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.
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