One crucial attribute for success in entrepreneurship is the ability to sell your business in as little time as possible to the right people. Imagine you got a lifetime opportunity to pitch your business to some important investors or partners, how do you get prepared to give a great pitch and make the most of the opportunity? Here are some useful tried and tested tips that will help you prepare for that business pitch meeting.

Do some DD on Your Audience: You must do some due diligence on the team/organization you are pitching too if you are looking to make the right impression. What is their background? What kind of innovations, ideas or products are they interested in? What investments have they made in the past and why would they be interested in listening to you and your business idea? What type of investment would they be interested in making? Get as much information as possible so that you can appropriately tailor your presentation to their needs, requirements and interests.

Have a Business Plan in Place: It always helps to have a business plan in place. Your plan does not have to be a detailed voluminous document.  It just needs to be a roadmap that outlines your goals for your proposed product or service idea and how you plan to achieve these goals. This document will form the source of information for your pitch and act as a reference just in case you are asked to provide much more detailed information.

Tell a Story: What is the challenge your product or service is trying to solve? Was your business idea birthed from a personal story or encounter?  What is the gap in the market and what is the unique thing about your idea to bridge this gap? Telling a story about the problem your idea is trying to solve helps to introduce your pitch. Remember that your story has to be short, impactful, straight to the point and relatable. While Investors may be interested in investing in an idea that is feasible and can “profitably” solve a problem, you do not want to spend half of the pitch time telling your story.

Who, what and where is your Market?: One of the most frequent mistakes made during a business pitch is the inability of an entrepreneur to define and properly segment his/her target market. Who is your target market? Who is going to buy your product or service? Why would they pay for your product? Can they pay for your product? Showing a good knowledge of your target market gives potential investors and partners comfort that you know what you are talking about.

Take your product sample with you: This depends on your proposed product. It may help to have samples that display the unique selling features of your product. However, make sure that it works and is as real as possible. If you are using a Power-Point presentation, make sure the details are kept to a bare minimum and relevant to what will be presented during the pitch.

Know Your Numbers: Any serious investor will be focused on the numbers so make sure all the facts and assumptions around your projections are realistic and accurate. You must be able to defend your numbers and be prepared for questions relating to your assumptions particularly regarding your financial projections. What are your sales projections? What is your turn-over figure? When will you break-even? If you are already selling, make sure you have information on historical revenues and expenditure and facts on why the performance has been good or bad. Investors need very strong confidence in your numbers and would not commit to a venture they are not clear in terms of when and how the business will make money.

Nothing beats Positivity: This filters through in your passion and the way you talk about your business idea. Your audience also needs to feel your conviction about your product or service and should see reasons why they would be better off investing in your idea than something else.

Practice, Practice, Practice: Lastly, spend time practicing. List out all the potential questions you may be asked particularly on your product or service, previous market tests done, your marketing and customer acquisition strategy, business model, team, financials, and funding, and make sure you rehearse how you intend to address all the questions that may come up during the questions and answers segment.

All the best in your business pitch. Please feel free to share your pitching experiences with us and key lessons you learnt.