by Sarah Plasky
“If you wanna be an entrepreneur Sarah, you need to learn to pitch your idea in 3 minutes or less.”
When I heard those words from an itchy and obviously ‘tapped out’ VC guy, all I could think was, “How do you encapsulate the inventor story of idea, innovation, prototype, technology and software, preferred vendors, market story, delightful anecdote in one measly, miniscule minute?” Let’s face it, having your paragraph pitch or one-minute elevator speech is an impressive feat–and a necessity–for cocktail parties and start-up weekends, but I will tell you now, people with three minutes or less will never be your partners, investors, or clients. So what are the basics of getting your story out so you have partners, investors, and clients?
PANIC! During your Entrepreneurial journey, I guarantee you will find yourself in the ideal setting with the ideal person and you will panic. It is a given. It will be sad and it will haunt you for years and you will find yourself saying, ‘Where would we be if…”. I can assure you the best learning will come from the time you missed the mark and were not prepared enough to sell your idea when it mattered most. Use this panic to your advantage by being prepared.
PITCH MATTERS. So invest one day in a pitch session. The output?
1) What does your product do?
2) Be able to justify why your product is needed in today’s market.
3) State the three most extremely fascinating points about your product with uncontrollable passion.
Invite everyone in your start-up, a couple of trusted friends, and if you can, your mom or someone’s mom should be in your session. (Moms are great software and quality testers–someone should tell Apple!) Explain to them what your entrepreneur dream is and have them say it back a few times. Listen. Look for where they did better than you. What simple problem does your idea solve for them and how do you communicate the fix in normal people speak?
PREPARED. Now you will be prepared for when the interviewer goes ‘off-script’ unexpectedly:
So, how did I do?