Next time your about to face a panel make sure you’ve considered the following…..
Know your business
I’m sure we have all watched optimistic businesses walk into the Dragons’ Den hopeful that they will be leaving with a big chunk of cash in their pocket, only to watch them get shot down on the basics, but then there is no excuse for not knowing your figures. Before going into any pitch make sure you know your business basics inside and out. Why would an investor trust you with their money if you don’t know what you’ve either been turning over or what you expect to be coming in.
Have a plan
SME’s write and rewrite business plans in the early stages, a pitch is no different. Think about what you are pitching for, is it money? Are you selling? Is it an award? Pitches will include different information dependent on these factors, tailor the content to suit the panel and the function.
Have a structure but not a script. Recently I watched an individual pitch their business with a video and a script, when told they were running out of time they merely sped up their reading speed! Think about what you need to get across to the panel. If you have a time frame how can you structure the information to stay within the limit? A video that explains the business but takes up half of the pitch may be fancy but potentially has limited use.
Once you’ve built your plan, learn it. You shouldn’t have to rely on a script or in-depth powerpoints to get your information across. However, don’t rely on your ability to wing it, many have tried and frozen. Create a small set of notes of flashcards with key points for each section.
Practice makes perfect
The phrase is true! Don’t just practice till your confident, practice till your blue in the face and you’ve bored all of your friends, get them to fire questions at you and put you through your paces until you and they can’t take anymore.
Remember the panel is human
The people that are sitting opposite you are not super villains or trying to trick you up however, they are looking to make the best decision, whether that be where to invest their money or who to crown the winner.
Pitching doesn’t need to be a daunting task, the more you do it the easier it becomes and when you make it through with the investment you need or the award you’ve been chasing it will be worth it!