Pitching for Startups – Course Outline

The “Pitching for Startup” is based on 6 video sessions, a number of posts and a collection of sample pitches. While the core video sessions are available only to paid subscribers a number of portions and components are available for free on this site. Buy Now

Course Prerequisites

Course Audience

The course is targeted to students studying entrepreneurship in undergraduate and graduate programs and to would-be as well as existing entrepreneurs who would like to communicate their ideas and concepts to investors, partners and clients in an effective way.

Course Guide

Here is the structure of the course.

Session 1 – Pitching for Entrepreneurs – the Pitching framework: Making it real 28:17 mins
Session 2 – Pitching Business Plans – The voice of your customer 38:441 mins
Session 3 – Pitching Business Plans: Business Models 31:21 mins
Session 4 – Pitching Business Plans: Competition and Competitive Advantage 48:12 mins
Session 5 – Pitching Business Plans: Integrating the lessons 17:09 mins
Session 6 – Pitching Business Plans: Integrating the lessons (continued) 25:16 mins

Session One – Pitching for Entrepreneurs – the Pitching framework: Making it real

How do you get investors and business plan competition judges to take you seriously and make your pitch real and credible? We walk through the course plan and then jump straight into the structure of a good pitch. Starting from the introduction to the close. We then move on to some of the core questions that investors ask? How do you go about answering them? Within your answers what is the depth expected? What are some of the things you can do to work with your audience to leave a strong and lasting impression?

View a sample

Session Two: Pitching Business Plans – The voice of your customer

If you think of your pitch as a movie with a plot, your best bet is to build a plot that revolves around a hero (or central character) who is looking, searching or seeking something. It could be the love of his life (500 hundred days of summer), his destiny (Titan AE and/or Treasure Island) or the meaning of life (Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy) or simply escape (K-Pax with Kevin Spacey). Great movies get the audience involved from the beginning showcasing the pain and making them wish and pray for a happy ending for the central character.

Who is the Hero in your movie/pitch? No it is not you, nor the investor, nor the product. Your pitch is best delivered in third person and the pain you are documenting is the pain of the customer. And the story you really want to tell is how badly he or she wants this pain to get fixed, addressed, nuked and neutralized. Somewhere in there, maybe towards the end is space for production credits (your profile) and maybe a sexy placement for your product (showing the hero using it in exactly the right context and scene where the audience is aware of the sub text and would love the usage). But all of that comes later; this movie is primarily about your customer.

Sounds easy, right? What seems to be the problem then? The problem is that a large number of pitches start with a customer profile as empty of details as the stick figure you see below. Who is this guy, where is he from, what does he feel, how do I find him, what do I say to him, will he bleed when I cut him?

Technically speaking what you really want when it comes to your customers profile is to draw a Mona Lisa. Ideally a restored edition that is rich with colors and details. You are still missing data but at least there is a face in front of you that you can now work with. You can now add details about demographics and profiles (age, education, job role, experiences, social preferences, reading interests, family size, ethnicity, political views, and personal tastes) and any other piece that helps you understand what drives this individual.

Session Three: Pitching Business Plans: Business Models

In our last and final session on ALM, we introduce and walk through the Maturity and Rate GAP reports and use them to build and introduce the Earnings at Risk and Market Value of Equity at Risk reports.  The session uses an Excel based template to walk participants through the 4 report format, their usage and applications. Your roadmap to credibility is the list of questions you have to ask as well as answer so that your business model can get to the next stage. Starting up, we need a framework or a mind map to build a task list. The framework shared by Alex and Steve Blank does just that by focusing on the core hypothesis that you need to test, the market product fit you need to confirm and the User/Payer pitch you need to document. The two of them have gone out and said and done everything that you need to get started.

Session Four: Pitching Business Plans: Competition and Competitive Advantage

How do you dissect your competition? Is Technology a competitive advantage or not? What is the best framework that you can use to explain your strategy for world domination? What are the three primary competitive advantages and how can you test for sustainability?

Session Five & Six: Pitching Business Plans: Integrating the lessons

In our last and final two part session we bring together the entire list of lessons and try and create an integrated theme. How can we put what we have just learnt to work by learning from common mistakes teams make when pitching their product and service ideas.
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