Why is it so important for startups to have a great pitch?

Have you ever pitched to a potential customer and felt like they haven’t fully understood your vision, they just want to know what features you have?

Have you ever pitched to investors and failed to get a signed term sheet? And, you’ve ended up with lots of questions and unrelated feedback.

A great pitch will help you establish your credibility, make your vision clear and explain exactly what it is you do. 

A great pitch should set the right tone for future action – whether that’s closing a sale with an early adopter customer; hiring a new team member; getting alignment and buy in to the company direction (for existing team members); establishing a partnership; or closing an investment round.

This article will help you understand why a great pitch is so crucial to helping you to be successful across all key stakeholder groups: customers, team members, potential partners and investors.

What exactly is a pitch anyway?

A pitch – in the context of a startup – is the story that you tell about your startup. In our experience startups are thinking in terms of an investor pitch most of the time. As a consequence it’s easy to deprioritise updating your pitch and practising how you tell your story if you aren’t raising capital. 

In reality, your pitch is a tool you use every time you want to talk about your startup – to inform or to inspire action. It may be a quick one liner that you use to introduce yourself at an event; or a conversation with a potential customer who wants to find out more about you and what you offer. It might be a short two-minute video supported by slides that gets you in the door to a meeting with an investor or partners. It might be a comprehensive pitch deck with all the key points that will give you the edge with interested investors. 

The information you include, and the story that you tell will differ vastly, dependent on the context and whether you are pitching to customers, team members, partners or investors; and how long you have to pitch.

However, every pitch will include a number of key elements:

  • The problem(s) that you are solving and for whom – as well as the specific impact of that problem to your potential customers. 
  • What your disruptive solution approach is, and exactly how your product or service will help your customers be successful.  
  • Your long-term vision1 for the impact that you want to have on your customer segment, a community or the world. 
  • What the action is that you anticipate might come from the pitch 
  • What the opportunity is for the individual you’ve pitched to  
  • What the call to action might be: 
    • For potential customers: are they interested to receive a proposal / find out more / sign up? 
    • For new hires: how do they think they can contribute to helping you achieve the vision, is your vision compelling to them?  
    • For existing team members: are they clear on the path to achieving the vision, and how they are able to contribute to that?  
    • For potential partners: do they think there is a values alignment between you, and can they see how both parties can benefit from a partnership?  
    • For the first time you meet an investor: to gauge interest and whether they will want to be contacted, when you open your round. 
    • For your investment round: the opportunity to ask questions and potentially offer a signed term sheet.

At the end of 
your pitch – you want your audience to feel excited about what you do and your vision. And keen to find out more about how they can work / partner / invest in youIyou’re not getting the results you expect:

  • Maybe your pitch story isn’t quite making the impact you want; 
  • Maybe the opportunity doesn’t resonate with them;  
  • Maybe the price isn’t right or it’s not a big enough opportunity, or the timing isn’t right for them.

What do you do to resolve these 

  • Review your pitch story and continue to iterate and test with your audience until it starts to resonate with them and get the results you need

If you want to share where you are at with your pitch, fill out this short questionnaire, and we’ll get in touch to help you with your next steps.

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