The importance of the pitch cannot be understated on the road to Startup Success. But your chances of securing investment don’t begin and end with your slide deck – it’s really just a tool that proves you have all the other essential elements in place.
One of the most important things investors look for is real, in-depth knowledge of the market. Any pitch should at least nod to that insight with slides or comments that articulate facts about your market, competition and target customer.
What makes your company different and why should anyone buy your product or service? You’ll need to be prepared to answer in-depth questions without hesitation and address key areas, including:
1. Where are your customers, especially your Early Adopters?
Carefully consider your route to market. What are the key metrics for capitalising on your market route? What data is relevant and what tools can you use?
Early Adopters are the second-fastest category of individuals to embrace new ideas, after Innovators (according to Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations).
They have the highest degree of opinion leadership, tend to be younger in age and of a higher social and fiscal status than Late Adopters, but still take some persuading before they wholeheartedly embrace a new product or service.
You’ll want to do your research, gain consumer insight and make sure you’re tapping into the appropriate market segment with a tailored message and well-defined brand.
2. What do these initial customers think and do?
Now consider your engagement strategy. How do you engage your customers? How do you retain them and build virality or word of mouth? This is where a concerted marketing strategy comes in. Just be sure to carefully consider whether you’ll be following B2B or B2C marketing principles.
3. Where is your first Early Majority, and how do they behave?
The Early Majority is the first significant segment of a population to adopt an innovative technology. This tends to be around 34% of the population – people who adopt a new product after seeing it used successfully by Innovators and Early Adopters they know personally.
These people are basically sheep and will either follow the Early Adopters or need to be convinced through a robust and prolonged marketing campaign. In terms of gaining the exposure to reach this critical mass, you’ll need to consider the following:
- How will you reach your customers?
- How will you stand out from the crowd?
- What existing channels are there for you to exploit?
The latter can include:
- Social media
Or ideally, all of the above!
So how will you build your brand? What makes you different and how will you build trust?
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