If you have recently set off down the road of entrepreneurship, the chances are that you might feel a little intimidated by the bigger guns out there. Large corporate firms that compete for the same contracts as your smaller, less visible firm can seem like a shoo-in to win business. However, there are some clear advantages to being a smaller business entity. You can provide the personalised service that people currently crave. You can be more contactable. And you can provide a cheaper but still top quality service. To win any contract, you need to win over your potential clientele with a perfect pitch. Forget the suited and booted blue chip companies that you are competing against and focus on your own presentation and seduce your potential customers with your vision.
Know Your Stuff
Although you may be nervous presenting in front of a boardroom of well paid bigwigs, you still need to know your figures, vision and finances inside out. If you run an advertising firm and the managing director of a business wants to know the largest annual turnover increase that can be attributed to one of your advertising campaigns, you don’t want to be fumbling in a ring binder looking for the answer. People listening to your pitch won’t be trying to catch you out, but they will expect you to be knowledgeable in your field.
At the same time, you need to enthuse with your presentation. You are passionate about your ideas so make sure this shines through in the way you speak and your body language. It’s important that you maintain an open stance, smile, make eye contact, and breathe. There’s nothing worse than trying to comprehend a pitch but the speaker is talking ridiculously fast.
Dress The Part
Rocking up to a pitch wearing a tee shirt, jeans and sneakers isn’t on. Dress smartly, show your professionalism and demonstrate to your audience that this is important to you. A smart shirt, blouse, trouser suit or pencil skirt can look incredibly smart and also boost your confidence when speaking. If public speaking isn’t your forte, consider heading to an evening class to learn the nifty little tricks to hook your audience. Don’t be afraid to use props. Grab yourself a whiteboard marker and flipchart and draw out your ideas. Some audiences are much more visual and will appreciate seeing something rather than just listening. Just ensure that your drawings are preplanned, clear and relevant, rather than simply a thought shower on a page.
Using technology can also be apt at bringing a little more sophistication to a pitch. However, you must make sure that it doesn’t turn into a style over substance presentation. Remain quantitative and get your message across with your words as well as your Powerpoint.
Perfecting a pitch in practice is much trickier to do than in theory. However, by following this guide, your startup has every chance of competing against its more established industry rivals to win the most lucrative contracts.