BY AJAY MADHUKAR ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2015
We all have ideas—some better than others—but the way we can truly validate some of our best ideas is to sell them to the public.
Whether you prefer selling your idea through a prototype, minimum viable product or an actual product is a choice that you can make but you can’t deny the fact that at some point you have to make a sale. And you can determine how great your idea was based on how well your target customers react to your product.
While I was cruising in and out of talks during MaGIC’s MA2015 symposium, one talk particularly stood out for me, “Developing a Killer Pitch For Your Social Enterprise”.
While the talk was primarily geared towards social entrepreneurs and enthusiasts of social entrepreneurship, I felt that a lot of what was said during the talk given by Woei Hern Chan (the guy behind the “Are Malaysians Racist?” viral video) could also be applied to startups and the like.
Here are 5 points that I thought stood out the most from the talk.
1. Find Your ‘Why’
You have to dig deep down into your soul and find the true meaning of life. Well, even if you don’t, at least know why you’re running your startup.
Have a vision in mind that you think is worthwhile to pursue and always have the bigger picture in mind.
And when you’re pitching your ‘why’ to a crowd of investors or the public, use powerful words like ‘believe’—words that will arouse both emotion and curiosity.
Start your pitch off by introducing yourself and briefly mention the mission that you’re looking to achieve with your startup.
2. State Your Problem
What are you trying to solve? When selling your startup or idea, you have to supplement your vision with a story that outlines a personal problem that you faced, a problem that you’re looking to solve.
People relate to personal stories, in fact, they pay more attention to them as opposed to stories about other experiences that are way beyond your personal scope.
An interesting way to begin would be, “I was stranded in a foreign land, I couldn’t speak the language, I felt it was extremely difficult to interact with people…”
That’s a more relatable story as opposed to, “There are people have way across the world that like to travel but can’t communicate with others…”
The key here is to keep the focus of the story on you and mention a maximum of 3 points.
Don’t forget—you’re telling a story.
3. Find Your Solution
Once, you’ve shed light on both your vision and your problem, it’s now time to add a new element to your story—the solution. This is where you have to find your inner Steve Jobs.
In the true spirit of Steve Jobs, mention words like ‘imagine’. Paint a picture of how the world would look like with your new product. Mention the things that it could do better.
And in the case that you’re doing exactly the same thing as someone else, just transform an existing fact into a basic human benefit.
Think about Apple’s iPencil.
It’s time to talk about your market and your competition and bring out statistics that will help tip people’s attention into your favour.
Talk about how big the market is, how many people you can help through the service, woo the audience with your numbers. Statistics and numbers show the audience and your investors that you’ve invested time in conducting your research and most of all it shows the potential that your startup inherently has.
5. Talk About Your Product
Now, that you have the attention of the crowd, talk about your product. Tell the crowd about what your product can do, what sets it apart and how it can change the world.
This is where you can give a brief demo of how your platform makes it much easier to do a particular task and then move onto your business model. Also include how you plan to generate income through your startup or platform.
While these few points can definitely point you towards the right direction in terms of thinking about your sales pitch, the matter of fact is that you need to be prepared.
Here are a few other resources that I think would be of help to you:
- Check out the slides that Airbnb used during their first pitch. This should give you a basic idea of how you can structure your slides.
- You can also check out this video where Steve Jobs is introducing the iPad for the first time.
Both of them sold an idea and a vision, and you can do the same for your startup too.