In baseball, the pitch is one of the most fundamental elements of the game. Similarly, a pitch for the small business entrepreneur is fundamental to every stage of your startup. The term ‘pitch’ can mean any number of ways in which you, as a small business owner, communicates your business message to a particular audience.
Types of Pitches
The following are some of the most common forms of pitches and in what context they are used.
- Elevator Pitch: a speech between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long that answers the question ‘What do you do?’ Think of it as how you would introduce yourself, the CEO of your new business, to a person you would encounter in an elevator. And you have until the elevator door opens and that person leaves to leave a lasting and impactful impression.
- Competition Pitch: This type of speech has been popularized by the reality TV show Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs compete against one another to win an award—often startup funding—for their new business. Duration varies depending on the competition rules, but generally less than 5 minutes. And a panel of judges scores each pitch and determines the winner.
- Pitch Deck: A presentation that is used to sell your business or idea to any number of audiences, usually investors. It draws from your business plan and is both visually and emotionally compelling often using technology, such as PowerPoint, to convey high level summaries of key components of your product, market, strategy, team and financial projections. While there are no rules for how long your pitch deck should be, 10-12 slides is ideal and should be limited to less than 5 minutes—as this is just the first step toward getting investors to close.
- Sales Pitch: A speech given to a potential customer to persuade them to buy your product or service.
- Project Pitch: A speech given to your boss, coworkers, or executive board to persuade them to act upon a new idea or project. This proposal style and length varies greatly on the audience, and aims to address a problem that is in line with the mission of the business.
Developing Your Pitch
Once you know what type of pitch you would like to develop, you can focus your style and development. An convenient tool available through the Dallas Public Library, Lynda.com, can assist you to better understand how to design and present your own pitch. This service is available through your Dallas Public Library Card. Once you successfully login to the Dallas Public Library through the Library’s homepage, navigate to the Downloadable media through the homepage’s Database option. Next, click on Lynda.com and login one more time.
The online courses even come with certificates of completion, which can be linked to the professional networking sight LinkedIn. Check out a previous blog on networking for other useful networking information. If you are a millennial or younger, think of Lynda.com as a professional’s Youtube, with a search box and filters to find that ‘how to’ video for both hard and soft business skills. This online resource hosts hundreds of trainings, workshops and insightful lectures on how to excel at creating your very own pitch.
Dallas Public Library Database Access
Want to know if you can use library resources from home and at the library locations? Find out if you can get a Dallas Public Library Card by asking the following questions.
- Do you reside in the City of Dallas?
- Are you a certified teacher or student in a public primary or secondary school within the City of Dallas?
- Are you a City of Dallas Employee?
- Do you reside in the Town of Addison?
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions listed you are eligible for a library card that would give you full access to online databases and downloadable media. Cards are issued at any of the branch locations. It is necessary to provide proof of any one of the below questions at one of the branches, with the exception being if you reside in the Town of Addison.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
Now that you understand of what type of pitch you want to create and resources for learning more, it is time to practice! A number of our partner organizations, like Launch DFW with the affiliated Dallas New Tech, Cornbread Hustle, Tech and Health Wildcatters as well as The DEC and Dallas Startup Weekend, allow people to present their pitch decks, deliver elevator pitches or even compete in pitch competitions or learn from other entrepreneurs.