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How to Create: A Winning Pitch

I worked as a project leader for Step Forward at Enactus, which aimed to prevent children in Ethiopia to develop podoconiosis, also called Mossy Foot. My team members and I worked for almost a year to establish this project, which fitted well with King’s vision to act in the service of society. My motivation to join Enactus was to use my skills for a good cause and to further develop my leadership skills.

We were convinced about our mission at Step Forward and decided to take part in the Idea Factory pitch competition at King’s Entrepreneurship Institute. 220 entrepreneurial teams applied, 20 received an invitation to pitch, 10 were invited to the House of Lords, and 3 were announced as the winners of the £6,000 prize pot granted by Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE. My team and I were honoured that Step Forward was the first announced winner. Read the story here.

I am very proud of the hard work of my team members Barbara, Emilie, Laura, Lea, Lisa, Monica, Saiqa, and Sigourney. Furthermore, I want to thank Ayat and Juan for pitching with us, Mark for holding valuable pitch and presentation workshops, Rachel and Katherine for organising the event, and the judges Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE, Professor Ute Stephan, and Yee Mun Thum for putting trust into Step Forward.

Content – The What

The following list presents the core elements investors and judges expect to see addressed during a pitch.

1. Company information

What is the logo, the name of the organisation, and the mission statement of the organisation?

2. Team

Who are the people behind the team? This element should be placed at the beginning when being a start-up and at the end when being a scale-up.

3. Problem

What problem does the organisation solve for its beneficiaries or customers?

4. Solution

How does the organisation solve the problem?

5. Market size

What is the size of the total addressable market (TAM) the organisation is competing in?

6. Product

How does the product, platform, service, or website operate? If the product is demo-able, then an animation or video should be included in this section.

7. Business model

How does the organisation make money?

8. Partnerships

Who are expert advisors? This section shows that other professionals already put trust in the organisation and believe in its feasibility.

9. Adoption strategy

What is the go to market approach in terms of marketing and sales?

10. Competition

What other organisations operate in the same business sector and how can they be compared?

11. Competitive advantages

What advantages does the team and product have that competitors cannot easily replicate?

12. Financial information

What are the financial projections for the next 3 to 5 years? If available, one should include, depending on the circumstances, the statement of financial condition, the income statement, or the statement of cash flows from the latest financial year.

13. Required investment

What is the current roadmap, how much investment is the organisation seeking, what is the current valuation, and why should investors invest right now?

Style – The How

You now know what to present. In the following section, you will learn how to deliver it. Implement the points in this style guide to deliver an impactful company presentation or pitch.

1. Precision

One should always be on point and talk as much as necessary and as little as possible.

2. Communication

Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule predicts that words, tone of voice, and body language respectively account for 7%, 38%, and 55% of personal communication. Therefore, to create a powerful and rememberable presentation, one should focus not only on the content but also on these other two elements.

3. The Pyramid Principle

When crafting arguments, one should start with one concise thought and progressively expand into details. A useful book to gain an understanding on crafting arguments is the book The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking by former McKinsey consultant Barbara Minto.

4. The Golden Circle

One certainly has heard about or read the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek and the Golden Circle. Its insights are highly applicable for developing pitches. Investors care about one’s motivation as much as every other person.

Conclusion

I observed that many entrepreneurs attend pitch events without having started their own organisation. I believe one should first build a minimum viable product (MVP) before attending a pitch event. This way, one can test assumptions and show commitment to the business idea, which often convinces potential investors more than a perfect pitch. Start your business, collect feedback, and then, if necessary, seek external capital. If you implement everything that I showed you, then you will be way ahead of your competition.

Copyright © 2020 Claudio Marseglia. All rights reserved.

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