You’ve got a great idea. There’s a concept for a product or a service that you think could be successful. One of the keys to business success is ‘selling’ your idea in the first place. But when it comes to making your business pitch, how do you get people fired up about it?
The ability to accurately and convincingly get across what your idea is all about is a key skill if you want to become an entrepreneur.
So we spoke to Jennifer Weller, a lecturer in business at Charles Sturt University, about making your business pitch perfect. She’s outlined five steps to pitching success.
Step 1: Define the problem you’re solving
Sounds simple, but as Jennifer explains, too often a pitch doesn’t make its case strongly enough at the outset.
“What is your product or service going to do for people? Define what aspect of a consumer’s life it will improve. The best way to do this is to write a brief problem statement. This is a concise description of the issue you want to fix. It should encompass vision – imagine what the world would look like if the problem is solved – and highlight the specific issues that define the problem. It is a lot easier for people to understand your idea if they recognise, up front, what its purpose is.”
Step 2: Check the competition
As part of any business pitch, people are going to want to know that you have done your research. They don’t have time to find out what else is on the market in this space; you have to tell them, as Jennifer explains.
“Researching the market is an integral part of your pitch. It is the means by which you differentiate your idea from everything else that is out there. It is how you define your USP – unique selling point.”
Step 3: Define your target market
So you have an idea that solves a problem, and no-one else in the market is doing anything like it. The next stage is to work out who will actually use your product or service. As Jennifer explains, delving deep into your target market will make your pitch much more convincing.
“You need to get to know your target market… and define it. If your product is for kids, are they your target or are the parents or grandparents the target? Or both? What or who influences your target market? What is important to them? By doing market research, you build on the first two steps of your pitch by providing a well-defined audience to whom your unique idea can be aimed at and marketed to.”
Step 4: Consider the minimum viable product
As Jennifer explains, the journey to market is rarely a one-shot thing, so including a product progression in your business pitch will help show that you understand the importance of listening to your customers.
“A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product, service or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product’s initial users. An MVP in your pitch shows people you understand a pathway to production, and that you are responsive to market feedback.”
Step 5: Write a benefit or value statement
Your idea solves a problem, and you know who it can help. But what exactly is it going to do for your customers? As Jennifer outlines, the benefit or value statement in your pitch is where you bring home the importance of your idea, and tap into the emotive reasons why someone would buy into it.
“A benefit statement puts the spotlight on the customer and the experience, on their positive feelings, and the results they stand to gain because of using your product or service. It answers the all-important question: ‘What’s in it for me?’
“As you write a benefit statement, think of this: the most compelling benefits are the ones that provide an emotional or financial return to your customer. Building an emotional connection with your customer is powerful in terms of advertising and customer loyalty, while financial returns generally save or make money for the customer. These are important and powerful components in any pitch – and in making any product successful.”
Got a great business idea?
Charles Sturt University’s business courses are where your ideas can come to life. And where you will get the skills and knowledge to back them up and take them through to completion.