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Tips On How To Make An Effective Business Pitch

“To date I have seven startups founded: three is doing fine, three failed and one is so – so. ” says Peter Cauton, the blogger behind “Juan Great Leap who encourages Filipinos to build their own startup  or in other words – a startup company.

Ever since I have fallen in love with the words “entrepreneurship” and “location – independent lifestyle” few years ago because of some recent life –changing events I have never stopped roaming around the metro joining activities learning on how these matters work.
How to make a pitch is something that I am really looking forward to learn because as an aspiring entrepreneur – I literally need financial backup for my business to last for a long time and connections to give me opportunities.

I just don’t want to settle in selling tour packages alone, rest on blogging paid reviews, wait for the advertisements from my blog to pay me or aspire to be one of the country’s famous travel blogger. I want to create a sustainable business that is a product of innovation – meaning it solves a problem or provide an effective alternative to the majority and generates enough profit to cover my basic everyday expenses or even more.

More or less fifty aspiring entrepreneurs gathered for the Pitchcraft : How to develop a killer pitch for raising capital and  recruiting at Asian Institute of Management – Makati last May 25th in collaboration with Maoi Arroyo – founder of Hybridigm Consulting.  Let me share you what I learned below:

What is a pitch?

A pitch is the act of selling in a restricted timeframe of your OWN product or service in front of investors in exchange of financial help. In return these investors shall own a percentage of your company and is part of the decision – making process. 

Three kinds of investors
“Having an investor in your company is not an event but a relationship”

1) Angel investors – they own the money they invest
2) Venture capitalists – they represent other people who owns the money they invest
3) Bankers – they are very “segurista” that is why they ask for collateral declaration in case invested money returns nothing 

Witnessing a live pitch

The very first time that I witnessed a live pitch was during the first ever Startup Manila Weekend in 2011. There were close to 100 that pitched in front, they were given 4 minutes to talk in front. Some are witty and a few even did some simple tricks.  Most of them have brilliant ideas as evidenced by the applause of the audience whenever they hear a kick-ass pitch.  However a number of were dead boring pitches though the ideas are amazing. I even saw a local famous web designer who created a spoof of another website that attracted a lot of traffic which made him equally famous and most – sought speakers because of this.  He was mumbling in front and can’t even hear his voice. I did not even understand fully what he said. I know it is going to be another beautifully outrageous idea BUT he did not made it..

Tips Before the Pitch

1) RESEARCH about your product / service and the market it belongs. Provide quantitative information while presenting and answering the questions thrown by the panel investors. Make sure that your product / service is NOT  a prototype. It should be up and running. Tell them your sales, how much money are you spending in manufacturing, how many do you produce every day, in what aspect do you need help etc.

2) Do not eat longganiza (or any food that will make you burp always), practice your pitch everyday for the last two weeks, jog 15 minutes before you exercise pitching that way you can experiment what is the best tone of your voice you may use.

Pitch Presentation

Look very confident. Stand straight. Do not do a fig leaf poise which is your both hands are as if covering your private parts in front or put your hand(s) inside your pocket.  Tilt your head a little when a certain panelist talks to you that means your attention is 100% to that person. Prepare a 10 – slide presentation. Know what the age of the oldest in that room, then divide by two, that should be the font size.

“Good day. My name is Maria Rona Beltran. I am the founder of Travel Maria. I am seeking a         P2 million worth of stake for a 10% share of my company.”

On objections

Panel: "I have seen a lot of that kind business model you have presented."
You: "You are right but this one works so well I can show you the numbers..."

Hardly in any pitch events that there are no objection and rejection.  Instead of being scared, expect the worst so that you are prepared. Be polite, always acknowledge their opinions though it is opposite as the one you have.

"Life is a series of pitches"

"I run an online travel package shop website which has an average of 1, 000 visitors daily and with a  20% sales on weekdays and on peak season we get a 40-50% sale daily. Our mark up price is only 15-20% of the total package amount making us the cheapest if not the most affordable tour packages in the country in partnership with a dozen of accredited travel agencies. We have a very huge advantage in terms of SEO performance because 50% of our keywords on Google is in Page 1 occupying half the upper part.” 

I agree as one of the speakers, Karen said this.  You don’t just pitch in an office room. You can invite an investor to a restaurant, “ambush“ him in his usual hangout, can be in a wedding or in a wake… wherever there is an opportunity for your business to expand. Do not introduce your business as a pioneer for a certain procedure but introduce its function specifically that will make him interested. Reality is investors are more likely to invest to the one pitching if he belongs to the same industry he is in too. And yes, your first pitch will most of the time NOT be the last one you are going to deliver in front of investors.

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