Seven business pitch mistakes you MUST avoid

Preparing for an important business pitch? Read seven big pitching mistakes you MUST avoid if you want to be successful.

If you’ve ever watched The Apprentice you’ll know just how horribly wrong pitching your business can go. If you’re not properly prepared, or let nerves get the better of you, you could miss the perfect opportunity to take your business to the next level.

Two people who know just how nerve-wracking pitching can be are Joyce de Haas from Double Dutch and Gem from Cauli Rice. At the end of last year they, along with two other winners from the Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur festival, were flown out to the US to pitch their products to buyers at the Target Corporation.

Supported by Virgin StartUp, the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Paul Lindley, founder of Ella’s Kitchen, both Double Dutch and Cauli Rice successfully landed a six month trial in US stores.

Now Joyce and Gem are sharing seven big business pitch mistakes you need to avoid if you too want to make the right impression.

Four business pitch mistakes to avoid from Double Dutch

Joyce de Haas from Double Dutch shares four pitching mistakes she learned from her experience at Target.

1) Not understanding the customer

It’s important to really know your retailer’s target customer including their demographics and characteristics. Take the time to understand how they think and what their current choice of products in your segment is.

You can’t assume customers will know how to use your product – especially not with a product like Double Dutch that is innovating a category that hasn’t changed a lot over the years.

2) Underestimating the importance of branding

We have changed our labels a lot over the past, but mostly looked at the attractiveness of the label and whether it will stand out on the shelves.

During our pitch we learned that having a beautiful label or a great product isn’t enough. It is important to actually communicate to the customer through your packaging what your product is about, interact with them in a personal way and educate them how to use your product.

3) Not having a back-up plan on the day

We put a lot of time on making a visually attractive slide deck when we pitched to Target during the Virgin StartUp trip. After setting up our pitch deck we realised they didn’t have a white blackboard to project the slides on so a lot of the visual aids didn’t have the impact we had hoped for.

Even though it was just a small problem, the key thing we learned is to always be prepared for a backup plan, especially with technology. We will never forget to print out our slides in the future!

4) Not saving something for your finale

We explained everything in the beginning and wanted to impress from slide 1 and this didn’t make our end as strong as it could have. I think it would be better to balance success points, such as starting with a big statement (especially in the US you can be bold) and ending with your biggest achievements so far.

Three business pitch mistakes to avoid from Cauli Rice

Read three pitching mistakes to avoid by Gem from Cauli Rice.

5) Not highlighting your entrepreneurial story

Always talk about the journey behind building your business and really try to bring this to life and capture your audience imagination. This is probably one of the most important aspects that will help make your product stand out.

6) Not doing your homework

Your product may sound great to you, but others may need help understanding why your product is so important.

So gather all the facts and figures that can help highlight the need for your product. Do your research about the product category you are entering, and sight facts and numbers showing that there is a gap in the category which your product is able to fill.

 7) Underplaying your marketing plans

Pitching your product alone is not enough, you need to show how you will help the product move off the shelves with a strong marketing and promotions plan.

What kind of in-store promotional support can you offer and are you able to raise awareness for your product via social media or other channels?

Need more business pitch tips?

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