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Pitching: Sell that idea!



Kirjoittanut: Aileen Marie Flores Nunez - tiimistä Kaaos.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 8 minuuttia.

Pitching: Sell that idea!  

Introduction 

When every step is taken to reach your start-up idea for validation, the next thing to do is sell your idea to potential business investors or clients. How can your best idea be communicated effectively and able to close a deal? If you do not know how to communicate the value of your idea or do not know how to sell your product, then everything doesn’t matter at all. Pitching a business idea is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of any entrepreneur’s journey. It’s what stands in the way between your vision and the financing needed to turn it into a reality. Although daunting, there are steps you can take to ensure a greater chance of success. (HBS 2020). So, what does it take to convey your idea to the people you are talking to? What are the frameworks that need to be considered from preparing the pitch until the performance moment? What does one pitch should one contain? Whether you are a start-up or a seasoned entrepreneur, pitching is always a part of any business process.  

Pitching is a form of storytelling 

Pitching is an important part of the sales process. It is the bread and butter of a start-up entrepreneur, but looking at it in a simplistic manner, pitching is nothing more than telling a story. (HUBS-Business Incubator). Pitching is different from presentation. The latter simply provides information on a   specific topic, but pitching is more than that. Aside from providing the information, pitching also involved encouragement, inciting, inspiring, convincing, evoking, and persuading. The ability to convey your message and convince your audience is the key. Skill in pitching is essential whether you are in the business world or not. And what matters is you can communicate and express the value of your idea in an effortless way. Not everyone is great with storytelling skills, nevertheless, it can be learned, and some structure could be of immense help to be able to do the storytelling effectively. First, it is to look at the project idea elements to process the story. 

Near Perfect Pitch Framework (HUBS-Business Incubator). 

This framework has been put together to help individuals become more familiar and confident with pitching, especially those with little to no experience. In other words, to help you go from pitching zero to hero. The framework is divided into 5 parts:  

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Understand – Presenting and pitching are two quite different forms of public speaking. Presentation is merely giving information, but pitching is more than that. It’s about conveying your idea and convincing your audience.  

Un/re-Learn – Changing the mindset to move from presenting into pitching. Keep in mind that these two things have different purposes in the end.  

Structure – Helping you identify the information and elements of your pitch. Here, the elements of your pitch will be defined. Before going to that stage, one must know what specific to cover. Successful pitching is, primarily, about your audience. Your pitch must be understandable, relevant, and readily convincing — without any strong-arm tactics or perceived gimmicks and tricks. And in today’s rapid-fire, short-attention-span world, it must also be concise. (HBR 2023). To get your audience attention, you need the hook of your pitch. Then the significance to carefully defining the need, the approach which entails the process how your solution will work out, emphasize the value proposition, highlight what make your solution the best choice over the others – your competition and then call to action that you are ready to engage. These are the essential structures of a pitch.  

Stand out – To avoid building a generic pitch, find a way to stand out. Never let your audience forget you. Consider how you present yourself, and not simply your idea. As Sahman reinforces in Entrepreneurship Essentials: “Most experienced investors look at the people first and the opportunity second. Even when a team is young and inexperienced, an investor depends on them to make the right decisions.” (HBS 2020). Personality equally matters with your idea and skills set. Aside from your competence, they would investigate your character whether you are flexible, open-minded, trustworthy, and able to adapt to different perspectives.  

Perform – So this is the last part of the pitching framework. Once all the parts are considered, the final one is the performance. The actual part where you communicate your idea and convince your audience. Knowing the tips of performing and public speaking are essential to be able to deliver your pitch effectively. Giving sufficient time to practice before the final performance is a necessity regardless of if you are a first timer or an expert at it.  Memorize and master your slides, remember that you have only a couple of minutes to make it successful and no repeat performance. It is normal to feel anxious and nervous, but right and enough practice can make you feel better and confident to take that stage.  

 

 My Pitching Experienc 

This term, I took a course from HUBS of Business Incubator. We have deliberately taken all the essential steps to do pitching after the end of our course. I would highly recommend this course to be taken by anyone taking up entrepreneurship. As a start-up, it is incredibly significant to gain the knowledge and skills of pitching. HUBS Pre-incubator is the place to develop your business idea in a sustainable way. It’s an 8-week program that combines the methods of team learning and purposeful development of team working skills alongside traditional business development. (HUBS Pre-Incubator). There were different speakers in each session for specific topics and learning team and individual activities that will develop your business idea. It is such a very impactful and terrific value of learning. One of our final requirements is to be on stage to pitch our business idea. It was such a wonderful experience. What I learned from the course could be incredibly useful for me now and in the future. Also, I would like to highlight the great guidance of our two coaches, Raúl Berlanga Zarate and Cristian Burr, they are amazingly helpful on our journey. I would like to share my pitch and my actual pitching experience.  

 

 PITCHING 23.11.2023 

Business Idea: AI MARE – sustainable event styling solution 

 

The Hook: 

Thank you guys for coming to this party! 

Hope you had a great time. Bye!!! 

 

Okey! Now I need to clean up!  

Trash? Trash? Everything is trash! 

Ooops… I’m sorry! You are still there! 

 

The Problem: 

Well, have you thought where all the waste goes after any event you attended? Have you felt dismayed by the amount of waste materials and food left after the event?  Don’t you know that the event industry is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions? This covers the materials used and the energy consumed. 

Indeed, in recent years, event industry has experienced tremendous growth but has also left enormous carbon footprints effects. This is a call for all the event organizers and clients to take part sincerely to mitigate the negative environmental, social, and economic impact while we are continuously the benefits of holding events. 

 

The Need: 

Thus, the idea of AI MARE comes to life. AI MARE – You celebrate, we style. AI MARE is your sustainable event styling partner. We will plan, create, and style your events in the most sustainable way. Even a fraction of effort to reduce waste on event styling matters significantly.  

 The Approach: 

AI MARE will provide you an intimate and personalized styling using sustainable materials – such as reusable, recyclable decors, partnering local craft products and tapping green art designs. 

 The Benefits: 

So, what value would our clients gain from AI MARE? As we start on intimate and personal events with attendees of less than 50 people and with our sustainable designs, our customers will have a stylish, organic, and personalized ambiance. They would have the enjoyment and the gratification that they aim to experience. Of course, with our design, we are also part of our clients’ desire to achieve the social and economic growth that they aim for holding the event. And importantly, by being able to provide them with the feeling of sense of co-responsibility, being a steward for nurturing the environment. 

 The Competition: 

Finnish events prioritize meaningful content and minimalism, with a strong focus on environmentally friendly practices, supported by good public transportation, sufficient responsible partners and suppliers, digital tools, and a waste classification system. (Theseus 2023). AI MARE concept of considering sustainability is never new to the Finnish market in the event industry. However, newbie to the market, and as an immigrant, with less consideration of sustainability in the past while styling events, as a start we would be widely catering our service preferably to non-Finnish clients, being able to partly educate and evoke awareness on sustainable events styling. 

 There are sustainable events styling providers in the markets, such as HEY LOOK, and NORD & ME. Gigantic event’s organizers such as SLUSH, FLOW Festival & Nordic Business Forum that emphasized sustainability in every event they do from planning to execution. 

Yes, these could be competitors, but AI MARE will learn from them the practices that they have toward responsible event styling, production & management. It takes partnership and collaboration for event industry to contribute significantly toward reducing global carbon footprints. 

 The Call to Action: 

Turning moments into memorable events in the most sustainable way – AI MARE. Together, we celebrate responsibly! Contact us and we would be glad that you will be our 6th customer in line. 

 

 Feedback from my pitching 

 My pitching went well, and I received insightful comments from the judges. My pitch slide was well done and mentioned that the call to action was emphasized too at its commonly forgotten part. The thing that I should pour more attention on to next time is to clearly connect my problem to the solution that I bring in. The feedback given to me by one of the critics is that he was a bit lost after a while although my idea is doable, and I can widely network to many event organizers in the region. It was indeed true what was said, as I knew I missed a line which could be the right part for him to be able to clearly understand the connection of business idea to the problem I cited. Another thing is I was running out of time, so I rushed my pitch to wrap it up and lost some significant part. So some of the things I learned and realized that pitching experience are make the pitch short but concise, highlight the most important part only, like if you see so many benefits, at least focus to 1or 2 only, then you can mention the others during the feed backing when asked for more, when stating the problem, make it short too and ensure it clearly led well to the solution your bring in. Another thing that was discussed on my pitch was the idea or the term of styling is new. So, the judges were a bit confused if I’m doing decors or organizing events. Well, styling is part of organizing events only and decor making is covered in styling. This is what I missed to research if the judges or my audience can see the term and know about it. So, I must note this next time I do my pitch. Lastly, the companies I have mentioned were exceptionally extreme to compare to my new business project, so they advised that point out competition that is close to your range because seeing the gap can also mislead my proposition. So, with all the comments mentioned, they are helpful for me to improve next time. I didn’t expect a perfect pitch at that point too as it was my first formal pitching for that idea. Indeed, practice and critics before the final delivery would be a significant help. Overall, it was such a great learning experience and motivates me to try more of the same.  

 

Conclusion 

 The ability to pitch effectively can be learned over time. Do it repeatedly and consciously take note of the things that need to be improved. Indeed, actual pitching can take only a minute to deliver, but it’s a brief time that could lead to an opportunity for your business idea or product to sell. Also, the pitching preparation takes time too, but incredibly careful preparation is worth every step to be able to effectively communicate and convince your idea to your target audience or client. So always consider every part of the pitching process, the skills and character needed, the framework, and the structure. Lastly, never forget that the very reason you are there on stage or anywhere doing your pitch is to close the deal and sell that idea or product. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References: 

 Abrahams, M. 2023. Harvard Business Review. How To Make A Compelling Pitch. Read 20.11.2023 

https://hbr.org/2023/08/how-to-make-a-compelling-pitch? 

 

HUBS. 2023. Business Pre-Incubator Course 

https://hubs.fi/en/studies/study-calendar/hubs-per-incubator/ 

 

Jenn. 2022. Indeed. Guide to Business Pitching. Read on 25.11.2023 

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/business-pitching 

 

Laundry, L. 2020. Harvard Business School: Online. How to Effectively Pitch A Business Idea. Read on 25.11.2023 

https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/how-to-pitch-a-business-idea 

 

Nguyen, N. 2023. Theseus. Heading Toward Sustainable Event Management in Vietnam Based on Examples from Finland. Read on 20.11.2023 

https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/801350 

 

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