How to Pitch a Business Idea

By Sandhya Hegde|11th Sep 2011
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Sandhya Hegde

A simple idea captures the imagination. It’s clear, compelling and memorable. Google == Search. Naukri == Jobsite.Easier said than done, right? Many aspiring entrepreneurs need a good 10 minutes to get around to explaining their business ideas. Many CEOs need more to pitch an idea to a prospective client. But if your audience is wondering what the point is 2 minutes into your pitch, the plot, and the opportunity are more likely to be lost.

Whether you are thinking of starting up or preparing to pitch to investors or taking your company public or just sharing a new idea with a client or your boss, what you need is a 5-slide pitch using these 5 thumb rules.

SLIDE 1. Crystallize the idea in less than 10 words

  • Define it from outside not inside. What does it do for your users? for your paying clients? Stay focused
  • Integrate the key value proposition in the business description. E.g. low-cost, web-based or plug-and-play

Bad: We are building a website that will capture and organize carbon footprint information on energy-saving building designs for architectural firms which they can access and integrate into their templates

Good: Web-based Green Design tools for Architects

SLIDE 2. Spin your Team

  • Customers and Investors bank more on the team than the idea in early stage. So pitch yourselves as hard as your pitch the idea
  • Present the right set of people bringing together the right set of qualities that will help your business scale

SLIDE 3. Quantify your Market - Large is not a Number

  • You are sure the market is large enough overall but estimate a SAM (Segmented Addressable Market)
  • This is the universe of customers you will actually be able to target in a 3 year timeframe

Bad: There are thousands of hospitals in India and a lack of good hospital management systems

Good: We will target hospitals in top 8 metros/cities ~1200 today, at an average spend of Rs 30L/yr/hospital gives us a SAM opportunity of Rs 360 crs

SLIDE 4. Show them Where you Fit

  • If alternate/similar solutions are available today as your business, compare yourself with them from a technology/process/cost/scale standpoint. This will help your audience visualize how you differentiate
  • If you are unique, show them what makes you so using simple pictures and charts

SLIDE 5. Share the Big Vision

  • Where do you want to be in a few years? Set yourself some targets and share that vision
  • Share how big your team will be, how many customers you will have and who they will be, what geographies you want to be present in (and what car you want to buy!)
  • Especially if you’re pitching to potential investors, help them visualise what success looks like

Done? You are now ready for the 30 second elevator test - Can you get someone interested in your idea with a half minute pitch? Try it and let me know what you think!! If you want help or feedback honing your presentations, write to me at sandhya@yourstory.in and on Twitter - @Evenwing

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