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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Art of Pitching ?

One of the best things about hearing business pitches is that there is always a new idea and a new way of looking at things. I hear a huge number of pitches in a wide variety of places – we even had a pitching session while cycling in South Africa recently. But the most impressive pitches all have a few things in common. Here are five simple similarities shared by all successful pitches:

- They explain how the new business will make a difference to customers and provide a compelling alternative to competitors. This means showing a new way of doing things to shake up the market, and explaining it in short, sharp, entertaining fashion.

- They are grounded in expert knowledge of the industry. If you are going to launch anything - a new social network, a new bank, a new fashion line – you need to demonstrate a solid understanding of the market and how you can disrupt it.

- They have a realistic plan. While high concepts are fine, pitches need to illustrate how a company could work practically. This means legal, financial and operational plans. It’s tough to include details in a short presentation, but the most engaging pitches manage to combine passion with pragmatism.

- They are in it for the long haul. Nothing stays the same, and business changes faster than most things. Pitches latching on to the flavour of the month are all well and good, but they need to communicate how the business could grow sustainably and develop in the future.

- They show their strongest hand. Pitching is all about selling your idea and your business as an exciting place to be. Highlight the strengths – especially the talented people who are working on the project – and don’t be afraid to talk up your prospects.


Virgin Media Pioneers have announced the return of our ‘Pitch to Rich’ competition, giving entrepreneurs from around the UK the chance to pitch their ideas to me and win a start-up investment.

The winning company will get a grand prize worth £5,000 including investment and mentoring plus legal, branding and marketing advice for their business. Runners up will also receive £1,000 worth of investment as well as an opportunity to build their network and raise their profile.

What do you think are the most important things to remember in the art of pitching?

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