Life's A Pitch

Pitching can be tough. For many entrepreneurs, it’s the most daunting aspect they face in their career.

A perfect business plan is useless if you cannot convince others of its brilliance, hence the pitch being a fundamental part of entrepreneurial success.

Weeks, months even years of planning can come down to just two minutes in the boardroom with the line between success and failure often a fine one.

Pitching should not be feared- it should be embraced. With the right preparation and know-how there’s no reason an entrepreneur should leave a pitch feeling disappointed.

So, how do you deliver the perfect pitch and secure that vital investment? Below are some top tips from industry experts:

Be Prepared- Launch22 Mentor Charles Oddy

Pitching doesn’t just happen in boardrooms at pre-arranged times. The opportunity to sell yourself and your business can often arrive in unexpected circumstances. The impromptu pitch should certainly not be underestimated in the modern world of networking. Our very own Mentor, Charles Oddy explains that entrepreneurs are always pitching: “whether they’re in meetings, on a train or on social media, they should always be ready to engage an audience in their goals and should not be afraid to ask for support.”

Charles is one of our specialist mentors who is an experienced investment professional. He runs regular workshops at Launch22 Liverpool and you can attend these for free by becoming a member! More info here

Be Enthusiastic! — Richard Branson

Having set up his first business at the age of just 16, Richard Branson has gone on to build one of the world’s most recognisable brands. Branson hasn’t made his billions by being a shrinking violet. He explains that passion is unquestionably the secret sauce of all Virgin’s businesses. Richard draws on an example regarding Brett Godfrey whose airline launch pitch was originally dismissed by Virgin Executive staff. “What I detected in Brett during his pitch was something that the executive team had overlooked: a passionate belief in the need for and viability of what he was proposing…the passion I saw in his eyes when talking about his vision really sold me.” Branson liked the idea of the airline and launched Virgin Blue (which later became Virgin Australia) — now the country’s second biggest airline!

Know Your Audience- Sir Alan Sugar

The star of The Apprentice has seen it all when it comes to pitches and certainly isn’t afraid to put people in their place- which is why entrepreneurs should probably listen to his advice! Sir Alan explains that a little homework on the audience can go a long way when pitching: “Who are you presenting to? What are their backgrounds? Is there anything topical that you can weave into the presentation to make it relevant? Do your audience want something formal or fun? Can you involve them or just talk to them? These things make a big difference.”

Keep a Clear Head- Dragon’s Den Contestant, Jennifer Duthie

One person who knows a thing or two about pitching is Jenifer Duthie who appeared on BBC Television programme, Dragon’s Den in 2014. Jenifer kept her calm in front of a tough audience and secured her customised shoe business £60,000. She put her success down to her calmness and composure and advised others to follow this principle: “Don’t rush through your pitch. Speak slowly and pause between sentences. If you suddenly forget your pitch don’t panic just take a moment to get yourself back on track”

Keep It Short- Carrie Somer, Forbes Magazine

In the world of pitching, less if often more. Quality not quantity is the general message from people in the know- including entrepreneur and Forbes Magazine, contributor, Carrie Somer. She stresses that businessmen and women simply don’t have the time to digest complex information and waffle: “The temptation may be to include lots of information, but investors don’t have time to read a long pitch. Give them enough information to bite, but leave them wanting more.”