They say that behind every successful man is a strong woman. In the world of pitching you can say that behind every successful pitch is an interesting idea or an important message. In this article we look at why the idea behind the pitch is so important and what actually constitutes a good pitching idea.
The idea as the foundation
When you pitch, you are always pitching about something in particular: you have a message. You have something at heart. In the business world it is often a business proposition or a product that is the foundation for your message. Therefore, the idea is the reason for why you even want to pitch and why it is relevant for others to hear. A strong pitch is build around a strong and interesting message. You may be a good communicator but if the message in itself is not interesting or relevant, the pitch will only be good entertainment at best.
Therefore, the idea is the foundation along with being crucial to a convincing pitch. When I talk about the idea it isn’t just about the fancy solution or great product. The solution is only one part of the idea. The other part is the problem or need, which the solution is created to fulfill. The problem is important to highlight here, because it is often the most important thing to the receiver. The problem and the solution constitute the core of the message of your idea- or business pitch.
Don’t pitch shit! …but pitch what you’ve got
In his speech “How designers destroyed the world”, Mike Monteiro, a very talented and acknowledged designer, encouraged other designers to work only with projects that will contribute positively to the world. “Don’t build shit!” he expressed very clearly, and the same can be applied to the pitching world. Don’t pitch shit!
When you pitch, you are both affecting people and contributing to the creation of the world. Therefore, it is essential for both you and your team members that you spend the time on something interesting and important. As the saying goes – if you don’t have anything good or important to say, don’t say anything at all. With that being said it may be important to pitch your idea early in the process, even though it is not complete or perfect. It may seem a bit ambiguous at first but it actually isn’t.
Interesting and important ideas are the point of departure for a good pitch – not to be confused with complete ideas or propositions. You don’t have to have a solid and complete idea in order to give a good pitch. It is more than common to pitch an idea at a very early stage in the world of entrepreneurship – and it may already take place at that moment, where you have discovered a problem or have seen an opportunity to create a need.
It can save you a lot of time and give you substantial feedback if you pitch at an early stage, which can also improve your performance next time you pitch the idea. The idea can’t be flawless from the beginning; therefore, it is perfectly okay only to pitch what you got. Then you can point out that any help or input is much appreciated in the further development of the idea. Take advantage of any possibility you are given to pitch for your friends, family, business partners and potential clients. In that way you can become sharper and improve the core of the message.
When the idea is clear…
… you have the most important tools in the box for creating a good pitch. In order for you to translate a good idea into a good pitch, you must have a clear understanding of your idea: the problem and the solution. The more you understand the idea the better you can communicate it. It may sound very basic but one of the main reasons behind not being able to get the message across is often caused by your own disperse understanding of the idea. The simplest idea in your head is not necessarily clear and explicit enough for others to understand. If you haven’t determined the absolute core of your idea, it may be beneficial for you to focus on improving that before pitching other aspects.
When you have determined the core of your idea – or maybe you have done that already – you can begin to expand the pitch with additional, relevant and great content. If you are pitching in front of a friend, colleague or advisor, you may find yourself presenting the next steps in the process or the challenges you are currently facing. If you are giving a pitch to a potential business partner, it may be an advantage for you to talk about the exciting tasks of your project and where help is needed. To the investor you may have to incorporate the considerations regarding sales, marketing and income sources.
On the other hand, if you are pitching to a potential client you may have to elaborate on the advantages of your solution relative to the competitors’ and highlight why you would be the perfect business partner. To put it briefly, the remaining ingredients of your pitch must be tailored to the context. But remember: spend your time on the core of the idea; it is the foundation for a great pitch.