This past Sunday, I was invited to be a guest on Atlanta TechEdge on Atlanta’s local NBC affiliate 11Alive. I’ve been on Atlanta TechEdge before, but as part of a panel. This time, the interview was specifically about Pitch Practice and the new book, “Practice Your Pitch.” I am always in awe of video and audio production professionals, and this visit to the 11Alive studios was no exception. They have the very coolest toys, and they make everything so easy for novices like me. Here’s the full segment with host Cara Kneer, followed by a summary of what we talked about. Thanks, Cara and team, for making this segment fun and easy.
How Pitch Practice Started
My first startup in 1999 was totally bootstrapped. We never raised money, so when I started Deductmor, I had no idea how to “pitch” to anyone, much less an investor. I started Pitch Practice to solve a problem of my own. That’s how many startups are created today: someone creates a solution to their own problem, then realizes that a lot of people face that same problem everyday.
Tell your startup story in your blog
Every startup should have a blog, and should blog constantly. Great example here in Atlanta is SalesLoft, who has been publishing tons of great content for years. You don’t have to look very far to find a lot of highly respected Silicon Valley startup veterans who make it clear that blogging is the foundation of spreading your story.
Get a Mentor
I didn’t have a mentor, nor did I even seek one until CWNP nearly disappeared in 2009. Much, if not all, of that pain and suffering could have been avoided if I had a mentor to talk through some of our more asinine decisions that led to my desperation for a mentor in 2009.
Stand Out Pitches
Brief, bold, focused on a real problem, and empathetic to their audience. That means the focus of the pitch is on the problem from the point of view of those who are experiencing the problem. Your pitch is not about you. It’s about someone else’s pain, then how and why you can solve it.
Idea vs. Execution
Someone has already stolen your idea. You just don’t know about it. Your idea is not new, but your execution of solving the problem is new and unique. Look at Uber, Lyft, and the dozens of other ride sharing services. All of them are “the same idea” executed differently because the founders each had different visions of how it should be solved.
Two Pitch Examples
TenRocket founder Chris Turner graduated from The Iron Yard code school on a Friday morning. He went to StartupChowdown, then came to Pitch Practice. He pitched his new company, TenRocket: “We’ll build your MVP in 10 days for $10k.” He got his first customer that day.
Qoins, formerly known as “Consolidebt” when Christian Zimmerman pitched it for the first time. Christian was a marketing coordinator for HireWire at the time. His first pitch was not sweet. He came back the next week with Qoins, and now he and Nate have thousands of paying customers.
I wrote Practice Your Pitch as one more way to spread the word about startup pitches. We can only cram so many people into the Pitch Practice boardroom at ATV. Now with the book, anyone can get the lessons we’ve learned over 4 years and 2,500 startup pitches. We’re constantly seeking other ways to share the love from Friday afternoons, including radio, podcasts, video, etc. It’s tough to capture all the wisdom that people have and share. The book is just a small start.