Starting a new business is an exciting venture, and we are thrilled to share some advice on how to pitch a business idea. Let’s dive in!
First things first, tell a story that resonates. Think about the problem your business is solving and weave that into a narrative. Make it relatable ― remember Airbnb? Those guys started by renting out air mattresses in their living room. It’s not just about a business; it’s about solving a real-life problem. So, kick off your pitch with a story that captures attention and connects on a human level.
Now, let’s sprinkle in some humour. People love to laugh, and injecting humour into your pitch can make it memorable. Take a page from Dollar Shave Club’s playbook. Their founder, Michael Dubin, nailed it with a funny yet straightforward pitch video. Find moments where a well-timed joke can break the ice or emphasise a point. It’s all about creating an enjoyable experience for your audience.
Moving on, highlight what makes your idea stand out. Use real-world examples to drive this home. Remember those Apple product launches? They didn’t just unveil a new gadget; they showcased a game-changer. So, demonstrate the uniqueness of your business proposition and how it’s going to revolutionise things. Make your pitch unforgettable by showing the transformative potential of your idea.
But it’s not all storytelling and laughs; let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Lay out a solid business model and market analysis. Be prepared to dive into the details. Investors appreciate thoroughness. Address potential challenges head-on and showcase your strategic thinking. Transparency is key.
So, in a nutshell, make it a story worth telling, add a dash of humour to keep it lively, and back it up with a robust business plan. You’ve got this! Now, tell me more about your business, and let’s fine-tune that pitch together.”
How to Pitch a Business Idea: Let’s Dive a Little Deeper
In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, one skill stands out as a make-or-break factor – the art of pitching a business idea. Whether you’re seeking investors, partners, or customers, a compelling pitch can be the gateway to success. In this guide, we’ll explore the key elements of crafting a captivating pitch that leaves a lasting impression.
- Craft a Compelling Narrative: Unveil the Story Behind Your Business ― Begin your pitch by unfolding a narrative that engages and resonates. Take inspiration from the journey of Warby Parker, the eyewear company that started with a compelling narrative. Their founders, inspired by the exorbitant cost of eyeglasses, set out to provide affordable, stylish options. Your story should evoke emotion and showcase the authentic drive behind your business.
- Infuse Humour to Lighten the Atmosphere ― Humour is a secret weapon that can turn a good pitch into a memorable one. Look at the TED Talk by Sir Richard Branson, the maverick entrepreneur behind Virgin Group. His ability to infuse humour into serious topics not only entertained the audience but also conveyed a sense of approachability. Find moments in your pitch to add a touch of wit, making it enjoyable and leaving a lasting impression.
- Highlight Uniqueness with Exemplary Cases ― Make your business stand out by showcasing its unique qualities. Consider the success of Slack, the communication platform that revolutionised team collaboration. By emphasising user-friendly design and integrations, Slack demonstrated how it differed from traditional communication tools. Incorporate real-world examples that underline what sets your business apart and why it’s a game-changer.
- Establish a Solid Business Model: Learning from the Giants ― Dive into the intricacies of your business model, drawing inspiration from industry giants like Amazon. Amazon’s success lies not just in its product range but in its robust e-commerce ecosystem and customer-centric approach. Lay out the specifics of how your business operates, your revenue streams, and the market analysis supporting your strategy. This detailed approach builds investor confidence.
- Refine for Maximum Impact: The Iterative Process ― Perfecting your pitch is an ongoing process. Take a cue from the iterative approach of Google. Google didn’t start with the polished search engine we know today; it evolved through continuous refinement. Seek feedback, make adjustments, and practice until your pitch flows seamlessly. Your goal is to create an experience that not only informs but captivates your audience, leaving a lasting impact.
In conclusion, learn from the successes of Warby Parker, Richard Branson, Slack, Amazon, and Google. Craft a narrative, infuse humour, highlight uniqueness, establish a robust business model, and refine continuously. By incorporating these elements, your pitch will not only capture attention but also stand out in the competitive world of business. Now, go out there and pitch with confidence and charisma!
Business Planning Steps: Understanding the Challenge
The customer’s inquiry echoes the sentiments of countless aspiring entrepreneurs grappling with the challenge of staying positive in the face of alarming business failure rates. This section unravels the complexities of this challenge and underscores the indispensable role of meticulous business planning in transforming uncertainties into opportunities.
The customer’s question reflects a common concern among aspiring entrepreneurs: how to stay positive when confronted with the high failure rate of new businesses. This challenge underscores the need for meticulous business planning. Instead of succumbing to uncertainties, let’s explore how a robust business plan can serve as a shield against potential pitfalls.
Avoid relying on random opinions and limiting beliefs from well-meaning friends. Discover how a structured business plan provides a solid foundation based on your skills, abilities, and a realistic understanding of the business landscape. Go beyond identifying the problem; delve deeper to understand its intricacies. Explore how a detailed problem analysis sets the stage for a robust business plan.
Who are the potential customers? Where are they located? Understand the demographics and psychographics to tailor your solution effectively. These are just some of the questions to ask.
Steps in Business Planning: The 20 Essential Questions
No matter your business or industry, a good business plan should address these fundamental questions:
- Who are you?
- Why are you in business?
- What is the opportunity/need/current situation in the world?
- How big is the market?
- What will you sell?
- How is your business structured?
- How will you make money?
- Who else is doing the same thing?
- How do you compare?
- Who are your most important customers?
- How will you reach and inspire them to buy from you?
- Do you have any strategic partners who will help?
- Who are the people running your business?
- What experience do you/they have?
- Who else are you working with?
- Who are your advisors?
- Where are you today? What traction do you have? What have you accomplished?
- How much money do you need to start/grow?
- What will you do with the money?
- What kind of deal can you offer investors? When and how will investors make their money back?
In conclusion, mastering the steps in business planning is the key to navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship. Addressing the 20 essential questions ensures that your business is built on a solid foundation, increasing the chances of success. By understanding the landscape, debunking limiting beliefs, and embracing the power of a well-structured business plan, you can beat the odds and embark on a journey towards a thriving business.
How to Pitch a Business Idea ― One of the most important questions for entrepreneurs.
People often use JTB Consulting: “How many slides should my startup pitch deck have?”
Or they’re sticking to a template that forces them into something that doesn’t work. So is there one “right” way to do a startup pitch deck? I think so! But if everyone uses the same method, won’t they all look the same? The answer is a resounding no! Buildings are built with the same idea — a foundation, frame, walls, windows, paint, etc. But each building has its unique characteristics. Without a proper structure, however, your building might collapse. So too, your startup pitch deck!
How to Pitch a Business Idea Tip #1: With a Startup Pitch Deck, it’s All About The Story
So what is that elusive structure? It all comes back to our Neanderthal brain craving the structure of a story. People often are confused by the term “Story” — they think it’s just about standing around telling anecdotes, inserting a meaningless joke or “dumbing down” serious materials to the level of stupid or silly. On the contrary:
- Stories are thousands of years old; they’re the reason information has survived from generation
- We learn through stories
- Stories inspire, captivate, resonate and influence! Aren’t those the things you want when pitching for fundraising or sales?
- And most important, our brains are hardwired for a structured story. And stories have a VERY specific structure — look at Shakespeare, Dickens, and even the Bible — the stories all go the same way…
How to Pitch a Business Idea Tip #2: The Magical Structure of Your (Startup Pitch Deck) Story
Here is a high-level outline of the slides of a startup pitch deck as they correspond to the story format:
- The Need = The problem, the “villain” of the story
- The solution = The “hero” of the story will solve the problem and slay the villain.
- The Business Plan = What will happen after the hero takes action?
- Moving Forward = The aftermath, hoping that the hero is triumphant!
How to Pitch a Business Idea ― Our Free 16-Point Startup Pitch Deck “Cheat Sheet”
Now I’ll go through it slide by slide and explain each one:
- Company Name and Logo Title Slide: One Line about what it is you do — go for the big vision statement, not WHAT you do, but WHY you do! Hit them in the gut with this!
- Problem Statement Slide: Here’s the place to describe the gap/problem/challenge that needs solving. This is best told in a story — your own, a friend or family member, something from the news or even a made-up story to illustrate it. Back up the story with statistics showing this is an issue worth lots of money and hint that current solutions aren’t cutting it.
- Solution Slide: How are you solving this? Create a simple solution sentence: We’re doing X (solving a problem) for Y (for a specific audience) by Z (in a nutshell, what are you? A Platform, App, solution, tool, etc.) and as a bonus, the secret sauce that is enabling you to do it. This should be so simple that anyone could understand it, even if they don’t have a computer science or engineering degree.
- Demo Slide: Create a 1 to 2-minute demo showing off your solution — it could be a short film, screenshots, a ScreenFlow or even a mock-up. Guide them through a first-time user experience and highlight 4 to 5 of the standout features. Make them go WOW, but don’t overwhelm them with details.
- Benefits Slide: Highlight the important benefits to your users (if this has already come across in the demo, don’t repeat); keep it at 6 to 8, no more. You might have two types of users, i.e., Businesses and Customers or Publishers and Brands — you can list benefits for each.
- Startup Traction Slide: What are the major milestones you’ve hit in funding, product, users, downloads, revenue, growth, endorsements, partnerships, etc. since you launched or launched beta? If you haven’t launched yet, where are you at? The later stage you are, the more metrics you need to show.
- Market Analysis Slide: The numbers of the TAM (Total Addressable Market), SAM (Segmented Addressable Market), and SOM (Share of Market) so they get an idea of the size. Put the value of the markets as well — what was the spending on similar solutions last year? You can go top-down or bottom-up — the most important thing to show is that you have a huge potential market!
- Trends and Opportunities Slide: This slide is a silver bullet! It’s the “Why us, why now?” This slide is the place to really show movement in trends and opportunities — have there been major fundings or acquisitions among your competitors? Did an industry leader or a research firm like PwC, Deloitte, Gartner, etc., say that a solution like yours is missing? Are there market trends among your users showing a shift in behaviour? Was there a change in law or regulations mandating people or companies to find a solution like yours?
- Business Model Slide: What is your main revenue model (subscription, ads, affiliate, rev share, etc.)? What are some additional revenue streams?
- Go-to-Market Strategies Slide: What strategies will help you penetrate the market and gain users? Remember, you might not have money at the beginning for things like a sales team, so look at different phases — likely, you will start with strategic partnerships, distribution channels or content marketing or social campaigns before that.
- Competitive Landscape Slide: Detail your top 4 to 6 competitors and include a short SWOT for each. What do they do differently? What are they doing that you will do better/different? What makes you unique when compared to them?
- Team Slide: Who are your Executive team members? Pics, titles and a few important facts about them. You can add logos of outstanding organisations they’ve worked for, been affiliated with or studied at. If you have an Advisory Board, add them too — it might need a separate slide.
- Roadmap Slide: What are your major milestones to be hit (product, marketing, revenues) with the time this funding round will last for — 12/18/24 months? Trying to put in past financial projections is not entirely necessary — you can have a financial model, P&L, and projections slide in your back pocket that you could send out as needed.
- Future Directions Slide: Any exciting additional features or products in the pipeline that you intend to work on later? Maybe this is just the first step in a much bigger vision!
- Funding Requirements Slide: Seeking RX million for — List the main allocations such as R&D, Sales and Marketing, Team Expansion, etc. Round Objective — This will take us to X months, X # of users/revenue/downloads, etc., to break even/be cash flow positive — wherever you will be when you are ready for the next round.
- Key Investment Merits Slide: Sort of a summary of what you’ve already said — the 5 to 6 bullets highlighting the most exciting things about your startup that make you an attractive funding opportunity.
Ready to Design your Startup Pitch Deck? Here’s an example of a Past Client’s Startup Pitch Deck we Designed that Successfully Secured Funding.
How to Pitch a Business Idea Tip #3: Does Size Matter in your Startup Pitch Deck?
There is no magic number for slides! As long as they are simple, communicate one big idea and aren’t loaded with text, they will not count the slides as you go through. So if you need to spread some of the data onto more than one slide, don’t sweat it — I’d rather see you have simpler, clearer slides than fewer slides that look like eye charts!
In case you missed our previous advisory articles on How to Pitch a Business Idea:
Steps in Business Planning: Business Planning for Startups
Business Planning for Startups is unavoidable when you want to pursue your dreams of running your own business. But planning is boring and cumbersome. You won’t get very far without effortful planning to execute your business idea.
How to Pitch a Business Idea — Business Planning for Startups 101
Business Planning is creating a document outlining your company’s objectives and strategies for achieving them. A solid business plan can strengthen your company, put you on a path to growth and help you attract investors if you decide to raise capital one day. This blog post will cover some of the essential things every startup should remember while writing a business plan.
How to Pitch a Business Idea — Why is Business Planning for Startup so Important?
The startup process requires a significant investment in time, money and people. Solid business planning will help you identify the right opportunities and manage your resources effectively. Before writing your business plan, ensure you understand the value of business planning. A business plan is a roadmap that helps you navigate the journey from startup to scale.
It can help you make more informed decisions and set the right expectations for your team and investors. By creating a clear vision for your company and outlining your strategies for achieving it, you’ll have a central place to keep track of your progress and pivot if needed. The process of business planning for startups will also help you set the right expectations for investors, partners and your team. Finally, a good business plan will be a reliable source of information about your company’s objectives and strategies for achieving them.
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #1: The hardest part of Business Planning is coming up with the Idea
The most important step in startup business planning is coming up with the right Idea. Finding the right business idea can be overwhelming with so many options available. Aim to find an idea that is valuable to customers provides a solution to a problem, and has a healthy profit margin. There are many ways to generate ideas: Brainstorming with your team, asking for ideas on social media or talking to people in your network. When you have a few ideas, evaluate each to find their strengths and weaknesses. Then, aim to find an idea that solves a problem, is scalable and has a healthy profit margin.
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #2: Know your Audience
Audience and market segmentation strategy – every business plan should start with an overview of the target market that you want to serve. You should also identify the different segments of your market and their needs. This will help you understand your audience better and design your business accordingly. Every product and service is designed to meet a certain need. Identifying your customers’ needs will help you create an effective marketing strategy.
To learn more about your customers, look at the demographics of your existing customers to see what they have in common. You can also do a survey or focus group or use data from your website to better understand your customers. Every business has competition, whether it’s offline or online. Understanding your competition is important since it helps you learn about the industry, your customers and their needs.
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #3: Create a Clear Vision for Your Company
A clear vision for your company will help you focus your efforts as you build your business. It will also help you guide your team and make decisions in the future. Your vision should contain a few short paragraphs describing your company’s core values and mission. In addition, your vision should answer the questions, “Why are you starting a business?” and “What do you want to achieve?” Finally, ensure that your vision statement is short and easy to remember. Keeping your vision close to your heart will help you stay motivated during the challenging moments of entrepreneurship.
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #4: Estimate the Resources You’ll Need
One of the key sections in the business planning for startups process is capital requirements, or how much money you need to start your business. Startups require significant funding for research and development, marketing and operations. So before you write your business plan, estimate how much money you’ll need to start.
Your initial capital requirements include the cost of setting up your office, hiring your first employees and purchasing equipment. It would help if you also kept in mind that as your business grows, you’ll need funding for R&D, marketing, operations and expansion. Remember that you won’t have access to all this money immediately. It’s a good idea to budget for the time when you’ll need to invest in these areas.
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #5: Define Your Target Audience and Competitors
An essential part of startup business planning is understanding your target audience and competitors, which is important in creating a detailed marketing strategy. Knowing your target audience will help you create better content and choose the right distribution channels and strategies for the best marketing channels. For example, if your target audience is millennials, you’ll want to create content that appeals to their interests and keeps them engaged. In addition, understanding your competitors will help you understand the challenges and opportunities you face.
It will also help you decide on the differentiation strategy for your product or service. For example, if your competitors have a similar product to yours, you have the opportunity to create a differentiating strategy. Finally, in-depth market research will help you understand your customer’s needs and identify how you can provide a better solution.
You can conduct market research by talking to your customers, employees, potential customers or any other person you want to reach out to. You can also conduct market research by reading articles about your industry, attending conferences and networking with industry experts. Make sure you choose the best target market for your product or service, and you have identified their needs and how your product or service can solve them.
The process of business planning for startups means you should conduct market research to determine who your competitors are and how they win customers. You can also read articles about your industry to learn from experts and identify your competitors’ challenges.
Elevate your startup to new heights with JTB Consulting 👇
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #6: Create a Marketing Strategy
A marketing strategy is a detailed plan of how you’ll promote your product or service and reach your customers. Before you write your marketing strategy, you should know your product or service, your target audience, and how you’ll reach them. A good marketing strategy includes various channels, from paid advertising to partnerships.
Choose a marketing strategy consistent with your company’s values, brand and vision. You can also consider what marketing channels will bring you the most customers; this is where you need to be strategic. No one marketing strategy works for everyone. Each product or service has its own set of customers; therefore, your marketing strategy should be flexible enough to meet the needs of your audience.
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #7: Write a Roadmap for the Next 6 Months
Every business plan should include a 6-month roadmap that outlines the milestones needed to achieve your immediate short-term objectives. You can use your roadmap to measure your progress and make mid-course corrections as needed. In addition, your roadmap should highlight the goals you set for your company, such as gaining customers, increasing sales and expanding operations. A good roadmap will guide you through the challenges of entrepreneurship, help you meet your company’s goals and measure your performance. It will also help you identify the next steps you need to take to achieve your milestones. But don’t want to go at it alone? Need some help with your Business Plan?
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #8: Identify your key Risk Factors and Assumptions
Every business plan will have some risk factors that can threaten your company’s success. Identifying the key risk factors and assumptions is important to help you manage the risks. For example, you may assume that your product is ready for launch and won’t need any enhancements. However, if the market expects enhancements, you’ll need to address this assumption and make the appropriate changes. Therefore, an important part of business planning is identifying your company’s risk factors and assumptions. This will help you manage the threats to your company’s success and find ways to mitigate them.
JTB Consulting has been South Africa’s Leading Business Plan Company of Choice since 2006.
Steps in Business Planning — Must-Do #9: Estimate your Costs and decide on an Exit Strategy
An important section of a business plan is the cost section. It would help if you decided on an exit strategy by estimating your costs and identifying the revenue you expect from your business. If your revenue is higher than your costs, you’ll be able to break even. The best exit strategy for a startup is unique to the company and the owner. The exit strategy you choose should reflect your values since the company you leave behind (or don’t if you liquidate) is part of your professional legacy.
So ask yourself, what’s most important to you?
- Is it the pride of a big-ticket third-party offer to purchase?
- Is it seeing your family members at the helm?
- Is it leaving a healthy business that continues to provide jobs and contributes to the financial stability of your community?
There’s no one right answer, but it’s important to face these questions honestly to choose the best exit strategy for your startup or small business. And when you’ve had time to reflect, you can compare options based on how well they fit your answers.