For the last few months, BBC One has given us a wonderful opportunity to watch some great, and some not so great, pitches. The very thing we teach you about at CWC!
These two programs give you the opposite sides of business pitches and we would like to delve a little into how each one differs and the real world relevance of each one.
Running for its 13th season, this series replicates how small businesses approach Venture Capitalists to acquire additional funding to help them up to the next stage of their business. This is given an extra tweak in the TV format in that you have 5 VC’s in one room and each has their own specific portfolio of expertise.
When a contesting business enters the ‘Dragon’s Den’, they will have had time to prepare their pitch. They will often have props, product samples or some other gimmick to engage with the Dragons before they start their main pitch or speech. There could be one or two people from the expectant business talking. They stake their position in the market and also their position on how much they would be prepared to give away of their business before the Dragons poke, prod and pull apart the business plan before making an offer, or not.
When you present at networking events, you are not just pitching to 5 people, you could be going up in front of up to 30 other potential customers. You’re not asking them to invest for a share of your business but you ARE asking them to buy in on what you offer.
Businesses entering the ‘Den’ will spend weeks putting their pitch together and making sure they get ALL their ducks in a row before the step out of the lift. Or at least you hoped they would. Some clearly don’t and get no investment, as they prove themselves less than credible.
If you are to present yourself as the ‘go to’ guy or gal, then you must make sure you can answer any questions. You’re not asking for £50k but you are still hoping that individuals in the room are willing to part with their money in buying your product or signing up to your service.
Take the time to prepare.
And talking of taking time… Yes, it’s another time for Lord Sugar to quip his one liners and point the finger as some of the UK’s ‘best and brightest’ battle it out for investment.
Best and Brightest? Really?
Well, actually they probably are when it comes to playing the game by the correct rules. But The Apprentice doesn’t do that!
If you take Week 10 (the Baby Food task), you will have seen 6 fairly intelligent entrepreneurs look like imbecilic toddlers as they floundered around pitching to industry professionals.
But that’s not quite fair on them if truth be told. In the real world, you don’t develop, brand and pitch a new product in less than 48 hours. How can you confidently pitch a product that didn’t even exist 24 hours ago?
The way the producers of The Apprentice mess around with the natural order of business processes is clearly done for entertaining purposes but creates a very unnatural situation for the contestants. If this show teaches us anything it’s that you really do need to spend more time working on the way you communicate your ideas and plans to the people around you. It also shows us that even the most educated people can drop the ball in their chosen area of knowledge when put under abnormal pressure.
If the contestants were allowed the flexibility and time to refine their products and pitches, get support from some outsourced expertise… this time next year, they could be millionaires!
So to conclude. Preparation is key.
Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail
Learn how to be more prepared in your presentation pitches with CWC.