Behind the scenes as a panelist on BNN’s The Pitch

I’ve been asked how I prepare for my appearances as a panelist on BNN’s new show The Pitch.  There’s nothing like a live national television show on the most respected business news network in Canada to motivate me to do some homework!  I have the regular “do I have broccoli in my teeth” fear of appearing on national television, but I also fear not being able to help move the pitcher’s business forward – even just one small step.

So, the week before each show, the producers give me a one-page outline of the pitcher and his/her company. From there, it’s up to each panelist to prepare for the show as they see fit. My approach is to learn the pitchers’ businesses well – understand their business model, revenue model, competition, key differentiating feature and unique selling proposition (that secret sauce or element that makes them so special), addressable market – all the usual.

Having taught MBA courses in strategy as a professor in my former life, I know the points of analysis, but the trick is to prioritize my questions for the pitchers – knowing that the other panelists are likely to drill down in the same places. My background in market research makes me gravitate toward the market, addressable market and marketing research foundations of their business plans. To me, all good things come from our customers – sales and revenue (obviously), testimonials and word of mouth advertising, but also great product ideas.  I like to see proof the pitchers are engaged and listening to their customers.

Hats off to BNN for creating a great show! My next appearance is this coming Wednesday, December 8. The show airs at 11.30am ET/8.30 am PT, but it’s available online very soon after it airs. Tune in next week and see which pitch makes the cut. And if you’d like to be on the show yourself and pitch your ideas to an expert panel of businesspeople and financiers, email us!

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