The 30-Second Startup Pitch: Tips on What to Do and What To Avoid

– Hey gang, so I just got
back from a conference where I got to witness
a speed pitching event where 100 businesses each
got 30 seconds to present their company, their startup. It was very fast, fairly chaotic,
but I also noticed some patterns It was very fast, fairly chaotic,
but I also noticed some patterns in how everybody talked
about their companies and I wasn’t that impressed. So, let’s talk about some
tips on how to do it better. The very first big thing
I noticed was that it was really hard to catch
the company’s names. Now, we were asked
to vote for the best pitch but if I didn’t catch the name,
I didn’t know who to vote for. And I would turn to people
around me and ask them: Hey, did you catch that,
did you catch that? And everybody was shrugging. And what was happening there was that all the presenters would
start with name, their title, and then the company name,
then they would do their pitch and would not repeat
it again at the end. So, we couldn’t remember it. In a situation like that, the most important thing
for us to remember is your company name because
that’s who we’re trying to vote for. So, just give your first name,
forget about the titles because you’re there presenting the startup, I’m going to assume
you are a co-founder. And then, repeat the company
name again at the end. So that, one, we can find you
at the expo and talk to you and, two, we can vote for you. The second thing I noticed was that most presenters didn’t clearly
tell us who their buyers were. And if you can’t tell me who
your buyers are but you’re telling me there’s this product
that solves a problem, there’s a disconnect there. Is it really solving the problem because
I don’t know who you’re selling to? So, try to make sure that you
do describe your audiences not just the problems that your
startup is looking to solve. Most presenters complained
that 30 seconds is too brief. And it is, it goes by so fast. But, the reality is,
this day and age, the average view time of a
Facebook video is 20 seconds. So, we are challenged
with having to figure out how to get our message
across very, very fast. You only have to gain from it. And if you’re able to
do this 30 second pitch, you’re able to do a great
ad, a great video ad, and are going to be able to
capture people’s attention across multiple mediums. Now, I’m not sure if this
is a real thing or not but I noticed differences in how women pitched versus how men pitched. Men used a lot more numbers. Women were amazing at
engaging the audience. Pretty much all of them
started with story-telling saying, how many of you have experienced this, really creating that connection. Unfortunately, when you
only have 30 seconds, that takes up a lot of the time. And so, many of the presenters who took that approach ran out of time. It’s unfortunate. However, I think that was a very effective way of
getting people’s attention. And, at the end of the night, it was a woman-owned business
who won the pitching competition. I also noticed how many of the
presenters would use big words like disrupting and revolutionizing. If you are pitching an idea, it’s not disruptive yet. You have to start disrupting
for it to be disruptive. You’re not going to convince me to invest in you just because
you used the term “disruptive”. Make it happen. Don’t waste those precious 30 seconds on words that mean
nothing at this stage. Oh, and then, those of you
who tried to be funny. Here’s the thing with forcing a funny moment is that it just becomes awkward
and then the audience just cringes. So, if you’re not naturally funny, it’s okay, don’t try it because you’re just going to bomb. Similarly, if you are not a good speaker, find somebody else
within your organization who can represent you better. And here’s another thing, I lost count of how many of the presenters were wearing sneakers onstage, and not fashion, athletic apparel. I was blown away by how many people looked like they had
just rolled out of bed and got up on stage without
even brushing their hair. Now, I know, I know it
sounds shallow to give the advice to put yourself together, but impressions matter and
when you only have 30 seconds, everything matters. Any little detail could be
a turn-on or a turn-off. So do pay attention to those things. Your words matter,
your looks matter. All startups need help to figure
out their positioning statement. It doesn’t just naturally happen that you will perfect it overnight
and be able to get up there and do a 30 second pitch. I’m going to post in the
description below a link to a video by a friend of mine, Susan
Silver, with Argentum Strategy. She is a pro when it
comes to helping startups develop positioning statements. And a positioning statement
if you follow her formula, will give you all of those elements that
you needed in that 30 second pitch. During the conference lunch hour, I tried to network a little bit
and I ended up sitting at a table with a gentleman
whose name is Dick Mueller and he owns a construction
company here in Chicago and we were talking about our experience watching these pitches. And he said to me, the
best pitch is to listen. And I will leave you with that thought and I will see you back here next week.

4 thoughts on “The 30-Second Startup Pitch: Tips on What to Do and What To Avoid

  • December 28, 2018 at 12:16 pm


  • December 29, 2018 at 4:40 am

    You on kik?

  • December 29, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Unless you're selling breast implants, your message is lost on presentation.

  • April 25, 2019 at 7:33 am



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