Every interaction in the formative stages of your business is all about how well you can pitch your idea. Whether it’s to your 90‐year-old Grandma or to a seasoned investor from a reputable VC firm – getting what you need to grow your business is crucially dependent on your ability to pitch your idea in a clear and meaningful way.
Since starting Shippit.com in 2014, co-‐founders Rob Hango-Zada and Will On say that their ability to pitch has been really important in turning the business into the fast-‐growing shipping platform it is today. “Basically, you need to make sure you avoid boring the hell out of people. You need to remember your obsession is more than likely not going to be shared by everyone – logistics isn’t the sexiest topic to talk about at dinner parties,” says Rob.
From winning the support of family and friends, right the way through to staff, customers, suppliers and investors – the pair have refined their pitch for Shippit.com into a winning formula.
The pair have pitched at Tech 23, Innovation Bay and, more recently were awarded Top Prize at the SydStart pitching competition last week. In addition to pitching competitions, the pair have also secured investment from the NSW Government and some high profile investors.
Rob believes that pitching competitions help you strengthen your purpose, “pitching at SydStart was a challenge, when you’ve got 2-3 minutes to shine – you need to be really clear about what you do and why you do it.”
So what’s in a winning pitch? Here are some tips from the founders:
- Solve a meaningful Being clear on our problem has been fundamental to getting the “head nods” nice and early. Lots of startups we have competed with struggled to get their problem across clearly and quickly. If you spend more than 30 seconds trying to explain the problem you’re solving, you need to re-‐focus your pitch. Other factors that impact your ability to get “head nods” are how relatable the problem is and therefore, scalable.
- Showcase your winning The next challenge is making your idea simple to communicate – you need to tell people what you do, how you do it and why it’s a good thing. Rather than using complex models and lots of words, use your actual features to do the talking for you – don’t get bogged down in over-‐explaining the “how it works” bit – it will slow you down and just like dating, a bit of mystery goes a long way to getting the second meeting.
- Traction speaks a thousand words. Things are often better said by other people, this breeds credibility and Actual testimonials, number of users, actual data points around the problem you are solving all demonstrate that your idea has potential and can turn into a meaningful business with investment.
- Avoid using “The Uber ..” Describing your business by using the names of other startups doesn’t signify originality. In fact, it actually distracts your audience from understanding what it is that you do and shows them how far away your business actually is from getting that type of visibility! It also signifies that you haven’t worked hard enough to uniquely position your business to win.
- The team – Plain and simple, the team is crucial to unlocking We have been lucky enough to attract an all star team at Shippit.com and that gives investors confidence that we can deliver on our ambition. Show your audience their faces and tell them why you chose them to be a part of your team.
- It’s all about Mind the pun, but your entire pitch can fall on deaf ears if you don’t deliver it with panache. Nobody is going to get excited about logistics unless we make it fun and relatablem, so bring your energy when pitching. Finally, technical stuff ups are inevitable, prepare for any type of set up and reduce your risk factor – video and live demos are synonymous with “this never happens” moments.