6 Tips for Improving Your Startup Pitch

You’ve got a great idea for a business and want to share it with the world. The problem with most ideas is, they tend to stay in our heads for far too long.

Of course, we think our ideas are great, but what do the people hearing our ideas think? If you want to rally support around your idea, you’ve got to pitch it effectively.

When pitching your idea, it’s important to get real feedback from real people as fast as possible so you can make the appropriate adjustments or pivots. You’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t so you can hone your pitch and captivate people with your idea.

These 6 simple tips will help you be more effective in pitching your startup idea today.

1. Practice Live

Getting in front of real people to practice your pitch is crucial and should be done as much as possible. If these people are your ideal customers, even better. After consistently practicing your pitch in front of a live audience, you’ll gain valuable feedback on how you present your product and be more confident in the delivery of your pitch. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. You can even try pitching fake business ideas with your friends to keep your skills sharp and gain an edge while having fun.

2. Be a Storyteller

Humans love stories; they’re how we communicate best. As Donald Miller of StoryBrand explains, your customer is the hero in your story, with your brand as the guide. With this in mind, paint a picture of the problems your customer is facing and position your product as the solution to that problem. Captivate your audience by showing them the life they have now compared to where they want to be, and position your idea to bridge that gap.

3. Audience Interaction 

Keeping your audience engaged while you pitch is key to not only capturing but keeping their attention. When you interact with your audience, they will feel more connected and will be more likely to remember your idea afterward because they felt involved. Of course, your pitch is likely going to be under 3 minutes and you don’t have time for a two-sided conversation. A few easy ways to engage your audience would be to ask a yes/no question or ask your audience to imagine something.

4. Use Social Proof

If you have examples of how your idea is already being used by others, use them. We are all more likely to trust something works if we see other people have validated it. You could share testimonials from people who have tested your idea, sales numbers (if you have them), or statistics that amplify the problem your idea solves. Hubspot shares 20 examples that you can use and integrate into your pitch.

5. Prepare for Negotiation

When you deliver your pitch and ask for money, be prepared to negotiate. That means, in practice, you’ll want to come up with every possible scenario so you are prepared to answer. Negotiating is part of the business, and when you know your numbers, you’ll be better equipped to handle objections and other things that might hold someone back from buying into your idea. This is the type of work that goes into your pitch before you get in front of the real investors, so do your homework. When the time comes, you’ll be confident in your response and ready to counter back on the spot.

6. Be Cool

Pitching requires confidence and a cool head. Maintain calm, collected behavior and you’ll strengthen your position as the one in control. People pick up on nervous behavior, so the better you control your posture and body language, the more likely people will be to trust you know what you’re doing and listen fully to your pitch.

So, in short, practice your pitch live as much as possible and capture your audience’s attention by telling a story. Ask engaging questions while using social proof to back up your claims. Know your numbers so you can pitch with confidence while holding a confident posture for a strong presence throughout your pitch. Do this and, who knows, maybe your next idea will end up on Shark Tank!

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