Today I am proud to be throwing my support behind Australia’s startup sector by getting involved in UberPITCH as part of the 2015 SydStart Conference. The initiative, which has successfully run in San Francisco and India, gives entrepreneurs the chance pitch their idea to accomplished entrepreneurs for fifteen minutes.
I’ve travelled the world for business and am confident in saying that Sydney is a hub of innovation, ideas and budding talent, so I was instantly excited when Mark Bouris reached out about the opportunity to be involved in UberPITCH.
Australians in general have a can-do-attitude which goes a long way in business and that’s something I experienced when starting up Appliances Online ten years ago. Despite my vision, at the time very few people around me believed online retail would be successful. I had to roll up my sleeves and convince suppliers that Australians would buy Appliances Online.
We are riding the digital wave however unfortunately the reality is that many startups are struggling to get their idea off the ground. As a nation we need to provide a greater level of support for the next generation of entrepreneurs and initiatives like UberPITCH are a step in the right direction.
As a judge at today’s UberPITCH event, here are my tips for how you can make a pitch stand out from the crowd:
Less is more: You’ve only got a limited time so determine what is the number one point you need to get across and focus on it. Make it punchy, know your stuff, and have research to back it up.
Be real: Take a step back and remove yourself from the excitement and enthusiasm that often comes with a new idea or venture. Look at your idea with fresh eyes and consider the brilliant, good, bad and the ugly. Be real and honest; investors are not there to rip your idea to shreds, but they will give you an honest opinion and pose legitimate questions about its viability. Pitching an original and quirky idea that has legs will grab attention, but demonstrating you have addressed every possible speed bump along the way will wow the judges.
Let passion override the salesperson in you: To stand out in the crowd show your passion rather than over doing the salesperson pitch. I’ve received so many pitches in the past that have been butchered into obscurity. Making yourself sound clever isn’t as clever as you think!
Outline but don’t over exaggerate the growth opportunities: Being realistic with targets is more impressive to investors than hyping up the growth. Sometimes too much growth at once can kill a business idea.
Visuals do help: If your business idea is simple or complicated, a visual in the form of the actual product, an infographic or even a quote that demonstrates why your business shows promise helps to get the point across in a short time frame.
Make them remember you: Whether you use humour, demonstrate something they have never seen or demonstrate that you know something your competitors don’t.
Be confident no matter what: Back your idea and yourself all the way. If you don’t believe in you, neither will the judging panel.
About the author:
John Winning is the CEO of Winning Group and Founder of Appliances Online. Today, John leads four separate business entities and employs more than 500 staff across Australia as CEO of Winning Group. John was recognised as CEO Magazine’s Young Executive of the Year in 2012 and was also Retail Executive of the Year in 2013 and 2014.