Skip to main content


In a timely reminder in yesterday’s Examiner, Trish Dromey penned an article titled ‘For an increasing number of SMEs, it is all about the pitch.’ Indeed, Enterprise Ireland used investment pitches this year to select Competitive Start Funding recipients, who each received €50,000 in funding.

I wrote back in October that it was easy to separate those who practiced their presentation pitches from those that did not. This was based on our experience during the judging process of the Start Up Awards where we listened to over 40 pitches from companies in over 12 different industries. One point to highlight, the better pitch doesn’t necessarily mean a better product or service but it leaves a better impression which leaves you better positioned for more in-depth follow ups.

This point is reinforced by John O’Dea, Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start Up manager, who states that the ability to deliver a polished investment pitch is of paramount importance. O’Dea goes on to add, “a good pitch is like a performance — it should be polished, without seeming over rehearsed, should be enthusiastic and positive with appearing unrealistic or naive.”

The advice is clear, practice before you pitch. Practice in front of your family, friends and work colleagues. Be persistent and it will pay off. Put yourself in the shoes of the potential investor or the first significant customer. Would they invest time or trust in someone that appears to be unsure of their product and is unable to provide key data points in a confident and assured manner. Doubtful unless you are selling something so unique that they’ll forgive your shortcomings. That’s the rare exception rather than the rule.

Jot down this classic sports quote and use it to remind yourself that good pitches don’t happen by accident –  Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.

When you’re done practicing your investment pitch take some time to read our Business Plan Guide. Every good pitch should be accompanied by a great business plan.

Are you a start up? Take a free trial of Big Red Cloud and make running your accounts easier.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.