Image: BBC Image: BBC

One of the hardest things to do once you’ve set upon a great idea for your business is to sell it to others. It can be a daunting task, but you need to be able to pitch your vision convincingly to interested parties – potential customers, investors and friends and family. With that in mind, here are my top tips for making sure you can nail your business pitch.

Describe your business in one sentence

One sentence may be a big ask, but you should be able to tell anyone what you offer in 30 seconds, or it’s too complicated. If you can say ‘(Company name) offers (product or service) as a solution to (the problem) to benefit (market)’, then you’re on the right track! It’s essential to be able to articulate what you do, and why a customer or investor should care.

How is it better?

Once you know what you do, think about what makes it better than and different to your competitors. If you’re operating in a saturated market, what’s your USP that makes you stand head and shoulders above the rest? Remember to focus on what people want, not just what you offer. Consider external input – what do your existing customers, friends or family think? As well as demonstrating what you do that’s different, know what you definitely don’t do and don’t try to be all things to all people.

Who is it for?

Knowing your product or service means you’ll have a good idea of who will need it, so make sure you express this. Identify your target market and how you’ll reach them – will you advertise in certain locations, publications or online? Will you have business premises that are accessible to your target market? Considering now what will help you build traction with your customers in the future demonstrates logic in your business decisions.

Build credibility!

A big part of building a successful business is demonstrating that your customers or clients can trust you. Similarly with a pitch, you’ll be convincing someone to trust your vision, so presenting them with your past experience can be key. What ventures have you taken on that show your tenacity and passion? How can you demonstrate business skills earlier in your career? Are you able to show how well you’ve sold a product or service before? You should be proud of your achievements to this point, so use them to prove yourself now! Don’t forget about your environment either – where you choose to present your pitch will have a big impact on your audience, so ensure you have suitable, professional meeting space available.

Consider investment

Often the reason for an in-depth pitch is to secure investment, either from funding companies, friends, family, banks, or even through crowd sourcing. If your audience believes in your product then you’re halfway there, but when you’re asking for money you need to be very clear on exactly what you have and what you need. What will the investment be used for? How will you demonstrate a return? Investors need to know their money isn’t going to waste – show them how it will be used.

Remember to leave time for questions too. This can be a great opportunity to iron out any miscommunications that can happen and give your audience real insight into you and your motivations. Just remember, you’re pitching something you believe in and if you can see the value, you can show that to others!

By Dave Sunter, Business Development Manager at Stonebridge Offices