By: Lea Hensel, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, UNI Business and Community Services
Entrepreneurial pitch competitions happen year round all over the world but this month in Iowa, EntreFEST is hosting one of the most exciting pitch competitions for start-ups and early stage entrepreneurial endeavors through a partnership with the five John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers - the EntreFEST Pitch Competition. So for those start-ups and entrepreneurs pitching, or for anyone soon competing, here are a few tips to get you started and prepared.
1. Research the Host(s) and Judges (if possible)
Make sure you research the host or hosts of the competition. This can help you to better tailor your pitch. Additionally, if you know who the judges are ahead of time, do some more research. Knowing their professions or industry focus can help you prepare for the types of questions they may ask.
2. Lead with the Need and the Who
When the clock starts, this is where you need to start. What need does your product or service meet? What problem does it solve? Who has this need or problem? Once you’ve established that, then you can move on to how your product or service is the best to meet the need and solve the problem.
3. Have a Solid Pitch
No hypotheticals. No assumptions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t resort to using these. Especially when it comes to big questions or points about the industry, the market, the target audience, etc. Know that information. And if you have a physical product, have it with you, or at least a prototype.
4. Know Your Financials
This one is crucial. Know your numbers like the back of your hand. The past financials and the anticipated needs in the short and long-term. Additionally, if you win the pitch competition, do you know how you’ll use the money? Be prepared to answer that question. If asked, don’t say you need the money for marketing. Say you need the money to implement the marketing strategy that you have already developed and explain exactly what that strategy entails. Don’t respond that you need it for inventory. Tell the judges what kind of inventory and at what quantities.