Common Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching | Let’sTalk Startup Online Meetup

In this blog post, we’ll share some key takeaways from the webinar – ” Common Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching,” including an exciting update. 

Yesterday, on April 27, 2023, we hosted an exciting ‘Let’s Talk Startup’ webinar where we discussed common mistakes to avoid when pitching. We were thrilled to have over 35 startup founders join us on Zoom, and the session was buzzing with burning questions and insightful discussions. 

The Zoom session was hosted by Anshuman Sinha, co-founder of Startup Steroid and Chair of TiE SoCal Angels, an angel fund investing in early-stage startups.  

“It is a 90-second pitch, a three-minute pitch, a five-minute pitch, an 8-minute pitch, or 30 minutes to pitch; the relationship between a presenter and an audience must be cracked in the first 15-30 seconds. If you have done that, you have won the war. It all depends on how good a communicator you are and how good a storyteller you are.” – Anshuman Sinha

Our esteemed guest speaker, Jerry Heikens, highlighted two significant challenges that Startups commonly face during pitches.

Firstly, Jerry emphasized that Startups often struggle with creating an overly robust deck filled with excessive verbiage. He advised that it is more effective to communicate using graphics, images, and compelling statistics. By leveraging visual elements, Startups can enhance the impact of their pitch and engage investors on a deeper level.

“Another big challenge that I see all the time is that Startups tend to think that all issue is the problem and solutions. I have seen Startups spend too much time on the problem and solution. They don’t get to the business model, how we as investors make money, and how you as a company make money.”

Jerry also noted another frequent challenge observed in Startups’ pitches. He explained that Startups tend to focus excessively on the problem and solution, overlooking crucial aspects like the business model. He stressed the importance of addressing how investors can make money from the investment and how the company generates revenue. By providing a clear and concise overview of the business model, Startups can instill confidence in investors about the financial viability of their venture.

Key takeaways from the session –

When pitching on Zoom, remember these key tips:

  1. Eye Contact: Maintain eye contact by looking directly into the camera.
  2. Make a Connection: Build rapport with your audience and share personal stories.
  3. Use Hand Gestures: Add energy and emphasis with purposeful hand gestures.

The problem and solution should be on one slide

When preparing your pitch deck, it’s advisable to keep the problem and solution on one slide. By condensing these key elements onto a single slide, you can ensure a clear and concise message to capture your audience’s attention. Present the problem your startup addresses and then transition smoothly into showcasing your innovative solution. Remember, simplicity and clarity are key when presenting your problem-solution dynamics to investors.

Breakdown of what to include in your pitch deck:

  1. Set the Stage: Start by sharing how you came across the problem you’re addressing. Tell the story of your “aha!” moment and what inspired you to find a solution. This helps your audience understand your passion and dedication.
  2. Journey So Far: Share where you currently stand in your startup journey. Highlight any milestones, achievements, or significant progress you’ve made. This shows that you’re actively moving forward and gaining traction.
  3. Show What You’ve Achieved: Present the tangible results you’ve achieved thus far. Whether it’s user growth, revenue generated, or partnerships secured, highlight the success you’ve already experienced. This helps build credibility and confidence in your Startup.
  4. Market Size: Clearly illustrate the size and potential of the market you’re targeting. Provide data, statistics, and market research to back up your claims. Investors want to see a substantial opportunity for growth and profitability.
  5. Funding Needs: Be transparent about how much capital you’re seeking from investors. Clearly articulate what the funds will be used for: product development, marketing, scaling operations, or expanding into new markets. Investors want to know how their investment will be utilized.

By following this simple method of storytelling in your pitch deck, you can effectively engage your audience and present a compelling case for your Startup.

List of Common Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching- 

Overwhelming with Information: Quality over Quantity

One common mistake we discussed during the webinar was overwhelming investors with an information overload. We emphasized that less is more! Instead of bombarding investors with excessive details, focus on presenting a concise and captivating pitch highlighting your business’s most essential aspects. You have a cutting-edge mobile app that solves a common problem. Instead of diving into every technical detail, focus on how your app simplifies users’ lives with its intuitive interface and unique features.

Lack of Focus: Stay on Track

Maintaining focus is crucial when pitching your Startup. We highlighted the importance of identifying and communicating your core value proposition effectively. For instance, imagine you’re pitching a health and wellness startup. Instead of covering all aspects of health, narrow your focus to a specific target audience, such as busy professionals seeking convenient fitness solutions. Highlight how your Startup offers personalized workout plans and virtual coaching tailored to their hectic schedules, effectively addressing their specific needs.

Failure to Address the Problem: Define the Pain Points

During the webinar, we stressed the significance of clearly articulating the problem your startup addresses. Take the time to identify your target audience’s pain points, challenges, or unmet needs. For example, if you’re pitching a meal delivery service for busy families, highlight the struggle of juggling work, childcare, and healthy meal preparation. By illustrating the problem, you create a relatable context and set the stage for presenting your solution.

Neglecting to Highlight the Market Opportunity: Size Matters

Addressing the market opportunity is a crucial aspect of pitching. We encouraged startup founders to gather compelling data to support their claims. Let’s say you’re pitching a sustainable fashion brand. Research and present statistics showcasing the growing demand for ethical and eco-friendly fashion, emphasizing the potential market size and rising consumer awareness. By demonstrating a substantial market opportunity, you instill confidence in investors about the scalability and profitability of your Startup.

Lack of Clarity and Structure: Tell a Compelling Story

Crafting a clear and structured pitch was another essential lesson we discussed. We emphasized the importance of storytelling to engage investors. You’re pitching a social networking platform for pet lovers. Begin your pitch with a relatable anecdote about a pet owner struggling to connect with other like-minded individuals. Then, transition smoothly into explaining how your platform bridges that gap and creates a vibrant community for pet enthusiasts to share stories and tips and find pet-friendly events.

Remember, the journey of pitching is all about continuous learning and improvement. Embrace these lessons, adapt them to your unique Startup, and craft a pitch that captures investors’ attention and sparks their interest. 

Exciting news – 

Let’s Talk Startup hosts weekly events every Thursday. Stay updated on our website for upcoming event details. Join our upcoming ‘Practice your Pitch’ session for real-time feedback. Make sure to refine your pitch skills and gain valuable insights. Stay tuned and join us on this entrepreneurial journey!