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How to pitch your biz plan

A quick snapshot on how to pitch it right

Tags: Business plan

BY Nandini Vaidyanathan and Ramanan Subramani  |  Feb 01, 2010 comments ( 0 ) |

Imagine you are in the elevator with Warren Buffet or someone like him, and you have this brilliant idea that you think can change the world, what are the magical things you need to whisper to him that will make his eyes pop, so much so, that when the elevator stops he will say, “Come with me and take the cheque”! In entrepreneurial circles, this is called an elevator pitch.

The elevator pitch is a good metaphor for the entrepreneur because it teaches you to focus on the important, cut out the frills (even if you are enamored by them) and show how you can grab an opportunity on the fly. Elevator pitch is all about making that perfect lasting impression in the shortest possible time.

In this article, we will tell you how to do it.

Firstly, don’t go beyond five slides. And let them look like this:

Slide I

What is your idea? Eg., iPod. The idea is not only to listen to music on-the-go, but to create your own playlist as well, amongst other things.

In other words, what is your key offering?

Slide II

What pain point does it address and what is the gap it is trying to fill? Eg. before the iPod, whilst CD players and the Walkman made it easy to listen to music on-the-go, buying music was expensive and along with music that you like, you also got music that you didn’t like, as it was pre-recorded.

So how does the iPod address this pain point? By backing it up with technology where you can download music absolutely free, choose what you want to download and constantly shuffle your playlist.  It also helps that the iPod is easy to clip on to your sleeve, has awesome earphones, looks sleek, is easy to use even in crowded places, and of course, it makes a statement.

In other words, what is the opportunity? (What people see as problem, entrepreneurs see as an opportunity.)

Slide III

So who will buy it?  Young, happening, aspiring, smart, go-getting, trend-conscious men and women who thrive on music. Exactly like you. Why will they buy it? Because you would buy it. Because it is exactly a product that defines who you are.

In other words, who is your customer? (The market segment, your target group.)

Slide IV        


Who are you and how did you come up with this product? What gave you the idea? How did you put together a team who could deliver what you visualized? What competencies do you all have?

In other words, who is the entrepreneur and what is his management team?

Slide V

You have spent time, effort and money in identifying an opportunity, developing the product, focusing on the customer, enervating yourself and your team. Did you do all this just for fun or are you planning to make money out of it? If you are planning to make money out of it, how much money do you need for it to reach the market place, how many people will buy it, how much will they be willing to pay for it, and how soon will you be able to make money out of it.

In other words, how much capital do you require, what are your costs, what will be your revenue, what will be your profits and by when?

Doesn’t it look simple? Yet it has everything in it to make Warren Buffett hand you the cheque.

Some quick additional tips before we summarize.

    * Remember KISS – Keep It Short and Simple. Don’t use big words just because you want to show off.
    * Don’t use technical jargon, explain it in English.
    * Keep the slides clean. Don’t cram it with too much text; each slide should have a couple of bullets just to tell you what you should speak about.
    * Don’t animate your slide, it can be very irritating.
    * Animate yourself. No matter how good your idea is, if you don’t come across as  passionate, you won’t grab eyeballs. Now go for it!

*Nandini Vaidyanathan teaches entrepreneurship in biz schools around the world. She has co-founded two companies - Startups and CARMa - to mentor entrepreneurs. You may write to her nandini@carmagroup.in

Ramanan Subramani is Associate Vice President at Lowe Lintas, Bangalore. He is responsible for digital marketing of brands in South India. You may write to him at dr.ramanansv@gmail.com

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