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How to make a great small business pitch

By Samantha Garner | September 24, 2010

GoForth Institute is excited to deliver small business training to the winner of the University of Alberta’s Perfect Pitch competition. Part of the overall prize package, the winner will receive mentoring, workshops and training in GoForth Institute’s 100 Essential Small Business Skills TM.

This got us thinking about pitches, so on our Facebook page, we asked entrepreneurs to tell us about some of their memorable small business pitches.We want to know what worked, what didn’t work and what their favourite pitch strategies were. Tell us your pitch stories in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.

Stumped or scared when it comes to making pitches? Share your advice, or take some free inspiration from our list below.

Tips for making pitches about your small business

We know that making pitches to potential investors or customers can be nerve-wracking, so here are some tips:

  • Know your numbers – things like yearly sales (volume and dollar amount), cash flow projection and net worth.
  • Know your business. You should be able to, when asked, describe your business model, explain what unique need your small business fills, who your competition is and your marketing and sales plan – to name a few.
  • Research your potential investor or customer so you can speak accurately to what they’re looking for – and so you know what issues may arise.
  • Act natural! Making pitches is a lot like public speaking, but they don’t have to be terrifying. Just be professional, friendly and try to relax!
  • Practice in front of your business partners, trusted friends or family or even in front of your mirror. The purpose of this is not to memorize your “speech,” but to pinpoint strengths or missing pieces. Some cities even have networking groups where entrepreneurs just like you can practice their pitches.
  • Be concise. You might have five minutes to make a pitch, or you might have 30 seconds. Prepare a few pitches of varying lengths that get the point across and sound compelling.
  • Put yourself on the other side. If you were being pitched to, what questions would you ask? Make a list of these questions to help you become better prepared.

Here’s one more tip for making pitches – start watching the CBC TV show Dragons’ Den. No, we were not paid to say this; we just really love the show! Tune in for even a couple of episodes and you’ll get some free education on how to make a small business pitch.

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