So, you think your business idea is cool? You will have no problem pitching it to a potential investor or venture capitalist, right?! Or maybe you believe your startup enjoys some type of momentary monopoly because you’re the only company doing what you do? Not so fast!
Pitch ‘it’ Like Jay Z
But do you really have what it takes to pitch like a business mogul? Particularly, Mr. Shawn Carter, also known as Jay Z. In addition to being one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time, Jay Z’s brand creates a perfect pitch to investors and businesses alike.
Consider this: What other hip-hop artists do you know who work with business magnate Warren Buffett and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg? What other hip-hop artists strike gamechanging deals and partnership agreements with Live Nation Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment (i.e., outside of a record deal)? Do most music artists owns a percentage of a sports team (i.e., Brooklyn Nets) and hangs out with President Obama?
This is because Jay Z has a strong business brand that requires very little pitching. While you are not Jay Z or married to Beyoncé, don’t let that discourage your ability to create the perfect business pitch.
Never Underestimate the Value of a Perfect Pitch
Even if your business has discovered a niche—which, experts agree, is always a temporary thing—don’t underestimate the value of a perfect pitch. Do your homework, seek guidance from sales-presentation specialists, research investors’ preferences, and deliver a killer pitch that will woo and wow investors.
A top-notch pitch, typically, is brief and precise, while showing that you are passionate about what you do, and communicating the five 5Ws of your business: who, what, when, where, why —and don’t forget the how.
Here are ten smart ways to pitch your business like a business mogul:
1. Tell a compelling story.
In the investment game, credibility is an important thing. Make sure your story is believable, stuffed with facts, and convincing enough for a stranger to want to listen… and ultimately pour money into your business. How do you do that? John H., a retired presentation coach living in Purchase, N.Y., says “you’ve got to highlight the 5Ws, but do it in a human way.” In other words, say how your business not only is awesome, but also how it will make consumers’ lives awesome or will significantly improve society at large.
2. Keep it brief.
Ever heard of an elevator pitch lasting longer than the time it takes the listener to exit the elevator? Nobody wants that, right? So keep your story succinct and snappy—the last thing you want is an investor to yawn at your presentation. Experts recommend that an elevator pitch not last longer than one minute, so craft a short version of your pitch along with the lengthier version, which is the PowerPoint presentation. Talking about the actual presentation: Don’t make it too long! And also don’t fill it with unnecessary stuff—competitive analysis, non-disclosure agreement, and long-term projections—which will be only relevant if the investor likes your idea and finally comes onboard.
3. Write a perfect, factual executive summary.
Pen an excellent executive summary that encapsulates your business idea, narrating it in a crisp and interesting way. In your executive summary, talk about what your business actually does; how your product or service fits in society generally; who your potential rivals are; and your short-term plans and long-term aspirations, especially growth forecasts. Don’t forget to show how all these things will benefit not only you and your company but also the potential investor listening to you.
4. Use visual imagery.
Pictures are more memorable than words. Insert photos, short videos and audio files into your PowerPoint presentation. Infographics also are recommended, particularly when it comes to displaying financial projections and other operational metrics, such as return on investment and profit margin. Infographics run the gamut from patterns and graphs to drawings and sketches.
5. Tell investors how they will make money.
Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching! Never forget the sound of money, and don’t forget why an investor is listening to your pitch. Always tell a financier how he or she will make money. In financial jargon, it’s called the “exit strategy.” A well-formulated exit strategy shows investors how much cash they’ll reap throughout the life of their investments, but also the amount they’ll get when they ultimately sell their stakes in your company.