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How to pitch your startup

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

Sell your vision

To attract investors and customers, you have to be able to sell your vision effectively - which is a lot easier said than done. You need to get people excited about your startup’s product, which means you must have your pitch prepared and ready to go at any moment’s notice.

You’ll also need a pitch deck - this takes the highlights of your business plan and makes a presentation document that will be no more than 20 slides long. It can be printed and left with people, or emailed, or just used as a presentation (so think about colours and format). Always remember your slides are there to support your delivery, not replace it.

The contents are often simply those in the Executive Summary part of the Business plan, but turned into bullet points for use on a screen. There should always be one, maximum two slides on financials.

Finally you need a one or two page teaser - this is something that can be mailed to potential investors or introducers to get them excited about your project.

The ability to sell your vision is crucial, especially in the early phases of your startup when you haven’t got a lot to show investors.

But even if you’re in a good position to be pitching to investors, it’s important to know what to mention to get them interested. For a couple of ideas, see the previous chapter. Once you know what you’re going to cover, it’s time to practice the delivery, which is arguably the most important aspect of your pitch.

How to pitch well

A strong delivery of your pitch is paramount, and the way you lay out your arguments, facts and figures plays a huge role in that. Although we can’t help you with pre-presentation nerves, we can give you an outline of a super effective way to pitch.

Here are the seven steps you’ll want to follow:

1. Describe the big picture

This provides your audience with context for your pitch. Before you get into the specific details of what exactly you’re pitching, make sure you set the scene so that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want people to be confused from the start and have to play catch-up throughout your presentation, it does not make for a persuasive pitch.

2. Highlight the problem

Once you’ve described the big picture, move on to the problem that you’re addressing within it. Make sure you highlight why it’s a problem, and more importantly, why it needs to be solved.

3. Present your solution

Introduce your solution, show how it’s effective and better than your competitors’. You want to make your audience think “why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?”.

4. Demonstrate credibility

No one will invest in your startup if they don’t think you are credible. Let your audience know why you’re the best-suited to tackle this problem. Share your relevant facts and figures, and maybe highlight one or two small issues that you are working on.

It’s good to show that you know what’s happening in your business, whether it’s good or whether it needs improving. This will let investors know that you care about your startup and that you are honest. If people don’t think you’re honest, they certainly won’t think you’re credible. If you have one, point to the experience your advisory board brings to the business, strategy, and the introductions they can make - this further enhances your credibility.

5. Discuss your idea’s potential impact

It’s not enough to present a problem followed by its solution to get people excited. Blow them away with the huge impact your idea could have, will it disrupt industries? Will it change the way we live our every day lives, save the environment?

6. Talk money

Know your numbers and stick to them. Don’t try to bamboozle your way to an investment by fluffing the numbers, because any smart investor will be able to tell, and you will have broken their trust. They might even tell other investors to watch out, which would massively affect your reputation and chances of securing an investment.

7. Summarise

End with a summary of all the key points you made during your presentation. Think of this as an elevator pitch, reiterating your idea, why it matters, and why you’re worthy of an investment.

And then open up the floor to questions.


How to answer questions after a presentation:

The way you answer questions after your pitch could make or break it for you.

That’s why it’s important that you prepare for questions in advance. Obviously there’s no sure-fire way of predicting exactly what you’re going to be asked, but that’s not a reason not to be prepared.

Try and put yourself in the shoes of an investor and think about what they might want to know at the end of your pitch. If you’re struggling, then a good solution is to practice pitching in front of others, and see what types of questions they ask.

When asked a question, make sure you listen to the full question before you answer, and make sure you understand it. If you don’t, let the other person know. Don’t be afraid to pause and think after the question, you can’t be expected to know everything off the top of your head within a moment’s notice.

Once you’ve responded, ask “Does that answer your question?” to check if the person who asked the question is satisfied before you move on.

If for any reason you’re asked a question to which you do not know the answer, be honest and say so. This might not be ideal, but again, it shows transparency on your part. Respond by saying that you’ll look into it, and send out an email to answer the question as soon as you’ve figured it out.

It’s much better than making something up on the spot, trust us.


Practice the pitch with friends and family (or maybe SUG’s), and to watch Dragons Den - it’s exactly what you will go through when pitching. Make sure you know your pitch and are prepared for questions.

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