How to structure a pitch

the pitch.pngLike most people I had no idea but I knew learning how to do this would be great experience.  I entered ‘The Pitch’ – UK’s ‘biggest small business pitch competition’.  The aim of the programme is to enable entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level through live events offering skills development and exposure.  There is no equity stake taken.  The idea of the pitch is not necessarily to get investment, but more about getting exposure, help and support.

Between 300 – 400 applied and I was delighted to get into the top 50.  The brief was to deliver a 90 second pitch in front of all the other contestants and the event organisers.  The pitches were recorded and sent to judges who reviewed them over the next few days.

There were several workshops in the morning and what it taught me was my pitch was pants.  I’d not considered why anyone else would ‘care’ about what I do.  I was busy trying to communicate the ‘why’ (yes I’ve watched the Simon Sinek TED talk) but failed to include anything about why I was personally credible or what external validation of the idea has already been shared.  Annette Kramer ran a really useful session on how to structure a pitch and it was great.  It resulted in me completely rewriting my pitch – which then saw me into the final 15 selected (whoop).  Given I’d ditched everything I’d started with, I can only credit this to the structure given, which I’ll share here:

1.        Introduce yourself and the name of your business with a one line overview of what it does.

2.       Provide an overview of the problem you are solving

3.       Indicate why you are the person to solve this problem – what makes you credible?

4.       Describe how your business is designed to help eliminate the problem

5.       How is it working so far?

6.       What is the potential size of the market – what is the potential of your business?

7.       What help you need and why you are here

Here is my pitch – you can see how short it is and how this only took 90 seconds:

1.       I’m Lucy and my business is ViewVo – a job shadowing service to help people who want to change career make better decisions

2.       Before they spend years retraining for careers they won’t like or investing savings in starting up businesses they don’t know how to run.

3.       I’m a chartered psychologist and used to be head of graduate recruitment for an investment bank and was global head of recruitment for a strategy consulting firm.  Through my own research, interns after two years were happier and more productive in their jobs than those who came in off the graduate schemes.  It isn’t rocket science – we make better decisions when we know something about the job we are going into.

4.       There is currently no practical or meaningful way to experience a different job before making significant investments in retraining.  ViewVo is a marketplace: think Airbnb, but instead of renting out rooms in your home, job holders/business owners rent out their experience and their job to those wanting to learn more about them.

5.       It works.  We’ve done 16 trials so far and have just taken on board our first corporate client.  Jonathan wanted to run a brewery. He’d saved and for a year had been planning and speaking to people in the industry.  Before investing in a business, he spent one day shadowing a brewery. At the end he told me he no longer wanted to run a brewery!  ‘It’s cold, smelly, my back ached, everyone else was in their 20’s – I’m in my 40’s’.  He now runs a beer retail boutique selling craft beer. Shadowing gave him the insight he needed to make a more informed choice about what would actually suit him.  Jonathan is one story, but there is significant academic research which also provides compelling and strong support for the importance and utility of experience when it comes to making better decisions.

6.       There are over 15 million people in the UK over the age of 40, 55% of whom are actively considering making a career change in the next 2 years.

7.       I can’t target everyone and need to focus so I’m here to ask for your help to give me exposure to reach them. 

Click here to learn more yourself about The pitch competition

Hopefully you’ve found this useful – good luck with your own pitches!


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