5 things you must do in your 30 second pitch, and how to learn them

If you are starting a business, you’re going to tell people about it. That’s how you get it rolling. But what do you say? If you’re stuck in an elevator with someone you know is an investor in your market sector, and he or she asks you “So, what do you do?” you had better be ready. Always.

Here are five things you must do in your 30-second “elevator” pitch.

  1. Say your name and your company’s name. And say it clearly. Once you’re off that elevator, how else will the investor remember you? Most startups these days have names that combine other words and spell it wrong, like mine: deductmor. Make sure you say the name of your company clearly.
  2. Say who your customer is. Your customer is the entity that pays you money, as opposed to a user or the channel.
  3. Say the problem you’re solving. Notice I did not say “describe” the problem. You’ve got 30 seconds at the most. Say the problem. You can describe it in the 6 minute pitch in the investor’s office once you have their attention on your startup.
  4. Say how you solve the problem. Again, don’t tell in intimate detail what technology stack you utilize to solve the problem. Just say how you solve it at a very high level.
  5. Practice your pitch, but practice doing it perfectly. If you practice a golf swing like Charles Barkley’s over and over, you’ll end up with the ultimate imitation of the worst golf swing in history. Practice doing it perfectly.

So how do you learn how to pitch well? Get help.  I attended the 2nd session of Pitch Gauntlet this morning at ATDC.  I nailed my 30-second pitch, but my 3 minute pitch still needed some work, mainly on my slide deck.

Oh, and here’s a bonus: maintain two (2) pitch slide decks. The first is the one that YOU deliver in person. This one is just pictures that tell thousands of words, but are silent unless you, the storyteller, are telling the story.  If you send that deck out via email, it should be complete gibberish to anyone who tries to walk through it.

The second deck is the one you send out via email. It has lots of words, because you are not there to tell the story.  Both decks should mean the same thing, but do not ever try to deliver your wordy pitch deck in person. You’ll put the audience to sleep and they will never hear what you said.

What else would you give the aspiring entrepreneur to help them improve their pitch?

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