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Pitch Perfect: Start By Explaining How You're Solving A Very Specific Problem For Your Customers The best way to start your pitch –or for that matter, to even begin building your startup– is to make sure you're solving "a very specific problem".

By Megha Merani

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The best way to start your pitch –or for that matter, to even begin building your startup– is to make sure you're solving "a very specific problem".

That's the advice of Smartpreneur Competition 4.0 finalist Nadim Habr.

"You're not just pitching to a customer what you think your solution is, but [how] you are actually solving their problems," the founder and CEO of Designhubz, a Techstars-backed company that enables brands and retailers to sell their products in 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) on their websites and apps, told founders at a webinar organized by Dubai Startup Hub.

"[So] you really need to put yourself into their shoes and look at your solution from their [perspective]. What is the most important thing for them? Is it [about] how you are going to increase their sales? Increase their conversions? Decrease their cost? Really look at what you are supporting that is important for them and frame your frame your pitch to suit their needs."

Designhubz' Robotic Rigs enable instant digitization of physical inventories and its XR Commerce Platform allows selling the products in full 3D and web-based AR to enable immersive try before you buy online shopping experiences.

But even when you have an innovative solution, Habr said, "it's not that easy to to sell it".

"Be humble," he advised. "And negotiate on pricing… especially for your early adopters, give them a discount, but don't give up your solution for free. I'm against giving it for free. Give them [customers] a trial period, but charge for your solution."

But setting a price is one of his biggest challenges.

"To be honest, we change our pricing more than 15 times [so far]," he said. "I think we are going to still change it. There is no one correct answer for pricing. Of course, there's the competitive analysis pricing. But here's another type of pricing for your solution, especially when you're offering an innovative solution, that is value-based pricing. And that is really looking at your customers and seeing how much value you are going to add and then charge based on that. You're not going to get it right the first five times."

It's also important to make sure the problem you're solving is "a big enough problem and that a lot of people want a solution to," Habr said. "This is how you know that you're really building something that you will be able to scale up and having a meaningful company."

This can take multiple iterations, Habr added. "We really iterated as many as as more as many as like five times before reaching our stage and before making sure that we are really solving a big enough problem."

Tap into your referrals

But getting that foot in the door is really not easy at all, Habr warned.

"It might might take up to a year just to be able to do a demo for one of the big companies," he said. "So really, you need to hustle your way through, and follow up, follow up, follow up."

While it may seem obvious, Habr advises founders to make sure to tap into their networks for referrals.

"Use referrals as much as you can to get introductions, and then you will have to hustle your way through," he said. "Don't be afraid to ask. You will be amazed by how many people are willing to help you."

Habr added that Designhubz also took part in events like GITEX and STEP Conference to grow their network. But the more useful pathway, he said was becoming part of accelerator programs like Techstars that helped connect him with potential customers and investors both regionally and globally.

Meanwhile, Habr said participating in the Dubai Smartprenur Competition and becoming part of the Dubai Startup Hub community has helped opened many doors too.

"[They] have helped us a lot from the competition to Global Business Forum, Africa, and really continuously supporting us. We really expanded a lot after these two events. And I'll never forget… I believe the only reason I have a bank account is because of Dubai Startup Hub."

Dubai Smartpreneur is an annual competition, organised under Dubai Startup Hub in cooperation with Smart Dubai, aims to assist technology entrepreneurs to be part of Dubai's strategic initiatives, in addition to enhancing the role of these entrepreneurs in the evolving business ecosystem of the emirate and its position as the global hub for innovation. More than 1,600 participants have gone through the Dubai Smartpreneur Competition over the last four years, reflecting its effectiveness and influence in attracting an increasing number of international startups.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, Dubai Startup Hub launched the Smartpreneur 5.0 Online Pitch Bootcamp, a first-of-its-kind 10-week training program for the 50 finalists who qualified for the second phase of the fifth Dubai Smartpreneur competition.

The specialized online training program runs from April 19 to June 30, 2020, replacing the traditional two-day training to ensure that the promising ventures are strongly supported over virtual channels. The program includes a mix of activities, including working on pitches by using Dubai Chamber's guide, participating in a series of online training workshops and webinars with winners and previous participants of the competition.

Entrepreneurs will benefit from more than 100 individual and group online training workshops throughout the two-and-a-half-month-long program. The training program also includes four weeks of one-to-one work with startup business coaches to improve the business and financial models of the startups and run a simulation of the contest with the finalists as judges.

The top three winners of the competition receive a combined total of AED150,000 in cash prizes.

This article was originally published on Dubai Startup Hub and has been reposted on Entrepreneur Middle East based on a mutual agreement between the websites.

Related: Rethinking Business: A Look At How Some Enterprises In Dubai Are Transforming Themselves In Response To the COVID-19 Pandemic

Megha Merani

Independent Journalist

Megha Merani is an independent journalist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her stories have made headlines across a number of publications including Reuters, Associated Press, Entrepreneur Middle EastBloomberg Middle East, Arabian Gulf Business Insight, Arabian Business, and former local daily 7DAYS.

Megha also produces editorial for government platforms including the World Government Summit and World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils. She has been a grant winner of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The Global Initiative Against Organized Crime funded by the government of Norway to report on the online trade in illegal wildlife.

Megha is also an Associate Fellow (AFHEA) at Murdoch University in Dubai and leads its Digital Newsroom course unit. In addition, Megha serves as a United Nations Women mentor to support equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and supports various other programs including TIE Women, 60 Day Startups, and the Watt Inc. Business Incubator.

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