Pitching for Business Success

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Pitching for Business Success

Pitching for Business Success!

Advice from award winning mums…

For some mums, 2008 was an award winning year. But what does it take to win a business award? Members of the MumsClub forums in particular have found success by picking up some great business titles.

MumsClub ; the business club for mums, founded by mum-of-one Jane Hopkins, was awarded the title of UPS Local Business of the Year 2008 after impressing none other than Theo Paphitis of Dragon’s Den.

Melanie Riddell, a mum and scientist from the Scottish Highlands created Sizzling Science, to provide Fun and Interactive Hands-On Science Workshops for children. Her idea and future plans helped her to pick up the MumsClub New Business of the Year award.

Claire O’Conner creator of Baby Ballet, the pre-school dance franchise was crowned Mumpreneur of the year and appeared live on ITV’s this Morning along with runners up Sharon Ward, who started Teddy and Me; tiny clothes for premature babies, and Lynn Oakes and Pamela Lowes whose business Milky moo moo, provides Cool Creative Organic Clothing Shop for Babies, Kids & Adults with Attitude.

As all of these mums know, to win a business award is great as a PR tool; a winners badge looks impressive on a website!

But what makes a successful business win an award? 

What do you need to do, to say, to demonstrate?

Who better to ask than the ladies who have done it themselves?

Lynn Oakes took time out from Milky moo moo and with the kids running berserk in the background, gave us her insight into putting together the perfect pitch…

First and foremost what you’re pitching should be something you believe in and are passionate about. This is picked up on, and if you don’t believe in your product or idea yourself, who will?

You must be able to back up everything you say in your initial entry, so although you need to make your business sounds the bees knees, be careful not to get carried away and flower it up too much, as you will need to substantiate all claims if you are put through to a selection stage.

Preparing the pitch

Writing the actual pitch depends on the amount of time you are speaking for. We found that starting with a longer pitch but then chopping it down (condensing a 1 minute pitch into 30 seconds) enabled us to literally keep the key points!

If time is short you need to focus on the strongest aspects of your business that will engage your audience (whether that is a single person or a panel or millions of daytime TV viewers!) and make your product memorable to them!

Pitching to potential stockists, investors or panel of judges is entirely different to pitching to your buying public.  That is important to remember; when pitching to a supplier, investor or judging panel, you are selling your ‘unique selling point’ and telling them how well your product or service sells to a customer – with the customer you are selling your product and how it will benefit them! It’s worth thinking from both the customer and stockist’s perspectives prior to writing your pitch so you have two angles.

Anticipate questions

You must also prepare for questions that you may be asked about your business. Know your figures and try to anticipate everything they may ask you. You need to appear 100ti clued up about the in’s and out’s of your business; your accounts, where you are now, where you want to be and how you are going to get there.

Even if you are asked something unexpected that you can’t answer, as long as you’ve already demonstrated your knowledge and passion for your product, such curl balls may not always adversely affect your overall success on the day, so relax!

The last piece of advice I would recommend is to find out exactly who and what will be at your pitch:

Who are the people you will be pitching to? Research them so you know all about them. This may give you some indication as to how they may question you (if this is to happen) for example, if they run a marketing company they are likely to ask you how you market your company or propose to.

What if camera’s are going to be there? You need to prepare yourself for that as they will be in your face and you must practice talking to one (as silly as it may seem).

Practice, practice and practice your pitch until you know it inside and out and take any information or samples which will not only back up your claims but will impress your panel and give you the opportunity to show your product off. A cue card with pointers is also handy in case you panic or freeze!

Believe in yourself, be yourself and your enthusiasm will shine through!!

And the best of luck to you.

 

 

 

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