In March of 2013 I was invited to AppCademy, an accelerator for mobile apps run by AppCampus in Espoo, Finland. AppCademy is an intense 30-day accelerator program that focuses on apps, but also the businesses that produce those apps.
The first thing they had us do was to practice pitching our ideas. Most of us were not really prepared. And I wondered why they had us start with pitching. Why not do that once the app was ready to release and publicize?
Over the next 30 days I realized why they had us start with pitching. A good pitch is a clear vision of what your business is and how it will make money. The reason most of us were not good at pitching on day one was because we didn’t have that clear vision of what our business was or how it would make money. Sure, you can say “we will put ads in the app” or “we will charge money for the app”. But, really successful apps have a much stronger business model.
We pitched, and pitched, and pitched—in one form or another—for the full 30 days. By the end the idea I had for my app, Timmo’s Challenge, had morphed into a new idea with a lot more potential. One I really believed in, Ramble Rush. And my business plan had evolved as well.
START WITH A “CORE PITCH”
I now believe that a perfect pitch starts with a strong “core pitch”. One that can be tailored to be right for whomever you are pitching to. A core pitch is a two-minute pitch with the following elements.
- A Punch Line: a quick one-liner that grabs the audience’s attention
- A Problem: a problem that your target market is experiencing explained in a way your audience can relate to
- A Solution: a clear solution to that problem—again, explained in a way your audience can relate to
- A Value Proposition: in addition to solving the problem it must also save a considerable amount of time and/or money
- A Revenue Model: an explanation of how much the product or service will cost and how you charge for it
- A Team: people can be interested in an idea, but they invest in the team, so you need to come across as competent and likeable
- A Plan: you must be able to tell your audience when and where they can see or buy your product
- A Closing Punch Line: relate it back to the opening punch line, but ask an open-ended question as part of it
AND ALL OF THAT IN UNDER TWO MINUTES?
Yes, you need to be clear and concise. It takes work. Before you have the perfect pitch you will have said it 100 times in 100 ways.
I found it helpful to create a one-page grid with eight boxes. I wrote a single line for each box and then read it as I timed it. Then I would take a second sheet and make tweaks to the wording and timing and read it again. Then a third sheet, a fourth, and so on.
YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE
It is interesting to me when I’ve worked with people on their pitches and they try to defend a statement they make before I even question it. You know why? Because they don’t believe it themselves. In order to deliver the perfect pitch, you have to believe it yourself! How are you going to make someone else believe in you—invest their time or money in you—if you do not believe in yourself? You have to believe everything you say 100% and if you don’t, spend more time working on your business model before working on your pitch.
THE PERFECT PITCH FOR YOU
In the end, working on your pitch will help you be a better business person. It will help you have a better business plan. It is more than just trying to think of a way to convince someone to buy or invest in your product. It is about having such confidence in what you are doing that people want to buy it or invest in it.
About the Author
Tim Laubacher has been a web and mobile software developer for more than 15 years working in Connecticut’s insurance industry and then owning several of his own businesses. Tim currently owns two businesses; Mob Action Games and Sound Web Solutions. Mob Action Games is a mobile gaming company specializing in location based games and apps. Sound Web is a consulting company that serves startup companies that need development support for web or mobile products. Sound Web also has a product of its own called Launch EZ, which provides technology and content services to organizations that serve startup businesses.