Many of the business magnates who’ve appeared on Shark Tank offer advice on how to improve your business pitch. While most people won’t appear on the television show, many individuals will start a business. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, the 31.7 million small businesses in the US comprise 99.9 percent of US business.
Although the chances of appearing on the show remain slim, building a great pitch for your business can help you build your foundation and pick up angel investors. Let’s consider the advice offered by Shark Tank investors Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, and Mark Cuban.
They and their TV show compatriots built their businesses from the ground up. The cast consists of self-made multimillionaires and billionaire investors representing a wide array of industries.
Put in the Research
Lori Greiner says that research and real numbers to back up your assertions show you know your industry, competitors, and your product. You need to know statistics and how they connect with your product and how to bring it to market.
Prepare Your Pitch
Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran says the ability to give rock solid, perfect answers help you. You also need to come across as genuine. Knowing your topic inside and out provides this. Prepare your overall pitch and prepare for each individual you’ll pitch, too.
Research the objections to a pitch an entrepreneur previously expressed. Research how that objection could apply to your pitch and write out a response based on statistics and facts.
Practice Your Pitch
Forget just practicing in front of a mirror, you need to practice in front of other people. Your mom would be too nice. You need to practice in front of people who will provide constructive criticism and ask insightful questions that help you develop your pitch further. You should get your pitch to the point that people say it’s like watching a live infomercial.
Offer an Emotional Connection
Develop your storytelling skills in the sense that you convey the why of your business with a fact-based emotional connection. Present how your business sells, but also why people buy. Don’t get lost in the backstory though, counsels Mark Cuban.
Show Your Savvy as a Businessperson
You don’t need to just come across as a savvy and smart businessperson, you need to actually be that savvy and smart businessperson. Investors want to know how you will make them money.
Quote your business plan and show your sales history because you need the numbers to back up your sales talk. You land an investor or business partner by knowing your company and showing its worth.
Interactive, Visual Pitches Do Better
Memorize the PowerPoint and instead of slides, use your product. Just as you would show it at a tradeshow, bring its parts and its whole. Using interactivity doesn’t refer to it in the gaming or app sense but in the ability to touch and feel the product.
On Shark Tank, entrepreneurs bring product samples or prototypes and pass them around to potential investors. Combine this with visual language to create a perfect pitch. Create visual connection and ownership of the product by letting the investors touch the product.
Offer a Copy of Your Pitch Slides
Save your pitch slides to thumb drives to distribute to the investors. The few dollars these tiny drives cost can return to you many times over.
Providing a copy of the pitch lets investors look up details, contact you with questions, and re-read your pitch, catching things they might have missed during the verbal presentation.
Validate Your Product with Early Sales Numbers
Prepare your financials. Know your numbers off the top of your head. Quote your sales year-to-date, calendar year projection, and revenue projection. Investors consider sales success early in the business as a sign of product validation, meaning validation of consumer needs. Show customer reviews.
Study and Practice Successful Negotiation
On Shark Tank and in real life, landing a business deal requires superb negotiation skills and strategy. You must think on your feet, and quickly determine what investment holds value. Determine ahead of time what percent stake you’re willing to sell and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll experience seller’s remorse later.
Stay Cool and Controlled
Investors barrage entrepreneurs with questions and criticism. Taking it on the fly and handling it well shows your acumen. Remain reasonable and positive.
Only Handle the Pitch if You’re Smart and Savvy
You can have your partner make the pitch. Investors want to work with intellectuals who’re smart and understand diverse business circumstances. They’ll ask you about the business’ failures and successes.
Work to put both in a good light. If you pitch poorly, have someone else at the company handle it. Let the intellectual who thinks on their feet well handle the pitch and question and answer session.
Pitch Prep Takes Time
Obviously, even if you feel your company could viably qualify for investment capital from an angel investor or venture capitalist, you might not yet have the skills to pitch it. Prepping yourself or another partner in your business proves just as important as your business’s readiness.
According to sheer numbers, your business might qualify as the ideal investment. You need to pitch it well though. Many factors signal that you should choose another individual to pitch for you or with you. These include:
- You easily become anxious.
- You’re a poor public speaker.
- Criticism sets you off easily.
- You don’t think on your feet well.
- Problems memorizing large chunks of information mean you would need cue cards or notes.
- You negotiate poorly or have no experience in business negotiations.
- You can’t manage brevity.
The simplest workaround remains pitching with someone who has all the skills that you don’t. You handle the emotional connection of why you started the business and keep it brief. The business-savvy, numbers person with intellectual capabilities handles the statistics and fields the questions.