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Perfecting your Pitch with Carol Leaman

On Sunday afternoon, Carol Leaman, CEO of 17 muscles, joined our VeloCity students to teach them how to perfect their pitches. She outlined a 20-minute pitch with 10 steps that will effectively help you answer every question potential investors might have.

These 10 steps include:

1. Elevator Pitch
2. The Problem
3. Your Solution
4. Market size
5. Business model
6. Proprietary Technology
7. Competition
8. Marketing Plan
9. Team/Hires
10. Money/Milestones

For a shorter pitch, Carol recommended not overstressing any of the previous points. You should provide your potential investors with specific, important information from each category. Areas that were highlighted as most important are the elevator pitch, the problem, your solution, your team, and how you plan to make money.

The Elevator Pitch is one of the most important steps that will allow you to grab your audience’s interest. Carol said that this should be short, simple and memorable. She suggested asking yourself the questions “what do we do?” five times to drill your idea down to the core principles. Whatever overlaps in your answers should help you create your concise elevator pitch.

When describing the problem that you will be solving to potential investors or anyone interested in your company, you need to be obvious. You should make your audience feel like the problem is one that needs to be solved: they have to relate to it and understand it. You should make them feel as though it is a problem that is relevant to them that they will actually encounter.

In order to get your audience on board with your solution, Carol said that you need to convince them that you have the painkiller, not the vitamin – they need to know that your product will eliminate the problem, not just make it a little bit better. She suggested describing how your product will make customers happy. Tell your audience how your product does it better and different than anyone else.

When pitching to anyone, especially an investor, it is important for you to tell him or her about your team. They need to know whom they are getting involved with. Tell them what each member of your team will be in charge of as well as what experience they have. Carol mentioned that venture capitalists (VCs) especially like geeks, entrepreneurs who have sold to companies and sales/marketing people who bring in customer’s money.

Explaining how you will make money convinces your audience that you are creating an actual business. You need to specify your market and it’s size so that investors know there is actually money to be made.

We really appreciate all of Carol Leaman’s advice! We hope everyone uses these tips while working on their VeloCity Venture Fund pitches.