Pitch Camp Thurs 11 – 1 at General Assembly

Image courtesy of General Assembly

This Thursday, as part of General Assembly’s Launch Week in Ponce City Market, I’ll be leading Pitch Camp from 11am – 1pm. I’m looking forward to leading this session, because to most people, having a structure to a pitch is a new concept. Sometimes, pitching is a new concept, so it’s great to have a framework, some boundaries, and a structure in which to build a world-class pitch.

As I’ve told several people who inquired about this session, we’ll be extending the first 2 minutes of Pitch Practice into about 2 hours. We base everything in Pitch Practice on the Lean Startup Methodology, which, when boiled down, states that every business exists to solve a market problem. Everybody has ideas, but ideas are not businesses, and rarely does “a great idea” solve a problem for someone else.

So, when we pitch, we focus on the problem. And that problem should be something that we’ve experienced in our business career, meaning that we have deep domain expertise. A great example that I have seen very recently is one of the startups that has made it to the Elite 8 of the TAG Business Launch Competition. The founders of Synapse Software have lived in the airline maintenance business for years and years. That’s how they discovered the problem, and that’s how they came up with the solution. They lived it for over a decade.

Once we can tell a sharp, clear story about the problem, we put some boundaries around it, meaning we make the pitch in 30 seconds, 3 minutes, or 5 minutes. We start at 30 seconds, because that’s the pitch you’ll use most often as you attend networking events and meet investors who all want to know “what do you do?” You need to have a snappy, no nonsense answer. We’ll help you create that answer.

And, we start with 30 seconds because it’s much easier to build out from the core than to cut minutes off of a long pitch to get down to just the elevator pitch. We build out to 3 minutes to share our solution and business model, and then we continue building out to 5 minutes to introduce our team and explain to investors what we’ll be doing with their money.

And our whole approach here starts with the problem. It starts with the reason you’re creating a business. It starts with why.

I really enjoy changing people’s perspective on a pitch, and then seeing and hearing them knock it out of the park with practice and honest feedback. I hope you’ll join me for lunch at Ponce City Market as we help General Assembly launch their new location in Atlanta.

What do you think?