Pitch for Perfect
Imagine you have a problem that’s been eating away at you, and you realise the same problem is a huge pain for many people as well. With what seems like a stroke of genius, you come up with an amazing idea that may solve the problem for you and others. Sprinkle in a bit of research and there appears to be a real gap in the market. Like following a good recipe, you proceed to do some work until it’s time to take your idea to the next level. You’re now at the point where you’re ready to share your idea with someone else, but how will you tell them?
To understand how to craft the perfect pitch, we spoke with renowned Aussie entrepreneurs; Tashi Dorjee, CEO of TwoSpace and Gen George, Founder of tamme.io. Both Tashi and Gen share stories about their first pitching experience and what they’ve learned through the years.
The first pitch
When Tashi first came up with the concept of TwoSpace — initially a startup that turns under-utilised restaurants into co-working spaces — he reached out to his networks. After pitching his idea to a friend, he realised his pitch could have been a lot simpler.
“My advice is when you pitch, just imagine you’re pitching to your grandparents. If you can pitch your idea, no matter how complicated it is, to your grandma in one to two sentences, then that’s what your pitch should be.”
Gen echoes a similar belief. When recalling her first pitch she explains that improvements came with persistent practice.
“Learn from each pitch. No one’s going to like your pitch the first time, but by the twentieth or thirtieth time you will have improved — and by the hundredth time, you’ll be a lot better. Pitching just takes a bit of knowledge with each new experience.”
The best advice
Startups and entrepreneurs are always talking about fast growth and rapid scale, however, Tashi can attest to a change of pace and the benefits of scaling slowly. With TwoSpace, Tashi reveals that he wanted to focus on stable growth by working on the quality of products and experiences.
“Focusing on building a community really fosters trust, which was very important for me. TwoSpace started off small with just 10 restaurants, which allowed me to figure out what works and then scaling up, rather than diluting the brand by scaling too early.”
With tamme.io, Gen and her team spent around six months preparing and organising their business before agreeing on a firm partnership. “This is the value of preparing, from the actual negotiations and due diligence were completed within two weeks.”
Regarding advice on achieving startup success both Tashi and Gen highlight the importance of relationship building. Tashi acquired his first customers by speaking to a large number of people.
“After pitching to 200 people, there will be some people who say: ‘that’s a really cool idea.’ But, of course, there will always be some people who will hate your idea.”
Through Gen’s experiences, her belief is that evolving your pitch in a genuine way is what fosters good relationships. “If you just say things just to get a deal across the line, it’s actually going to be more detrimental to you than you realise. People don’t understand that making deals is one thing, but actually maintaining what you’ve agreed to in a 12-month relationship with someone is a lot harder.”
Making friends with rejection is a crucial element in the pitching process.
“It’s fine, I get rejected all the time. It’s a part of being in the startup world,” notes Tashi. Gen also advises to not get caught up by the word ‘no.’ “Don’t be afraid to circle back around in six months, even if it’s the same person. Re-pitch and you might be surprised.”
The funniest place they’ve ever pitched? Well, Tashi admits he had one opportunity to meet someone at an exclusive event. So how do you access someone who is wanted by everyone? Follow them into the bathroom and pitch over the cubical or at the sink. Well at least that’s what Tashi did – and we’ll leave the story there.
Pitching is a major component of presenting a final solution within User Experience Design. Learn how you can create customised solutions like Tashi or Gen here.