Entrepreneurial Diary – Week 4 – Delivering the Elevator Pitch

We delivered our ‘elevator pitch’ of a single page PowerPoint poster and a 5 minute briefing to the course tutor and it all appears to be going according to plan.

the A-Team
…and I love it when a plan comes together.

Reflection on the elevator pitch

How did it go? We delivered our pitch one late Wednesday evening. Everything went well and nearly the whole team turned up as our de-facto team leader delivered our pitch using the presentation and poster I developed. Feedback was good and we have the go-ahead to carry on to the next stage.

Thinking about it critically, how do we feel about it? What could we have done differently? We discussed it the next day and generally we felt it went well. We thought it was clear and direct, keeping the proposal simple with a strong visual image to picture the proposal. One of the comments from the team is given below:

What was great about our deck [poster/presentation] was the way you brought it to life with the pictures, “People don’t buy because of what you are doing, but WHY you are doing it”. It was really powerful, I felt like I was the one in the picture.

On balance, the wording was lost on the first page due to amount, it may have been better on the second page. So you smash them with ‘why’ and then fill in the gaps once you have them one the edge of their seat.

Generally, I think we all gave ourselves a good pat on the back for this one, but there’s always more to learn.

My idea for a machine to pack yourself on the back doesn't so damn rediculous now, does it? Eh?!
My idea for a machine to pat yourself on the back doesn’t so damn ridiculous now, does it? Eh?!

Feedback on others

I did learn a good few lessons from watching the other presentations:

  • Organisation and rehearsal
    Other groups did appear more organised than ours. Most groups shared the presentation across the team, everyone with their own roles, and were well rehearsed. On the positive side, this builds a strong team image; slick, organised and prepared. On the negative side, it was a confusing hearing so many voices in such a short presentation, hampering the flow and sometimes appearing to confuse the proposal with so much input.
  • Confusing proposals and complex ideas
    One particular venture was so complex and technical that I turned off nearly immediately. It was for a specific type of biometric chip that could be inserted into the body to measure… something…

    It does what...?
    It does what…?

    I’m sure it was a wonderful idea, but I had no idea what they were talking about, I’m not even convinced that everyone on that group understood what they were pitching.

    Perhaps a potential capital investor wouldn’t need to know what it is or how it does it, but what the market is for it and how it could make a return on investment. And I’m sure that whomever they expected to pitch the idea to would know what they were talking about… I hope.

  • Stating their expected role in the venture
    I found myself wondering what role each team envisioned themselves adopting in the venture. Did they see themselves as developers seeking to sell a new product? Did they see themselves as all stages from idea through to delivery? This probably needed to be stated more clearly – What role did they plan on taking in this venture?
  • Too much information
    One team’s idea appeared quite simple to start off with, the presentation appeared to be quite focused, even if the poster seemed a little cluttered with information. I actually quite liked the idea at first; then they got into trying to explain how it would work, and then… I switched off. The process just seemed so confusing.  A comment made by someone on my group:

    As for team D… the deck  (poster) was too cluttered, lots of info, but it was too hard to understand. The questions threw them and so made me feel as if they themselves had not understood what they really wanted to achieve…

Lesson learnt – stick to the core elements of the proposal, don’t over complicate it.

  • Posters too busy
    The posters (really just a single slide of a PowerPoint presentation) were incredibly busy, with a lot of information. The whole concept of the poster confused the propositions, with the amount of information prescribed for the posters made them far too busy and confusing. Feedback from the tutor was good, but I struggled to gather the central proposition from each. We were the only group that went with a single powerful image rather than multiple diagrams, with much less information on and even then it proved too busy. As one member of my group put it:

    The diagrams did not help as I felt even more confused and again I think this is where we need to call out who the pitch is being made too and the language and information needs to reflect this.

What other groups thought of our pitch

It just so happens that someone in the team accidentally joined in with the wrong group during an online discussion group.

Totally. By. Accident... Promise.
Totally. By. Accident… Promise.

Now, I’m not condoning corporate espionage, but it was a really useful happen-stance. The group were discussing their views on the presentations. Their comments about ours were that ours didn’t seem clear on what we were trying to deliver, and that there were already other products out there similar to ours. So at least now we know what we need to be totally clear on come the next stage.

Where do we go from here? Building the proposal for the dragons

The next stage is to prepare for the full pitch – a SIX minute presentation (oh the luxury of the extra minute), accompanied by a 6 slide PowerPoint Presentation, and a five page business case and 5 pages of supporting documentation and figures. Shouldn’t be too hard…

Other articles in this series of entrepreneurial theory in practice


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: