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10 Pitfalls You Want to Avoid When Pitching

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10 Pitfalls You Want to Avoid When Pitching

How you deliver your pitch is the single most important factor when reaching out to investors at business events. Sure, having a million-dollar idea helps, but sometimes even the greatest ideas will flunk because of bad pitching practices.
Here are 10 pitfalls you want to avoid when pitching:

1. Too Many Slides

No matter how relevant you think every bit of information is for your presentation – having too many slides will kill your pitch. This is because investors can get bored pretty easily. Narrow down your presentation and focus on only one concept on every slide. This means you need to forget about using three slides to present the problem or five slides to explain how your product works. Otherwise, investors will become disinterested. And if this happens you can wave goodbye to your investment.
How to avoid this pitfall?
Keep it short and simple. Limit your presentation to ten slides. This is more than enough space to introduce your company, present your business idea, describe the problem, offer the solution, and explain your business model.

2. Too Much Text

Do you know what’s worse than having too many slides? Too much text. Not only will investors get lost in your presentation but too much text will also make your pitch less memorable.
How to avoid this pitfall?
Use more action words to stir up emotions in investors. These are much easier to remember than long sentences. Also, substitute text with numbers and graphs wherever you can. Remember your presentation should be used as a visual aid to make sure your pitch hits a home run.

3. Small Font Size

Using a small font size that only the first row can read probably won’t do much for your presentation. You don’t want investors and audience members to have to strain their eyes to read your slides. And they shouldn’t have to.
How to avoid this pitfall?
It’s quite simple – use a larger font. If you’re not sure how readable your font size is then test it out. Try reading the slides from a distance. If you can’t read the words with ease then your audience won’t be able to either.

4. No Clear Call-to-Action

Another pitfall you want to avoid when pitching is not including a clear call-to-action in your pitch. Call-to-actions help guide investors towards the next course of action. Think of it as offering them a carrot on a stick. By not having clear call-to-action, investors might be at loss about what to do next.
How to avoid this pitfall?
Think about what you want to achieve with your pitch. Perhaps you want to schedule a one-on-one interview with investors, hand out a hundred business cards, or get an investment offer straight up? Remember, there’s always an agenda behind every pitch. Make yours known with a clear call-to-action.

5. Unprepared for Q&A

It’s only natural to expect questions from investors and entrepreneurs at the end of your presentation. This is a good sign. It demonstrates that you’ve struck the right cords. However, not leaving time for Q&A or going in unprepared can be a huge problem. Investors might leave without fully understanding your idea – and you might lose an opportunity as a result. This would be a shame.
How to avoid this pitfall?
Plan for Q&A time. Be prepared for a variety of questions and have your answers lined up. In fact, encourage the audience to ask questions. This way, you can be sure that everyone is on the same page regarding your startup idea. You can even use the questions you receive from investors to plan and guide the flow of your pitch.

6. Getting Upset by Questions

When you interact with investors and entrepreneurs, don’t ever allow yourself to lose your composure. Remain calm at all times. Yes, investors can be extremely direct and you might get some questions or feedback that you don’t really like, but that’s just another part of business. So don’t take it personal. How you respond in such circumstance is key to how investors and other businesses perceive you. Use such situations to your advantage and build up the confidence to close the deal.
How to avoid this pitfall?
You need to take all negative comments and mean questions in stride. Do your best to answer any questions the best way you can – and as calmly as possible. This will demonstrate your professionalism to the investors present.

7. Too Many Numbers

While using numbers is a great way to present problems, solutions and results – don’t overdo it. Using too many numbers can confuse investors and can come across as far-fetched.
How to avoid this pitfall?
Keep it realistic and only present data and statistics that you believe are relevant to aiding your pitch. Pick and choose your numbers carefully.

8. Talking Too Fast

Talking too fast and rushing through a pitch is a common mistake many entrepreneurs make while pitching their idea. Nervous as you might be, don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Rushing through a presentation can be disastrous. Investors won’t be able to register what you are saying – let alone consider investing their money in your idea.
How to avoid this pitfall?
Leave pauses and speak more slowly in order for the audience to be able to take in and digest information. Practice makes perfect. Go over your pitch in front of people you feel comfortable with first. This might help. Getting your pitch right depends on how you speak and how fast. Therefore, if you’re not a fan of public speaking, then it’s high time you become one – or at the very least try to keep your nerves in check.

9. No Follow-Up Material

Your pitch doesn’t stop once your minutes of presenting are up. To really capture the attention from investors you need to follow up with them by providing them with additional information about your business. Failing to do so can be a costly mistake.
How to avoid this pitfall?
Provide useful follow-up material to investors. For instance, you can give out your business card, write down your website, or hand out some flyers. Be ready to imprint your idea into their minds with these follow-up materials.

10. A Bad Business Name

Having a business name that only makes sense to the team but sounds like gibberish to the audience is a big issue. A bad name can leave a bad impression on investors, it can be impossible to protect, and can trigger a lawsuit. In turn, this can look bad in your overall pitch by indicating that you haven’t done enough research when choosing your business name.
How to avoid this pitfall?
Instead of using one name while pitching, and then changing it to another once you get your investment, focus on creating a great business name from the get-go. This will also help you later down the line when you want to trademark your name and protect it from other businesses stealing it. When you settle on a name, work with trademark experts to register your business name as a trademark.

The Final Say

Your pitch will either launch your idea towards greatness – or shatter it completely. Avoid these 10 pitfalls and set your business up for success.

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