Whether you’re looking to impress investors, dragons or judges, your pitch is often the most important tool in your toolbox. For many founders, it is the key that can open the door to that much needed funding.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been fortunate enough to attend judging sessions up and down the country from exciting businesses pitching for their chance to be our next UK Tech Innovator.

So, what does it take to be pitch perfect?

Whilst everyone approaches the pitch differently, there are some very common pitfalls that founders find themselves in – including using technical terms, over complicating their offering and being under prepared.

So, what are my ingredients for that perfect pitch?

Passion: The best pitches are those that are delivered with high energy. When a founder is passionate about their business it stands out and engages with the audience – which is really important – especially if you are their 10th pitch of the day!

Clarity: You really need to be very clear when you stand up to pitch, what is the customer proposition and how does the company deliver? A compelling narrative is one that highlights the what, the why, the how, where it fits in the market and what the market opportunity is. The most successful businesses are those who can clearly articulate their value proposition, market opportunity, and business model. It may be clear to you, but you really need to ensure your solution's uniqueness and potential impact are evident to everyone else in the room.
Simplicity: Keeping slides simple and word light is important, remember a picture paints a thousand words. You must be able to sum up in just one or two lines what your company does. One of the most important slides in a pitch covers the numbers, you need to illustrate commercial success in a digestible way.
Team: Your idea might be unique, and your business model robust — but so is the competition’s so whilst it’s important to showcase your passion, innovation and the business opportunity – it is absolutely vital that you don’t forget to shine a spotlight on your team! People invest in people, not just ideas, so it’s important your audience learns about the team behind your business, including any financial backers you might have.
Practice: Why not record yourself and watch it back! Nerves can often cause people to rush through what they have to say, but practice can make perfect. Practicing your pitch, timing your presentation, delivering a dry run in front of people and making sure you have covered off all areas that you want to get across will help you get pitch ready. Don’t forget you can always record yourself and watch it back and be critical of what improvements can be made. You need to make sure you’ve polished your delivery, practiced thoroughly and maintain clarity and confidence. Make sure your pitch is well-timed and smoothly delivered and be prepared for the Q&A, be honest if you don't know an answer, and show genuine enthusiasm and commitment to your startup.
And finally, the best advice is something our team like to call The Granny Test. If you had to tell your granny what you do – could they understand and tell you back what you do? Remember to tailor your pitch to your audience, if you’ve a technical product but pitching to a general business competition you need to tailor it to them! Don’t forget, you can say about 150 words a minute, think about this when you’re writing your pitch, and remember pauses ‘are powerful. They make the audience think, and you can catch your breath!
If you want to watch some pitching in action why not watch our Tech Innovator UK Final live on 23 July.
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