Business Plan Competitions

Tips for Pitching Your Business Plan

Why should I prepare a pitch?

Selling your business idea in no more than two minutes – that’s what the elevator pitch is all about (also referred to as Elevator Speech, Management Pitch or Investor Pitch). This is where founders get to the heart of the business plan in order to convince investors or business angels of their business idea. The elevator pitch also helps to quickly present your idea to the media, employees and customers. It is a technique for presenting and selling an idea convincingly within a very short time. 

Venture capital companies in particular like the elevator pitch because you can get an overview of the respective business idea within a very short time. But even for those companies that do not need VC money, it is worthwhile to prepare an elevator pitch. In the end, you not only have to sell your business idea to VC companies, but possibly also convince other capital providers such as your bank or business partners. 

The pitch, especially the elevator pitch, are not only used in the search for financing for start-ups or even existing companies, but also useful for your public relations, since you only have a short time to present your company in the media as well as in sales. Since salespeople often only have a small window of time to convince customers of the product or service, all pitch techniques are used here as well. 

And finally, preparing an elevator pitch also makes sense for yourself, as it makes you clearly aware of what the core of your business idea actually is.

Is my business plan relevant for my pitch?

Your elevator pitch does not substitute your business plan! 

A business plan deals comprehensively – on a good 30 or even more pages – with your business idea. All points relevant to the foundation and the company are worked out in detail in the business plan and brought to the point in an executive summary of a maximum of two pages. If you now shorten the executive summary further to just under two minutes – this is the raw material for an elevator pitch. Thus, it can be said that the business plan creates the basis for the elevator pitch.

What should I say in the elevator pitch?

  • Generally, you should address these core aspects in 2 minutes: 
  • Define problem (visualize the need)
  • Present the solution (satisfy the need)
  • Explain why your team is suited to implement the idea (visualize the benefits)
  • Explain your concrete offer to the investor
  • What do you need to implement? (Call to Action)

You have already created the basis for the Elevator Pitch with the executive summary of your business plan. The summary contains all the essential content elements for your pitch. Now it is a matter of digging into your executive summary, filtering it, and framing the core of the business idea in an interesting way. Be innovative, funny, entertaining, or simply different – anything but boring! You can make use of statistics to visualize the problem, ask rhetorical questions to the audience or use jokes. There is no limit to your creativity for presenting your business idea in a short and striking way. 

Top Tips for your pitch:

 1)   Make use of the AIDA formula

  • A for attention: in most cases, the first moments determine the success or failure of an elevator pitch. It is therefore most important that start-ups capture the audience’s attention right from the first second – and don’t let go.
  • I for interest: catch the interest of your audience presenting the most important facts of your executive summary.
  • D for desire: arouse desire of the investors and show them why it is attractive to join your business.
  • A for action: show the audience that you are ready to go. Show your next steps. 

2)   Be prepared!

Preparation is everything for making a good pitch. Prepare well your pitching speech and practise it as often as necessary until you can make a convincing pitch in two minutes. 

3)   Inspire the audience!

Show your passion for your own business idea and your commitment to the audience. Inspire the audience by a clear pitch presentation.

4)   No technical jargon

Keep your pitch understandable enough that people don’t need to be experts to understand it.

5)   Try out different media

It is important how you present your start-up and your business idea. Be creative using unusual media you use for the pitch presentation. Maybe an interview or dialogue is more interesting than a monologue? Maybe you can prepare a short video instead of a classical powerpoint presentation? Or be interactive using a flip chart while presenting. There are no limits to an innovative presentation. 

6)   Speak freely

You should speak freely. No one wants to hear a read-out presentation. So, prepare well and present your ideas speaking freely. 

7)   Present a strong team

If you talk to experienced investors, for many the founding team is even more important than the actual business idea. Even the best idea is no good if the team is not able to implement it successfully. Therefore, be sure to plan a slot in the elevator pitch for the short introduction of the team, in which it is explained why these people in particular are the right ones for the respective position in the company.

8)   Tell a story

Besides hearing facts and figures, investors want to hear an exciting story that promises future growth and arouses emotions. Your story should include your business model, as well as a good presentation of your company itself and your team. Your story should run through the entire pitch like a red thread, e.g. starting with an exciting question or a problem that is solved during the pitch.

9)   Keep it short

Make your pitch as short as possible and as long as necessary. Delete filler words and rhetorical questions and use short, simple sentences. 

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