How to pitch your idea at Startup Weekend Khartoum
|November 9, 2014||Posted by Tim_Gardner under failure, hot tips, startups, winning, work|
On Thursday evening you’ll be given just 1 minute to pitch your idea at the inaugural Startup Weekend Khartoum. How to even? Because overwhelming excitement, it’s totally plausible that all 100 participants could be pitching their startup idea. How will you stand out and get your idea endorsed by the crowd? How will you attract co-founders and form a capable, cohesive and victorious startup team? #SWKhartoum will be limited to 20 startups only. That means only 20 ideas will make it through the 1 minute pitch playoff. The rest will be culled. If your pitch isn’t successful, you’ll have to sideline your idea for now and go join another startup and help work on somebody else’s idea. If you want to turn your idea into a startup, you’ll need to be pitch perfect and you’ll need to attract the right co-founders. Here are my Top 5 Tim Tips to help you hone your pitch, get support and realize startup glory!
Enthusiasm is infectious
It’s not just your idea potential co-founders will be attracted to; people want to work with people that they like. You could have the best idea in the world but if nobody wants to join your team then bad luck. You need to assert your likability the moment you begin to pitch. 93% of communication is non-verbal, you will be communicating your idea without even speaking. Knowing this, how can you leverage it to your advantage? One of the easiest ways to look like a capable startup founder is to actually look like one. Dress to impress. Make an effort. It’s simple, but effective. You’ll need to competently manage your body language – smile, express enthusiasm, make eye contact and acknowledge everybody in the audience – some of them could be your co-founders! Inspiring founders exude confidence and tenacity when they speak. You can hear it in their tone of voice. How can you replicate this trait? It’s simple. PRACTICE.
Top Tim Tip: Practice makes perfect! Practice your pitch right now! Write your script and practice your pitch out loud in front of an audience a minimum of 6 times.
Your 60 second pitch will be roughly broken up into thirds;
~ 1/3 to introduce yourself and establish credibility,
~ 1/3 to frame the problem that your idea will solve,
~ 1/3 to solicit for co-founders.
Your time spent on each segment is by no means rigid; you could do a quick intro, explain your idea in more detail and then spend the last 5 seconds canvassing for potential teammates. That’s great but will it be successful? You need to nail your pitch timing if you want to win. You need to create an instant rapport with your crowd and you need to do it within a minute. How can you create credibility as a startup founder instantly? When you introduce yourself, you need to immediately establish authority. State exactly what it is that you think will make you an exceptional startup founder. What skills and experience are you bringing to your idea? For example: Hi, my name’s Tim and I’ll be an awesome startup founder to work with because I’m hardworking and have ninja programming skills.
Top Tim Tip: Establish authority. Tell your audience exactly why you would be a great startup founder to work with. What skills and experience are you bringing?
What exactly is your problem?
This is where a lot of startup ideas fail. They don’t focus on creating a product that solves a problem. They just want to make something that they think is cool and hope everybody will maybe want it. You need to be very specific about what the problem is that your idea is trying to solve. If your startup idea is to develop a game on Android then the problem you are solving is merely boredom alleviation. You also need to consider your potential customers. Are there going to be enough customers who will pay to have their problem solved by your solution? Co-founders will be drawn to ideas that they think can win Startup Weekend. If you clearly state what the problem is in your pitch and then address how your idea is going to solve this problem then you should have no trouble passing the pitch round and attracting an awesome team.
Top Tim Tip: What is your problem statement? Frame it as a question to your audience and then indulge them with your proposed solution. For example: Have you ever been waiting for a bus and you got bored ?
Ask and ye shall receive
The final third of your minute pitch is your chance to recruit your startup dream team. You should be familiar with your own set of limitations and what type of talent you’ll need to coax. If you’re a techie and you have sub par design skills, ask for a designer. If you’re a designer but have no business skills then ask for co-founders who can augment your shortfall. If you have no design or tech skills then ask for those that can fill your skill deficit. Don’t be shy. Be honest. Ask for the exact help that you will need. Individuals don’t win Startup Weekend. Teams do.
Top Tim Tip: How well your team performs together is part of the judging criteria. Respond accordingly!
If your startup idea doesn’t make it through the 1 minute pitch round, don’t be a baby about it. You have one of two ways to respond to your idea getting rejected. Nobody likes a cry baby so move on graciously and go choose a team to join. Choose wisely because Startup Weekend is a time to work with brilliant people and it’s a time to show off your skills and capabilities.
Top Tim Tip: It’s not what you know. It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you… After 54 hours at the inaugural SWKhartoum you will get known for something…