How to submit a Start Up Project: the B-PLANNOW PITCH®
If you want to get funding for your start-up, you will have to be extremely convincing with possible investors. Presenting your business accurately is very important, but you should know that it may not be enough: you need to pay attention to many different aspects, some of which transcend the boundaries of your company, because they affect yourself, customers, competitors, and the business as a whole. You are about to find out what these aspects are, what a pitch is, and how best to present a start-up project.
Why submit a start-up project
There can be a variety of reasons for presenting a start-up project: it can, for example, serve to summarize and clarify the key elements of your business idea or to better describe your start-up to collaborators, employees and suppliers or even to generate interest in the media and among the public.
Presenting a start-up project, however, is mostly about persuading funders that your company has what it takes to be a good investment to bet on.
As grand and revolutionary as your business idea may be in your eyes, in fact, the growth and development of your start-up (and, in some cases, its very survival) depends on the financial resources you will be able to gather around it.
How to prepare an effective Pitch
In the previous lines we mentioned an English term, the pitch, about which it is now time for more clarity: you should know that it is precisely from this 5-letter word, in fact, that your climb to success can begin.
The start-up pitch is a short persuasive speech, whose duration can vary from a few seconds to a few minutes, that aims to present a start-up project and highlight its value and potential, so that the prospective investor listening may become intrigued and want to learn more about it. That this happens is certainly not easy: investors, in fact, listen to pitches virtually every day.
The moment of preparing the pitch is just as important as the moment of its presentation, the speech: in that handful of minutes when you are called upon to present the venture to your possible funders, the line between success and failure is very thin and you certainly cannot improvise.
To arrive prepared for your appointment, you need to know, first of all, how much time you will have. There are, in fact, 3 different types of pitches:
- the high concept pitch, in which the challenge is to summarize the business idea in one sentence;
- the elevator pitch, with which you are asked to present the business in about 30 seconds (the length of an elevator ride);
- the pitch deck, in which your time can be as long as 20 minutes and during which you can use the help of slides to make your presentation speech clearer and more incisive.
The time available is not the only variable on which your speech depends: it could happen, for example, that your company’s presentation is conducted via videoconference. The challenge, in this case, is even more daunting because possible technical glitches can compromise the effectiveness of your pitch and because keeping the audience’s attention through a screen is far more difficult.
Arriving prepared for your appointment also means getting to know your stakeholders thoroughly. You need to ask yourself the following questions: what are the interests of the potential investors who will listen to your pitch? What companies have they already invested in?
Remember the words of Peter Coughter in his book ‘The Art of the Pitch’:
“When we sell our ideas, the audience must first buy us.”
Many investors judge a company by the person pitching it, which is why it is important to show yourself confident (but not arrogant), relaxed (but professional) and enthusiastic (but inclined to listen). Testing the pitch is crucial because only in this way can you receive objective feedback and correct any weaknesses.
What is the B-PLANNOW PITCH®
In the previous lines we have collected the best ideas on how to present a startup project but we still need to get to the heart of the matter, that is, to find out the various points that your pitch will have to touch on. Generally, startuppers have particular difficulties precisely in identifying the information on which to focus the startup pitch and that is why B-PLANNOW® has decided to make available to them (and to you) its THE B-PLANNOW PITCH®, the result of years of experience in management, visual thinking, graphics and communication.
But what, concretely, is the B-PLANNOW PITCH®? It is a visual language consisting of 12 key elements that allows you to imagine, describe, share and present the best pitch for your business.
Key elements of the B-PLANNOW PITCH®
The key elements of the B-PLANNOW PITCH®, as mentioned, are 12 and describe the ideal content of a pitch. We list them below:
- Value proposition;
- Business Model;
- Financial forecast;
- Fund Raising;
- Road map.
The presentation of a start-up’s project, in essence, should start with the problem it is able to solve and describe the added value that its unique solution can create.
It is also necessary to illustrate the company’s business model and how it is scalable and replicable, as well as its level of technological innovation.
Analysis of the start-up’s potential market (from any barriers to entry to its profitability margins) is equally crucial, as is analysis of competitors already operating within it.
A passage in the presentation should also dwell on the skills and experience of the team. Finally, an effective pitch is one where investment plans and 3-5 year financial forecasts are indicated, results already achieved and those that can be achieved as a result of the requested investment. Crucially, then, it is also essential to explain how you plan to allocate these resources and what the expected development timeframe is.
How to overcome investors’ objections during the B-PLANNOW PITCH®
Of course, no matter how thoroughly you prepare your start-up’s project presentation, you must always consider that your interlocutors may ask questions and make objections.
We have previously emphasized the importance of knowing in advance who the listening investors are and what their track record is, so you can also anticipate their possible notes. Observing the interlocutors during the speech and trying to figure out which passages arouse the most interest in them is another way to intuit possible questions in advance.
In considering how to present a start-up project, generally, the critical points concern what the company is able to offer (i.e., in more practical terms, how your products or services can ensure a return on investment), who will buy the products or services (i.e., what actual demand there is for what you want to offer), and what the competition looks like (to ensure a return on investment that appears realistic your start-up must outperform competitors or, alternatively, create a new market).