Watch: Sometimes Your Idea Is More Important Than How You Pitch It
On the new streaming show Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch, founders step into the Entrepreneur Elevator and have just 60 seconds to present their idea, product or business to a panel of investors. Whether an entrepreneur gets invited into the boardroom or sent back to the ground floor depends on what our experts think in that first minute. Here, we break down the lessons aspiring business owners can take away from each episode's pitches.
In the third episode of Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch, investors heard about a medical device, a social media solution, a tech gadget for young adults and more. But, most important in each of these episodes are the lessons business leaders can learn as they prepare to present their businesses to investors and potential customers.
Nervousness doesn't matter if your idea is compelling.
Amy Beckley is owner and CEO of MFB Fertility, a medical device company designed to help women conceive. Although she was noticeably nervous while delivering her elevator pitch, she conveyed her message with passion, which helped the panel see the value in her product. Her pitch specifically connected with investor Kim Green-Kerr, who has friends dealing with fertility issues. This made her feel connected to the product. It didn't matter that the pitch wasn't perfect.
This is a good reminder that despite all the hard work you may put into developing and honing a pitch, making a connection with an investor usually comes down to the product itself. No founder can predict if one person in a pitch meeting will feel a direct connection to her product. All you can do is build products you believe in and let that passion show when you pitch.
Stay professional and take criticism well.
Social media is still just as hot an industry as it has been for years, so entrepreneurs face a great deal of competition when trying to launch a business in the space. Sean Tasdemir, founder of social media discovery app Turnoutt, initially won the panel's curiosity by mentioning his patents. However, once in the boardroom, investors more or less quickly determined that his idea for a real-world social network just hadn't been tested enough yet.
Tasdemir didn't want to give up the fight, and very professionally explained to investors more about his app, staying assertive but not overly aggressive. Unfortunately, they had to turn him down because the app just hadn't seen enough use yet to actually deserve the investment Tasdemir sought. He did, however, maintain an open attitude and was very thankful to the investors for revealing to him that he wasn't quite ready yet for investment. His professionalism let him take a step back and not let ego get in the way too much. Now he's looking to adjust his concept in response. Take this same constructive attitude into any pitch meeting you enter.
Be realistic with your ask.
Unlike an entrepreneur earlier in the episode who never made it out of the elevator, Brittany Evans, founder of Sparkbudz, wowed investors with her realistic ask. If an entrepreneur gets too greedy, investors often won't even entertain that person's pitch. Evans asked for $35,000 for 15 percent equity for her product, ear buds geared to a youthful demographic.
Not only did Evans issue a reasonable investment request, her bubbly personality intrigued the investors, who wanted to hear more. She demonstrated a clear understanding of her target audience and described the market research she'd already conducted. The initial investment she was requesting was to develop the product, with plans to raise more funding once ready to begin manufacturing.
By making a reasonable request and fully understanding her product, Evans was able to secure the investment she was requesting. Investors realized they weren't investing so much in the product, but in the smart, pragmatic, easy-going young person who had shown up in their boardroom. Personality made all the difference for the investors, who saw tons of potential in someone they could mentor.
Pitching to investors can be one of the most daunting aspects of starting a new business. However, Elevator Pitch illustrates that with the right preparation, an entrepreneur can win over a team of investors in a matter of minutes. Even the most nervous entrepreneur can excel if he or she has passion, professionalism , and a thoroughly developed plan.