10 simple tips to help you prepare for Pitch2Win!

Pitch2Win provides students at De Montfort University with the opportunity to pitch their ideas for a chance to win a £250 cash prize and an invitation to the final awards ceremony in 2017.

Students will have 3 minutes to pitch their ideas to a judging panel. Although 3 minutes may not seem very long, being able to explain your idea clearly and concisely is the first test for aspiring start-ups and entrepreneurs.

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We’ve put together some tips to help you prepare the perfect pitch!

Don’t waffle!
It’s really important to concisely include the key information about your idea, while trying not to venture out on a tangent, as you may run out of time and miss out vital information.

What is your idea and why?
Tell the judges exactly what your idea is and why it may be unique. Think about what makes your idea different and explain why you want to make it succeed. Is there a personal story behind the idea or did you experience a problem first hand which inspired you to create a solution?

Where are you now
This is all about informing the judges what you have done so far with your idea. Even if your idea is in the very early stages of development, think about how you have progressed so far and let the judges share your excitement and enthusiasm.

Customers
Demonstrate that you’ve researched your target customer by explaining to the panel who will want to use your product or service. Help the panel imagine what you see.

Vision
How do you want to develop this idea further? In other words what are the next steps? Explain how the £250 cash prize can help with this if you won.

Silence is golden
Especially well timed silences. After you’ve delivered a powerful phrase or insight, allow the judges to process what you’ve just said by having a few seconds of silence.

Practice makes perfect
We know it’s an overused saying but it’s true! Try and practice your pitch in front of friends and family that will give you honest feedback. You will want to receive feedback about the content of your pitch and your presentation style.

It is important to note that 3 minutes means 3 minutes. Once you’ve gone over the 3 minutes, a member of our team will have to interrupt you mid flow, so ensure you also time your pitch when you practice.

Prepare for questions
Very often the judging panel will want to find out more about your business idea by asking questions when you’ve finished your pitch. A good way to prepare for questions is to develop a clear understanding of the different areas of your business enabling you to answer clearly and confidently.

Final words
Don’t leave your closing statement to chance. Think about what you want the judges to remember. Have you got a website where they can find out more information or maybe you want them to remember the company and your name.

Always finish with “Thank you” and invite the panel to ask questions about your idea. “Thank-you” is a polite and punchy statement which will round your pitch off nicely.

Be passionate
Last but not least, be confident in what you are pitching, if you’re not passionate and have no faith in your idea, why should others?

For more information about the Enterprise Team and how we can help you develop your ideas during your studies at De Montfort University, please head to our website.

 

12 Steps to Crowdfunding Success

In the process of putting together a crowdfunding campaign for your new venture? Great stuff! See our 12 top tips below for running a successful campaign and reaching your target!

Keep it short, sweet and simple!
When writing your campaign description, keep it  short and to the point to catch peoples attention. Create a short story with a hard sell in about 2-3 paragraphs.

Lights, camera, action
If the platform you have chosen lets you, consider creating a short video to sell your new product or service in a visual way!

Photo Credit: dsevilla via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: dsevilla via Compfight cc

Start with something
Before your campaign goes live, make sure you have a few people lined up ready to pledge their cash! No one likes committing to something which is brand new and therefore your campaign may look more appealing if it has already received support.

Compress the time scale
Although logic suggests the longer your campaign lasts, the more time you have to reach your target! This doesn’t always work. Once your campaign is live, you’ll have to work hard to promote it and gain investment and therefore if you set it up for a month or two rather than six, you’ll keep the momentum going!

Do something every day
We’ve already touched on this slightly but be proactive when promoting your campaign by doing something everyday! Tweet your campaign and post updates about how it’s going and how far off your target you are. Social media can be a powerful tool if used correctly!

Convert pledges into cash, and “Likes” into supporters. 
If someone has already pledged to your campaign, it means they like it and therefore may be willing to pledge again to hep you reach your target! It’s easier to get repeat business then new business.

Get publicity
If there’s an interesting story behind your crowdfunding campaign, generate some PR and get the local media involved to raise the awareness of what you’re doing!

Organise off-line events
This could interlink with generating PR but arranging off-line events will also help raise awareness of your campaign and give people the opportunity to see the product in a physical form.

Match funding
Investors like to invest in something that has support. If you’re looking to raise £5,000 for your venture, try and find someone who may be prepared to match your funding if you reach your target.

Challenge yourself each step of the way!
Set yourself challenges to meet time-bound milestones along the way, and enlist your supporters to help you achieve this, with a big push at the end. The start and the finish are two key periods.

Crowdfunding: A quick guide!

Quite a new addition to the world of start-up funding, crowdfunding is a method which can be used by anyone with a new project or venture. It is the idea of the general public or investors pledging money to fund your venture in return for a benefit; this could be a limited edition product or equity of the business. Crowdfunding generally happens over the internet with lots of different crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter, Crowdcube and Crowdfunder.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is great when trying to launch a new business or a new product. The only downside is that it is all or nothing! If you don’t reach your funding target by the end of the campaign then you won’t receive a penny and your pledgers won’t be charged.

We’re going to provide you with some key steps in setting up a crowdfunding campaign!

Choose the right platform
Browse the internet and check out the different platforms for crowdfunding, there are plenty out there for you to choose from, it just depends what each one can offer and which one is going to work best for you and your venture. Give consideration to fees, social media integration and how much of the page you can brand and personalise.

Decide on your target and time frame
Work out how much the project is going to cost and use this figure to set the target amount you want to raise and choose a realistic time frame to raise the money in.

Set-up your rewards structure
Consider what benefits you will offer in return for funding pledges for your project. Make sure your benefits are something people will want, low in cost to deliver and seek engagement. Think about the structure of the rewards and what the minimum and maximum pledges will be. For example, if your project was a new book your rewards structure may look something like this:

Pledge Reward
£5 A digital version of the book
£10 A real + digital copy of the book
£20 A real + digital copy of the book + a thank you in the book
£30 A signed copy of the book + digital copy + a thank you in the book
£40 A limited edition signed copy of the book + digital copy + a thank you

Promote, promote, promote!
Once your campaign is live, it’s time for the hard work to start!  You need to make sure you reach your target by promoting your campaign out to potential future customers, friends and family. Start building a network of pledgers by asking people who have already pledged to share your campaign amongst their network of friends and family too!

DMU graduate, Illustrator and former Business Venture Competition winner Rachael Smith created a Kickstarter campaign in March 2014 to help her launch a new comic ‘House Party’. She smashed her original target and had to set up a number of stretch goals to keep encouraging people to pledge money. The campaign was really successful and you can see her Kickstarter page here.

If you need further advice about funding your business idea, book into our start-up surgery every Tuesday and Thursday between 2-4pm.