Investors buy into founders before they buy into the deal.
If you are looking for investors, clients, or partners, your pitch must be perfect.
In a start-up, the founder's passion for the project is so great that the benefits may be lost to others, especially to investors. Effective communication allows you to encourage investors or strategic partners to take that "leap of faith" to support your idea.
You must understand that communication transforms your passion into commitments from:
Albert Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.
In setting up your business, communication is important for three main reasons: clarity, credibility, and influence.
Investors Want Clarity
A lack of clarity or consistency in the way you present will likely be interpreted by investors as a signal of possible problems going forward. There are a lot of "moving parts" in a start-up, so the lack of organized thoughts may increase the investor's perceived risk of failure. Weak messages create bad situations. Learn to be clear.
Credibility: Investors Must Be Convinced by You and Your Project.
Selling on passion and fostering communication skills show there is discipline, clarity, a process, and a plan. As such, you will reassure your audience that you are trustworthy. Learn to be both sound and credible when presenting to investors.
Influence: Investors Only Have a Couple of Minutes. Make Them Count.
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you have no other option but to present your business plan to investors with confidence. In order to influence them and convince them to "write that check", you must prepare, train, and visualize success. The art of pitching to influence can be learned by everyone.
Now that the pressure is on and you are convinced to invest time in crafting your perfect pitch, here is a specific example followed by a quick exercise you may want to execute:
Michael Pritchard is an inventor who was invited to give a TED Talk in July 2009 on the impact of contaminated water in the world.
In order to solve the problem of polluted water killing thousands of people, Michael Pritchard invented the Lifesaver system. It is a water bottle equipped with a filter making impure water safe, clean, and drinkable.
The invention is perfectly relevant, but how do you persuade a TED Talk audience, sitting comfortably in Oxford with easy and cheap access to safe drinking water, to care about another filtering bottle? How long do you think Michael Pritchard had to get this privileged audience engaged in listening about his new product development? Why should the audience care?
Technically and realistically, it is a matter of seconds. Within a very short amount of time you need to provide the key information that will interest your audience.
Michael Pritchard stated in his opening: “You all have been enjoying the water here at the conference and I know you all feel it is from a safe source…but what if it was not?... Since I have been speaking, another 13’000 people around the globe are suffering from diarrhoea and four children have died.”
That’s what I call grabbing your audience’s attention. For your pitch, you need to do this too!
Before perfecting your pitch, it is mandatory to prepare it. Here is how you can start writing your own version:
To develop your pitch you need to answer questions such as:
• Who is your target audience?
• What is your offer?
• Why should the target audience care?
• How do you contribute to your target audience’s needs?
• Why you?
• What is your goal?
Once you have clearly defined the answers, you can start crafting what can be your so-called “elevator pitch” (30 seconds max!).
• I am (doing what? Helping, teaching…)
• For (whom? Target audience)
• So they can (achieve what? Save money, be fit…)
• Would you be interested in (your goal? Buying, planning a meeting...)
Engaging the right people and ensuring you are remembered in a positive way is the result you get with a well-prepared and well-rehearsed pitch.
Michael Pritchard did not actually pitch his product as such during his TED Talks speech, but he sold all of the hundreds of samples he took with him that day and also found investors.
Remember: you have just a few seconds to secure your next life-changing opportunity. Make them count! Prepare and work on that pitch!