We’re in our third post of the Entrepreneurship blogging series and I hope it’s been a productive experience so far! Three weeks ago, I prepped you to get your business started, then we narrowed down what side hustle to pursue, and finally, you’ve started to build a brand with a signature name, logo, phrases, and more. But wait, there’s more!
Have you heard of the phrase, “If you build it, they will come?” Well, that’s only half true and especially in this digital age. You have to promote your services/product like crazy in order to get noticed and business! Not only does promotion, but the right promotion will be key in getting people to learn of your brand and obtain support.
It was a chilly November night, but my friends and I risked the 5-hour trek to Bloomington, IN from Chicago, IL anyway. When we got to the university, we were still unsure of what to expect from our first Google Startup Weekend. After an hour or so of 30-second business idea pitches, we formed a group. None of us expected to earn a 2nd place ranking with a small arts company idea, but we did! After two and a half short days of research, planning, and presentation prepping–we were ready to pitch our idea to judges. Through proper execution and foresight of tricky questions, we managed to get “investor” judges on our side.
The key is not always in having the best idea, but it lies in your execution and delivery. That’s why today I’ve put together a checklist of things to consider when presenting an idea to a potential investor, supporter, or customer. Once you’ve laid the branding foundation, it’s time to promote your brand! You may be talking with your network of influencers to spread the word or linking up with a co-worker who’s in need of your product. Regardless, it’s time to take action on your hustle and here’s where you start.
It takes only a few seconds to make an impression, and setting the right tone will put you and your brand in the right position. You need something to grab their attention and explain what you do in less than 30 seconds. A catchphrase, comparison statement, or play on words will help your idea come across. As long as you explain your idea clearly and make it stand out.
Here was our 30-second pitch for our business idea at the competition. It used familiar phrasing to explain it quickly and concisely.
“The X Company is an online platform like Facebook that brings together people in the film industry for collaborative projects.”
This made a comparison to a widely known company while explaining our focus in under 30 seconds! You get brownie points for incorporating a play on words or light-hearted joke.
Your passion and motivation is something that you exude even when you’re not talking. It’s also the very thing that speaks the loudest for your brand. When others notice that you are genuinely invested in this idea, they are willing to take the risk and support you or entrust their needs to you. Hone in on your reason for pursuing this idea so that your passion will translate from your work to your promotion, to your pitch.
Our startup was fortunate enough to have members who were active in the arts. Not only did we appreciate different forms of expression, but we understood the struggle to find others in our industry to collaborate. After connecting with the need for this business, we couldn’t help but believe in the validity of it all.
Another valuable component of winning over a new investor/client is the explanation of the process. What do you do for new clients? How does someone navigate your services or platform? Simply having a plan and being able to explain it adds validity to your idea.
The most successful teams at Startup Weekend had a plan for success. Those teams knew where to find their audience, how to nurture them into clients, and how to sustain growth. These three concepts will impress your potential client/investor from the beginning.
Not only do you have to understand the profitability of your business, but also the value it provides to your audience. You can only pitch an idea well if you believe enough in it! Understanding the true value of what you offer, increases the customer’s perception of its value. Honestly, no one wants to put time and effort into a lost cause. If you price your product/service at a rate that will be profitable and fair to the customer, you’ve won the hardest battle! Promoting and earning from a valuable product is a piece of cake!
What are people willing to buy? How much are you willing to charge? Is there any overlap? Adjust your numbers until it does, and this will make the biggest difference.
Putting It All Together
Although X Company left the Startup Weekend competition with only a second place prize, we all learned how to pitch any idea strategically to gain support. I hope you did too! Hook your audience with a clear statement, show your passion for the idea, and believe in the process and profitability. Work on these things and you’ll see the new customers rolling in!