There are a number of occasions when you might be required to pitch your business idea to an audience, either large or small. Here we give you some practical tips to think about in preparing and presenting your pitch.

What preparation can I do?

You will have already tested your idea out to find out if and where there is a market for your product or service. You will have got feedback from friends, family and business experts. So the next step is to make sure you can explain your business idea in a straightforward way.

Preparation is vital. You need to be able to convince your audience that your idea is a viable business.

Think about your business idea – can you explain what it is and how it can work in just a couple of sentences? If you can’t then you are not going to be able to pitch it successfully to anyone else. Practice makes perfect, so read, reread, cut back on waffle to ensure it's succinct and read again. Your printed document should also be kept short - aim for three to four pages in length. 

Find out as much as you can about person or organisation you are pitching to and what they will be looking for. This is particularly important if you are pitching to a potential investor.

Be ready to answer questions about yourself and your business and prepare questions that you may want answers to beforehand.

Make sure you know your idea thoroughly: understand the strengths of your idea and make sure you are aware of any potential weaknesses.

Checklist: What should I think about when preparing for an appointment to pitch my idea?

Whether you are discussing your idea with a small business advisor at your bank, pitching to secure funding or to find office space, you will need to plan your pitch. Being prepared, focussed and knowledgeable will help you feel more confident in delivering your pitch. Try using the five Ws below to help you plan. Login to save this checklist to your profile for future use. (To register to join and enjoy the benefits of membership click on the link at the top right of the page. It will only take a few minutes to create your profile).

How can I produce a professional presentation?

Spending time putting a professional presentation together is very important. You may not be used to producing PowerPoint presentations, but by using software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides or Prezi will make it easier for you.

Here are some tips to help you create a professional presentation:

  • Firstly choose a business style font, this helps to set the right tone. A simple font such as Arial, size 24, is easy to read. It is better to use the same font throughout
  • Keep the text on each slide to a minimum, use note form and bullets rather than full sentences. Your audience can read more quickly than you can talk
  • Use colour carefully - although you might want to produce eye-catching slides, too much colour can detract from your actual message. E.g dark blue on a cream or a white background is easy to read, howevever red text on a green background is much harder to read
  • Don't get carried away with flashy PowerPoint transition or animation effects, these will just become a distraction or even an irritation for your audience
  • Use images to add some variety
  • Keep the number of slides to a minimum. As an example, for a 15 minute presentation, six to eight slides will be sufficient.

Remember it’s you and your business idea you are pitching, so your presentation is there as an aid only.

Video: How to successfully pitch a business idea

Barclays

3:52

An elevator pitch is a concise, practised overview of your business idea.  Alison Chadwick, Talent Director at the AMV Group, shows you what makes a great elevator pitch and how you too can make your pitch perfect. 

How can I combat my nerves?

It’s normal to be a little nervous. Many people have a fear of speaking in public, but the more you practice the more polished your pitch will become. Practice in front of friends or family and in front of a mirror. Practice until your pitch is perfect.

When presenting your pitch remember to:

  • speak slowly and clearly
  • vary the pitch and the tone of your voice.

Try not to:

  • mumble
  • rush your words
  • speak in a monotone.

Although it’s important to have notes with you, avoid reading from them. Be confident and enthusiastic and your passion and commitment for your idea will shine through.

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