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Perfect Your Small Business Pitch in 5 Simple Steps
  • 13 September 2016
  • Eric Michaels

Perfect Your Small Business Pitch in 5 Simple Steps

Once you have a solid business plan and a product that will sell, all you need is funding to turn on the lights and get the machines moving. To get there, you will have to win over investors. Even if you are more comfortable in the trenches than in the board room, you can learn how to give an engaging presentation. Here is how to perfect your small business pitch in five easy steps:

1. Know your audience

Before you can secure funding from an investor, you have to respond to the inevitable objections that will arise. The only way to anticipate these objections is to know your audience. When you want to find out more about a potential investor, turn to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. Try to research other types of companies they've invested in and what their strengths are. By trying to think of five or six reasons why an investor could potentially object to your pitch, you can be prepared to turn the presentation around for the better.

2. Make it dramatic

Investors might hear good ideas every day, but it is doubtful that they hear great stories that feature a dramatic arc. Try shaping your presentation so that it mirrors the format of an engaging book. Start with an opening hook (the problem) and move on to the struggle taking place (the marketplace). Finish off by focusing on how the hero (your product) saves the day. By getting your audience interested and emotionally invested in your product by the end of your pitch, you will have a much better chance of landing the necessary funds.

3. Practice until it is effortless

You can never practice your small business pitch enough. The goal is to get your speech to the point where you can pick it up from any point and still sound convincing. This skill is a necessity, as you may need to stop your presentation at different points to answer questions.

Likewise, you should be able to recite versions of your pitch that vary in length from 30 seconds to three minutes. You never know where or when you will have the opportunity to give your elevator pitch, so it is best to prepare for different types of time constraints and audiences of all sizes. When you get an investor's attention, you can elaborate.

4. Prepare the necessary numbers

You can expect to be asked about the time it would take to complete your product, the type of marketing budget you will need, and the details of every other aspect of the deal. If you do not have clear numbers, your chances of receiving funding will drop.

As for a financing offer, investors usually go into a meeting with a number in mind, and you should do the same. Appearing indecisive or unable to put a value on what you are offering will make you look unprepared. Know how you will respond to different offers and set a hard line in regard to how much control of the company you plan to keep.

5. Mix in visuals

No matter how great a speaker you are, there is no substitute for visual aids. Think of the images that will make your pitch even more compelling to investors. Not only do these visuals serve as a way to move the story along, but they also provide you with the opportunity to deliver dramatic pauses. Your pitch will be more compelling if you know when to mix in a visual and when to start speaking again.

The struggle to find small business financing can force you to give your small business pitch dozens—possibly hundreds—of times before you get the funds you need. When you get your shot, make sure your pitch is perfect.

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