Wondering how to win a pitch competition?
An effective pitch can make all of the difference between getting your startup business the funding, resources, and backing it needs to become a reality versus it falling flat and having to start over from scratch.
There are many types of competitions and pitching opportunities for entrepreneurs. These can run from school business plan competitions to government grants to demo days at startup accelerators and those hosted by angel groups, TV shows like Shark Tank, as well as individual investor meetings you’ve managed to line up.
So, what’s the secret sauce to winning pitch competitions and getting the money your startup needs?
Do Your Research
When you are looking into how to win a pitch competition keep in mind that success is all about preparation. It applies just as much to pitching as your business idea. Don’t skimp on this. Failing to prepare is just preparing to fail.
Beyond your own market and business, you need to be researching your competition and the audience you are pitching too.
Who are you up against? It may just be a matter of performing better than a couple of peers and on a couple of key points. Who else is competing? What are they strong at? Where are they weak? How can you outshine them, and be the best option?
Know your prospective investors. What are they looking to fund? Who have they funded before? Why did they do it, or not? What were their top objections to other pitches? What recent trends of changes might you be able to capitalize on now?
Build The Relationship In Advance
This is one of the key things about how to win a pitch competition. How can you connect with and get in front of decision-makers and those you’ll be pitching in advance?
As with any sale or business deal, nailing the know you, like you, trust you trifecta can make all the difference.
Start the conversation early if you can. Build some familiarity. Strategize something you can prove you’ve achieved or delivered on between your first contact and the pitch or competition decision.
Your pitch deck design is important. If you aren’t pitching live, then your pitch deck has to do all the talking for you. Even if you are pitching live, some will pay a lot more attention to the screen than you.
Don’t get sidetracked and fall behind trying to reinvent the wheel. Do, find a proven and successful template, and then make it yours.
Tailor it to your audience. You’ve done your research. You know who they are and what their preferences are. You could make it feel like this opportunity was meant just for them.
When it comes down to fundraising keep in mind that it is all about storytelling. For a winning deck, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Keep It Simple
The top mistake made by entrepreneurs when pitching for fundraising and in competitions like this is that they make it too complicated. This is critical when it comes down to how to win a pitch competition.
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