How to make an impactful Idea Pitch

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Idea Pitch is an important step in TES’s PGPE Admission Process.

It is also a stumbling block for many. I asked an entrepreneur who recently got angel funding, “Tell me, how difficult it is to make an idea pitch”? He replied, “Initially it was very challenging for me, until I figured it out after a few rounds of practise.”

Idea pitch is your best opportunity to convey the power of your idea. It is also an opportunity for you to demonstrate your passion, belief, persuasiveness and determination. A Venture Capitalist, who supports TES, said, “Coming up with an idea is difficult. But convincing others with your idea is really difficult”.

That means, the only way you could make a better pitch is be convinced about your idea.

Know the pain that you are addressing

Ask yourself, what real life problem is your idea solving? Is it really ‘real’?

The problems are ‘real’ only when there are people who suffer from the problem. Identify the set of people who are going to benefit from your solution. What commonalities are their in these people. Identification of common things will help you know your target segment. For example, a prospective student came to TES with the idea of setting up a chain of affordable coffee shop, said “I want to give best coffee to students at least cost”, therefore his idea is to set up small 10 feet kiosks near colleges offering take-away coffee. The clarity of his message was universal. It immediately got registered with the interviewers.

We went on to inquire more about his idea. So, he was asked to explain the market potential. Simply put, market potential is an assessment of how big is the market. How many customers could be possibly served by the Coffee chain. The student rationalised, “I will have 1 coffee vending machine which can serve unto 30 cups an hour. If I keep the stall open from 8am to 8pm, I could possibly sell 360 cups a day. However, half the time, students are attending classes. Therefore, I expect to sell 180 cups a day”.

The other way of finding market potential is using top-down approach. Starting with how many coffee drinkers are there in India, what proportion of coffee drinkers are studying in colleges and so on.

The next question discussed was about challenges in setting up Coffee Chain. To which the student suggested getting shops at right location, having trustworthy employees and creating a brand. The interview board rightfully, would think of several other challenges such as degree of competition, issues of scaling up, supply chain etc., however, the clarity of students response impressed everybody in the panel.

Conclusion

Summing up, making an impactful pitch is about five things

  • Statement: Coming up with a brief statement about your idea. Ideally this is 20 to 30 second rehearsed statement. For example, Mosquitoes are everywhere in India. However, we do not have a mosquito repellent that does not require electric supply. My product is a battery operated mosquito repellent
  • Pain: Appreciation of the pain / suffering of a real person. For example, “When I went for camping, I was bitten by thousand mosquitoes”
  • Market Potential: Knowing the market potential of your idea. You can do this is several ways. Clustering real people into a group can be a good starting point. For example, “The mobile mosquito repellent is ideal for campers and backpackers”
  • Challenges: Understanding of the challenges that you are going to face in your idea. For example, “Although I have made this mosquito repellent, backpackers are used to carrying mosquito repellent cream. I see competition from these creams. However, people are not happy applying creams to their bodies as it is sticky, smelly and often injurious”
  • Practise: This is the most important step. Noted author, Malcom Gladwell talks about “10000 hours” as the secret of success. Recently, when Sachin Tendulkar was asked the secret of his success, he said, “Practise, Practise, Practise”. Hence rehearsed idea pitch is always a great pitch.

Idea pitch is not really difficult, if you have thought through it. A few hours of thinking and discussion with your friends or mentors could be really useful.


by Shalini Sharma, Founder, Taurus Inc. and Marketing Consultant, TES