Pitching Perfection: 7 Steps to a Winning Business Pitch

Whether you’re an Aussie small business working from serviced offices and coworking spaces or an American startup working from home, crafting a winning business pitch is an essential skill for entrepreneurs. A well-structured pitch can help you captivate investors, attract partners, and secure funding. In other words, it can be the difference between success and failure for your budding business. Below, we outline seven strategic steps for developing a winning business pitch.

winning business pitch
Photo: RDNE Stock project / Pexels

How to craft a winning business pitch

A business pitch can take many forms. An elevator pitch is a very short version of your business pitch containing all the necessary elements at a very high level. The goal of an elevator pitch is to get a chance to deliver the longer pitch so it should not only be succinct but interesting. Plan for something around 30 seconds as a way to introduce yourself and your business as a way to create a connection who might help you gain access to others who can provide value to your fledgling venture.

Various groups organize pitch events where invited entrepreneurs can deliver a pitch to a room full of folks who might help your business. The room might contain investors, potential partners, or prospective members of your leadership team. Commonly, entrepreneurs get a defined amount of time for their pitch and the organizers might allow time for questions afterward or offer an informal meet and greet that allows individuals to explore deeper into the pitch.

A pitch deck may accompany a presentation, or an entrepreneur might send it to someone who can add value to the business. When the pitch deck is sent to an individual or group, ensure it can stand alone by providing everything necessary. However, a deck used as part of a verbal pitch should not overpower the verbal presentation but support it. Presentation Zen is a great tool to consider when building this type of pitch deck.

Finally, you can find regional or national pitch competitions organized by investors or investor groups. Commonly invited entrepreneurs pitch their ideas, with the winning business pitch is awarded prizes that might include some combination of startup financing, space in an incubator, or access to business mentors and advisors.

Regardless of which type of pitch you need, a winning business pitch involves the following steps.

Step 1: Convey your unique value proposition (UVP)

Your UVP or USP (unique selling proposition) should succinctly describe your business, its customers, and, most importantly, how the business and/or its products stand out from competitors. Begin by identifying the specific problem your product or service solves and articulate why your solution is uniquely better than existing alternatives.

Another aspect of a UVP is demonstrating how you plan to protect this aspect of your business from new competition or keep competitors from easily copying it. For instance, unless you have a lower cost of production, selling at a lower price point is easily and quickly copied, especially by established businesses that have the deep pockets needed to absorb a short-term loss to undercut your price until it folds. A patent or a patent pending is a good way to show that your company can protect whatever makes it unique for a long time.

Having a strong UVP forms the foundation of your pitch and guides the narrative.

Step 2: Understand your audience

Before you start a pitch, you must know who you are pitching to and the format of the pitch. This means understanding the background of those attending the pitch, the type of business they are interested in, what they look for in a potential investment, how long they anticipate investing before they extract their investment, and what they want in exchange for their investment. For instance, a VC (venture capitalist) might only invest in certain industries (such as healthcare or technology), want to extract their investment within five years, and want X% equity in exchange for capital. You need to know that going in.

Tailor your pitch to meet the interests and investment philosophy of your audience. For example, some investors may prioritize innovation, while others emphasize scalability or profitability. Adjusting your pitch to align with these preferences can significantly increase your chances of success.

Step 3: Outline your business model

Clearly explain how your business will make money. Detail your revenue streams, pricing strategy, sales, and distribution model. Investors are particularly keen on understanding how you plan to generate profit and scale the business. Be prepared to discuss your financials and show realistic yet optimistic projections. Use graphs and charts if necessary to illustrate your points more vividly.

Step 4: Highlight the market opportunity

Investors need a glimpse of the potential for substantial growth. Provide data and research that supports the viability and the demand for your product or service. Discuss market size, growth rate, and your targeted market segments. Highlight how your business will fit into existing trends and how you plan to capture or expand your market share. This demonstrates your market knowledge as well as your ability to think about business growth strategically.

I can’t tell you how many pitch events I attended where the entrepreneurs backed into these factors based on cost estimates and profit expectations. This is the wrong way to do this, as it assumes the market demand is there. Instead, start with market demand based on hard data (ie. surveys, government data, or evaluations from industry experts) and show the business model generates a profit with this sound estimate.

Step 5: Showcase your team

A strong team often sways investors’ decisions. Highlight the expertise and background of key team members and how their experiences are relevant to your business’s success. Remember, investors invest in people, not just ideas, so show them that your team has the passion, skills, and drive to turn the vision into reality.

I’ve seen young entrepreneurs bring on more experienced executives to position their businesses as more worthy of investor consideration.

Step 6: Describe your current status and achievements

Detail where your business currently stands in its development. Discuss any milestones you already achieved, such as beta testing, customer acquisition, or any early sales or partnerships you secured. This adds credibility to your business and shows that you have already begun to execute your business plan effectively.

Step 7: Have a clear request and strong close

Be clear and precise about what you need. Specify the amount of money you’re requesting and how you plan to spend it. Investors are very leery of investing when they see their investment going to salaries rather than getting the business off the ground. Look for ways to leverage the investor’s money, such as renting buildings and equipment rather than buying them outright to make the investor’s money go further.

Outline the potential return on investment for your investors and your proposed timeline for achieving key milestones. End your pitch with a strong closing that reinforces your passion for the business and your confidence in its success. Invite questions and be prepared to engage in a deeper discussion about your business plan.

Conclusion

A winning business pitch involves more than conveying an idea—it must be strategically prepared and based on a deep understanding of your audience. By following these seven steps, you can create a powerful narrative that demonstrates your strengths and convinces investors of your venture’s potential.

Need marketing help to support business growth?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.