For business owners, pitching your company is critical. We don’t just mean formally pitching to investors or partners — pitching also includes selling the idea of your company to anyone who is interested, including your community and potential customers. If you struggle with self-promotion, consider these tips to help you discuss, promote, and pitch your business.

Redefine “pitching”

It can help to think of pitching differently. Every time you share your business idea with other people, whether it’s to a family friend or a potential investor, you’re pitching. Essentially, pitching is sharing the story of your business.

Start by thinking about what people most want to know. Usually, this is what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and why you’re the best person for the job. We’ll dig into this more in the next section, but once you answer those questions, you’ll have a good idea of what to include in your pitch. 

Next, think about how you’ll tell the story. For this, visualize the discussion. Who are you talking to and what setting are you in? Think about the how you’d tell the story of your business to a potential customer versus a potential investor. 

These exercises can help make pitching feel more like storytelling and less like self-promotion. Not only can this make the process easier, but it can also make your pitch sound more authentic.

Broadening your definition of a pitch beyond just an investor meeting may start making you feel more comfortable promoting yourself and will help you narrow in on a refined, compelling story to share.

  Tip  

Notice how people react to your pitch and update your message accordingly. Who knows — your pitch may start to double as market research that can help you improve your business idea as you go.

Embrace brevity

You’ve probably heard of the elevator pitch — a pitch that’s concise enough to share with someone in a single elevator ride. Keep this idea of brevity in mind when you discuss your business and lead with the most useful information. (Remember, which information is most useful may depend on who you’re talking to.)

  • What problem are you trying to solve? Every pitch needs to answer this basic question, so think about how you’ll stand out from the crowd. It can help to emphasize opportunity and avoid negativity, since doing so help create a positive impression. Consider combining statistics and stories to paint a dynamic picture.
  • How do you solve that problem or challenge? Confidently explain why your solution works and why it’s unique. Explain your approach and why the “problem” is actually an opportunity.
  • Why are you uniquely suited to this venture? Often, investors, partners, and customers are won over by the person as much as the idea. Include something about your background, your passion, or your team to wrap up your pitch.

  Tip  

Write out your answer to the questions above and see if you can keep each answer to two to three sentences. Note where you might add facts or anecdotes to bring your pitch to life.

Prepare for unique challenges

Research shows women face unique challenges when pitching to investors. For instance, women may receive different questions. Women also often tend to ask for less money than men. 

While you can’t control how your pitch is received, there are certain things you can control to make your pitch as impactful as possible. 

  • What will you ask for? Be sure to have specific goals in mind, and research how realistic those things are. You may want to ask for more so you have room to negotiate, and have alternative ideas in mind in case you don’t get a “yes” to your initial pitch.
  • Be as confident as possible. Practicing your pitch in a variety of scenarios may help it start to feel more natural.
  • Prepare for questions. Research your audience and come up with a list of questions you may be asked. Consider including questions that may be unique to you as a woman or specific to your line of work — and come up with pragmatic answers.

  Tip  

If you’re looking for investors or partners, searching for people with similar interests may make pitching easier. For instance, you might seek out woman-run venture funds. You can also ask your network about their experiences pitching, including what worked, what questions they were asked, and what they learned.

Learning to confidently pitch your business can help everyone see the value in you and your company. Having a powerful pitch that you can share confidently may help you grow your business, whether you’re just starting or a veteran entrepreneur.

Sources: Fundera, Harvard Business Review

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