Over the years I’ve pitched a lot of ideas and seen a lot of ideas pitched. Some of them are great,  while others, let’s just say they are nowhere to be found.

Thankfully, because of the people I hang out with, I get to see a lot of pretty cool businesses ideas. Some of them are entrepreneurial, some are save the world, and others, we don’t have a class for yet.

Myself, I love pitching ideas, but even better than that is watching other people pitch their ideas. It really gets me pumped up to see their passion, energy, and intelligence around their idea. However, most of the time the real pitch itself is far from good. In fact, it is crap. I am sorry, I’m just being honest here.

Creating a great pitch can be hard. I get it. I’ve struggled with this for years and pitched like crap myself. We call this trial and error, or something like that. The good news, between my mistakes and learning from others I’ve started to put together a list of things that you can do to be a better idea pitcher.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did, read this and go out and pitch like a champion. What do you say?

I don’t know who you are pitching. Maybe its friends and family, angels, VC’s, business partners, executives, or Grandma. I’ve pitched my Grandma before and got her to invest in one of my companies. Pretty funny!

You don’t want to screw this up, because if you do, you’re all done. You got one chance when you get in front of these people, so you better make it count if you want to leave there with the green or the support you need. Without the money or the support to get behind your idea, you got nothing.

Stop pitching your idea like crap, and get out there and make it happen.

Here are a few tips to help a brother or sister out.

Make sure you are solving a fricken problem.

Don’t get up their and create the next Facebook or social network, unless it solves some serious problem we have now. People are looking to invest in solutions that solve great problems, not create another problem. Make sure you take the time to explain the problem and why people are willing to pay to have it fixed.

You have a great idea with no way to make money with it

If you can’t articulate how in the world you are going to make money with your idea, then you should not be pitching your idea. This also makes you look like a moron. You have to be able to tell people how they’re going to get paid back, how the business is going to scale, and what is your exit strategy.

Stop using worthless numbers and top-down estimates

Don’t be the person that stands up there and says, “if we capture one tenth of this cabjullion dollar market we will all get rich, retire at 35, and sip margaritas on the beach.” No, no, this is not the way to pitch, it makes you sound like a complete moron. Basically, when you say this you are saying that you haven’t taken the time to define solid numbers all around.

Your visuals look like dump on a stick

This drives me nuts when people get up there and everything looks like shit. It makes you think, did they have their kid create that for them using crayons? If you aren’t willing to take the time to put something together that looks visually pleasing, then don’t expect investors to take any more time even thinking about giving you money. I try to go with the 10-20-30 rule; 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font. This always works for me.

Shut up and listen you idiot

Investors and people always have lots of questions. In fact you want them to have questions. If they don’t have questions, you got problems. At the end of a pitch, you typically will go back and forth  through a Q&A session about your idea. This is the time you should shut up and answer their questions. And be direct to. Don’t go rambling on about this, that, and the other thing. Investors want to know more about your idea, how’s it going to make money, and how they are going to make money off your idea.

We all suck in the beginning and it takes trial and error to figure it out. I’ve pitched lots of things making all the above mistakes – my goal here is to share it with you so that you can succeed and walk out of there with the money in hand.


Discussion Question?

How about you, what are your pitches like? Are they crap? Do you have any other advice you can add?