Pitch Perfect

This article is written by Mohammad Eslim, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Erik Anderson is an entrepreneur originally from Los Angeles but taking an extended “Jobbatical” in Europe: first in London with Techstars and since early 2014 with SWG. After headhunting top founders to join SWG in Tallinn, Erik is responsible for the sales curriculum and driving traction in English speaking markets. He was present at Startup Istanbul 2016 where he gave a speech.

In every startup we all agree the most nerves-wrecking moment is pitching. You stand up in front of audience who are either big and experiences or investors you want to be interested in your idea. Why pitch your idea though? It is to communicate and tell them what you are doing and what you are offering. It is completely over-rated yet also under-rated.

As an entrepreneur or a startup you might have spent thousands of hours on your company or your product thinking it over or building a prototype, but all you will have on that stage is a few seconds to pitch your idea or solution proposal to those who might be interested in you if you used those seconds and picked your words wisely.

There are some things you should keep in mind when you pitch, one of them is to talk about your idea passionately in order for them to feel it in you to innovate and for them to invest in you. Be on the same level with them, don’t look nervous or afraid of them rejecting the idea, so don’t be so humble or so arrogant but be something in between. Sell yourself through facts, not what you imagine to happen. It is ok to ask and answer questions as it better be a two sided conversation. Don’t talk about your product, talk about your idea, the problem and your suggested solution.

Being innovative is not about your idea being unique it’s about how your idea solves a serious problem in specific conditions, and no matter how the solution seems repeated we need to realize how big the market is. So when you are asked how many customers you have, don’t be ashamed if the number is so small you can count on your hands. State a fact and make no excuses.

Focus on being yourself, be specific as to what you want from startup and what you want to gain if you got an investment. Remember again to point what is your drive to make your startup work, why did you choose this problem specifically, why would you solve the problem and why might people be interested in your solution because these might lead you to people who have

Be confident in your idea, not many might be interested in it but if they found you so focused on it they might get interested and so you might start your own network, and with network comes help, investment and a more stable place in the business. And whatever was the result of your pitch don’t ever give up on your idea.

In the end, luck is where opportunity meets preparation, so you can never slack off and laze around or care less about the facts and numbers and important key points. For the moment you get it right, your first step to the future will be built up successfully and all your efforts and preparations, for your company to be finally in the business, will have paid it off.    

─ October 31, 2019