to a point that almost sounds too slow. It might feel odd but it will actually make you seem confident and in control (even if you are cringing on the inside).
Rehearse Your Timing
Rehearse your timing because pitches need to be different lengths for different audiences.
You should have a short and snappy elevator pitch that you can recite with ease, but other pitches will often be considerably longer.
Make sure you always follow a clear structure outlining what your business does – How it makes money and why you are the person that can deliver it.
Check the dramatic pause – Perfectly timed by an impactful slide makes it memorable, especially if it’s in time.
Keep The Attention On You
Keep the attention on you and not the slide. Cluttered slides with boring charts and overly detailed SWOT analysis bored me at university and will guarantee to bore the judges.
Keep the slides simple with crisp one liners or big bold statement graphs and ensure all the key facts come from you.
Answer Questions Succinctly
Don’t annoy judges by going on a five minute monologue during the Q/A.
Most of the questions will be obvious, such as – ‘Who is your competition’, ‘What is the business model’, ‘What will you do with the prize’.
Prepare brief counter points on each of them. You should know your business inside and out, because if you don’t, who will?
The truth is, even if your pitch doesn’t go to plan you will still receive some constructive (sometimes harsh) feedback. They are all valuable experiences.
Quality comes with time – And by your tenth pitch, you won’t have a hint of the nerves that you did when you first started.
Get contact details from the judges and listen for honest feedback, they may well have an idea that could turn your fledging startup into a winning enterprise.