Thursday April 5, 2018 0 comments
LOVELAND -- If you can’t get your message across to a potential investor or buyer within 5 minutes, you’re doing something wrong.
And that potential investor or customer is likely to simply walk away as you sadly watch them go, leaving you feeling frustrated.
But with some preparation and organization, a story can be quickly told that creates a relationship, describes a problem, delivers your solution to that problem, and can result in a successful “ask” for an investment or sale, according to Cindy Skalicky, owner of On Point Communications, who presented “Investor Pitch as Story” on Wednesday as part of the inaugural Made in Loveland Week.
Made in Loveland Week, formerly Loveland Startup Week, got underway on Tuesday and runs through Friday.
Skalicky said there are 5 pitfalls to avoid when creating a business pitch. No. 1 is a feeling that the pitch is too technical to explain, No. 2 is that there just isn’t enough time to say it, No. 3 is that it’s too hard to organize, No. 4 is that it’s not exciting enough to hold a listener and No. 5 is that you can just “wing it” without any serious preparation.
Skalicky said No. 5 is definitely not the best approach.
“There’s such value in thinking it through and not having the extra anxiety of winging it,” she said.
Skalicky said a concept called Freytag’s Pyramid -- which includes 5 parts of a dramatic story -- is the basis for her teaching how to deliver a quick, effective message/pitch.
“I learned I could lay an investor pitch right on top of this model,” she said.
The pyramid is essentially a triangle that connects the audience, the speaker and the message. Skalicky said it’s essential to take a minute to describe the problem your service or product is meant to solve.
“I’ve been too many skip the step of adequately describing the problem,” she said. “How are you going to be a (problem-solving) hero if you haven’t identified the problem”?
But she cautioned that the pitch must then quickly get to the “climax” where you reveal your unique solution to the problem.
“In a five-minute pitch, you want to be at the climax point at around 90 seconds or so -- maybe two minutes at most.”
Skalicky said good preparation should include lots of practice before a mirror and also in front of at least one other person. Above all, she said, is to be yourself.
Once you have a product or service to offer, social media is indispensable to getting the word out to the world.
Four women involved in social media gave tips on how to best do that in a session called “Social Media Management.”
Above all, they said, is to be engaging.
“If you can’t elicit engagement, your social media effort is wasted,” said Laura Alier, founder of I Love Loveland.
Another key component is content, according to Amanda Waddell, I Love Loveland social media administrator.
“If people like your content, they’ll share it and spread it faster than anything,” she said.
Waddell noted that social media postings -- particularly with Facebook -- should not be all about you and should regularly shine a spotlight on the community.
“It shows you care about your community and your neighbors,” she said. “When people see your business commenting on things happening in the community, people see you care.”
Facebook postings should also avoid strong marketing messages and try to make a connection with the reader.
“When you put a post on social media and at the end of the day no one’s connected, it means it isn’t personal,” said Kathy Dill, I Love Loveland administrative manager.
“We have to be conversational, because that’s what drives engagement,” added Waddell.
“You want to be casual and personal, like you’re speaking to a friend,” said Alier.
Also helpful for more effective Facebook postings are photo and video attachments, said Kerri Ertman, owner of Kerri Chuckles Studio.
“If you can attach a photo or a video, you’ll get more engagement,” she said.
Alier said social media definitely should have a place in a successful business branding strategy.
“It’s a great way to build a brand because it doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s free.”
For a full schedule of Made In Loveland Week events -- all free and open to the public -- click here.