Knowing how to pitch for cash is an essential skill for every business owner. As a business owner, knowing how to get funding can be the difference
Knowing how to pitch for cash is an essential skill for every business owner. As a business owner, knowing how to get funding can be the difference between keeping the lights on in your business and having no business at all. That’s we encourage everybody to strengthen this vital skill. As a matter of fact, we recently concluded our She Pitch Perfect competition where women were encouraged to submit a business pitch for a chance to win prizes. We received many great pitches and so we chatted with some of the winners on YouTube so they can share their tips. Here are some tips to help you pitch for cash, according to our pitch winners.
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Practice Pitching Your Business
There are a few things you’ll be great at overnight. If you regularly practice pitching your business, you’ll get better at it.
First-place winner, Kadijat Salawedeen from Girls Who Listen said she has entered many pitch competitions in the past and wasn’t necessarily successful. However, according to her “it just allowed me to continue to refine my words and my ideas and the way that I really pitched the business.”
Therefore, don’t be disheartened if you’ve entered a couple of pitching competitions and you haven’t won. Look at them as a learning opportunity and make sure you continue pitching better every time you enter one. One day, you’ll get the result you want.
Learn From Other Pitches
One way that second-place winner Dr. AJ Austin, from Black Women Christian Life Coaches crushed her competition was by watching their pitches. She told us, “Through my research, [I found out], there was a hashtag that linked us to other videos so I started watching the other videos and I got inspired.”
Even if the pitch competition you’re entering doesn’t have a hashtag, find out if they published the pitches of their past winners. The goal is not to copy them. The goal is to find out what the pitch organizers are looking for so that you can emulate it.
You may realize that there are no past pitches from the competition that you’re applying to. That’s okay! YouTube is a great resource for finding pitch videos and tips.
Repurpose Pitch Videos
If you want to pitch for cash, you can have videos done already. Having a couple of prerecorded pitch videos can come in handy especially when you find out about a pitch competition very close to the deadline. Dr. AJ Austin actually submitted a repurposed video and placed second in our pitch competition so it can work.
Shantè suggests having a few pitch videos handy especially if you plan on entering many pitch competitions. However, before submitting any of the videos, make sure they meet the requirements of the competition you want to enter.
Don’t Start from Scratch
You don’t have to start from scratch even if none of your old pitch videos meet the requirements.
Even though Kadijat Salawedeen didn’t repurpose her pitch video, she still used them to help her win. She told us that she picked her strongest points from her old pitch videos to use in the one she submitted for our competition. In addition to that, Kadijat made her pitch relevant to the time she was submitting it. She suggests paying attention to cultural moments. For example, she mentioned how much time was left in the year and tied it into her pitch.
Kadijat told us, “I think that that was super important for me because I realized how fast time was going and how quickly I wanted to accomplish some of these tasks that I had um on the to-do list for the company.”
Don’t Submit a Promo Video
A call for pitches is not the same as a call for a promo video. Promo videos, which are basically trailers for your business are far too impersonal. While these videos are often edited beautifully, that’s not what most pitch competitions are looking for. They’re looking for you in front of a camera and explaining:
- Your founder’s story
- The reason you started your business
- What your business journey has been like
- The impact you’re making
However, be sure to read the requirements for each pitch competition you decide to enter.
Track Your Pitches With a Google Doc
Using a Google Doc to track pitch competitions is a great way to stay organized. Kadijat admits to having a Google Doc that she tracks grants she applied to and the responses she got. If you need help, we suggest putting these headings in a Google Doc or Google Sheets:
- Name of pitch (you can hyperlink the name to the pitch website)
- Submission deadline
- Submitted (You can use Y for Yes and N for No in this section)
This is just a basic outline. You can add or remove any of the other headings that will make this doc work better for you.
Keep a Record of Your Accomplishments
It’s important that you have a record of all your accomplishments. Shantè says to make a note of:
- Any podcasts you were a guest on
- Books you’ve contributed to or written
- Blogs you’ve been featured on
You can record these accomplishments in a Google Doc that you update throughout the year. Not only will you feel great, but you can also include these accomplishments in your pitches and your pitch deck. In addition to that, you can gather statistics for your pitch deck by using the analytics from the social media accounts you use for your business.
We also recommend creating a press kit where you’d document your accomplishments and stats. A press kit is simply a document filled with information about your business geared towards media to promote your business. They can also come in handy if you’re looking for sponsorships and partnerships.
By the way, if you’re looking to get your brand out there, consider using other people’s platforms. It’s an excellent way to increase visibility and generate new leads.
Pitch to the Right People
You don’t have to apply to every pitch that you see. As a matter of fact, it’s probably better that you don’t.
Shantè says to pitch to the right people. The right people are those whose agenda aligns with yours and your target market. If you pitch to the right people, they will be able to see if your agenda aligns with theirs and you’re more likely to win. They will be more motivated to give you money to support your cause because it’s something they feel passionate about too.
If you’re not sure what your agenda is or who your target audience is, figure it out first and you’ll have success in not only pitching but in your business.
Authenticity is key when you want to pitch for cash. Nobody can be you, better than you. One great tip for being authentic is by speaking naturally. That doesn’t mean using a ton of filler words. Speaking naturally means not sounding robotic. Even though you may have prepared a script or you be nervous, try to communicate as if pitching comes naturally to you. This requires practice.
When someone is watching your pitch video, you want to make a great impression. You can do this by:
- Showing up with enthusiasm
- Being passionate about your business and your cause
- Showing your vibrant personality
- Making sure that there are no distractions in the background of your video. We recommend using a neutral background.
Not only should you rewatch your pitch videos before sending them, but you should also get feedback from someone else. This is another reason why community is important to an entrepreneur.
Send your pitch video to a peer and let them tell you what they think. Maybe you’ll have to record it again but at least you’re increasing your chances of winning. Getting feedback is a great exercise whether or not you’re new to pitching. Sometimes you may not be aware of how your messaging sounds to someone else and this can hurt your chances of winning.
Some other nuggets of wisdom from the conversation are:
- Share your personal journey but make sure you show how it’s relevant to the competition.
- Include stats where necessary.
- Show what your business was able to do without grant money and how it will transform with grant money.
- Answer common pitch questions in a Google Doc so that applying for pitches is less time-consuming.
- Read the instructions and requirements carefully and make sure that you are answering what is asked of you.
Ready to pitch for cash? We have a ton of pitch resources specially handpicked for you:
- Pitching for Profit: The Bad Bitches’ Playbook to Convert Conversations into Currency
- How to Pitch For Free Money For Your Small Business
- How to Pitch for Free Money (YouTube Video)
In addition to that, when recording your pitch videos, we recommend using Zoom or Stream Yard.
In conclusion, take the time to learn how to pitch for cash and it can make all the difference in your business.
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