Ability to convince, Personal effectiveness

At several points in your life as an entrepreneur, you have to present your project. Whether it is for your partners, associates, employees or potential investors who want to help and support you.

Presenting your project is pitching. If people don’t understand what you have to offer, you risk losing their support.

After following and helping several start-ups to present their project and listening to several hundred start-up pitches, here is the structure that works best.

Show your customers’ problems

Highlight your customers’ problems. Show that these problems are painful and that your customers are suffering. Show how much time, money and energy your customers spend solving these problems. How it hurts them. Show how solutions which they use today are not sufficient.

Your audience must feel this frustration, this embarrassment that the client feels. Highlighting these issues is 50% of a pitch’s job. If these pains are felt well, then your solution, your idea and your project will be eagerly awaited. And its usefulness will be obvious. To detail, explain these problems and show their importance, you can Tell a story one of your customers e.g. When the problem is obvious and even difficult for your interlocutor, talk about your solution.

Show your solution

Better than an explanation, show how your solution makes it possible to solve the problem client. Show concrete things, a picture, a prototype, the product directly and give a clear explanation. “If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a prototype is worth 1,000 meetings,” say Ideo, the company that created the design thinking method. If necessary, also talk about the technology and how your product works under the hood. If there is something particularly remarkable to say about this topic, for example, a unique technology, know-how, a network of partners or other.

Show effect

Beyond the impressive impact your solution can have, what’s most impressive is the impact it has on users and your customers. Show here how good your solution is useful and how widely it is adopted by your customers. show them concrete evidence that your customer loves your solution. Numbers like the number of clicks, the conversion rate, the number of sales or promises to buy and the word of mouth from your first customers. At this stage, you have already convinced and proven that your product is useful and used.

Show viability

If you’re looking for investors, they want to know how your business is doing. generate revenue. Although the return on investment (ROI) of early projects is still uncertain, investors try to estimate it based on the assumptions you make about revenues and costs.

Explain the sources of income, your costs and your potential margin. Distinguish between what is real, what you have achieved to date, and your assumptions about what you think might happen.

Present the go-to-market strategy

Explain how you will proceed with it cultivate income from your business. What is your business development strategy? How will you reach more customers? How will you keep selling? How do you want to make yourself known? Through which channels? Who are your distribution partners?

The team

Present them Members of the team. Note, it is not a matter of showing your resume, but of telling the story of the beginning of the idea, your motivations, what pushes you to do this project together. It should be obvious that you are in the best position to develop this idea. Now is the time to prove it.

The next steps

What are the next actions you will take to take your business to the next level? What are you planning to do? How do you want to develop sales? Are you increasing your production capacity in the next few months? What is your goals ?

Examples of pitch presentations

To illustrate this, I advise you to look directly on the Internet, there are today several lists of “pitch decks”, which are the precise presentations that certain companies have used to convince investors. You can easily find them from Uber, Airbnb, Front App, Buffer and many others. The structure of these presentations varies, but we find the elements that I mentioned earlier.

Improve in pitch

Now that you have a basic structure for your pitch, the key to crafting a good pitch is practice. [et d’]get feedback. To build your offer, you tried to understand what customers value and tested an offer with them; you can do the same with your pitch. Finally, you try to display value that your company can bring to investors. The process is not that different.

Understand the goals of the people who will listen to you. Try to put yourself in this audience’s shoes according to your context and theirs.

Train yourself ! Proactively solicit feedback from your audience. How could you improve your presentation? Both in content and form, ask questions to those you train with. Multiply the opportunities to present your project, look for pitch competitions, observe and request reactions.

So ready to hit the stage? Nix? It’s normal, even the older ones still have the flyer before their show… You still have to go!

Franck Debane is the author of the book “Pass a fashion startup. 6 steps to start your business”, published by Editions Eyrolles in December 2021.


Engineer and entrepreneur, Franck Debane, helps companies start new businesses and launch new offerings using startup methods. Both mentor and investor in start-ups, he has helped more than 1,000 entrepreneurs launch, structure and develop their business. He is also co-founder in France of the Lean Startup Experience group. This text is taken from his book “Pass a fashion startup. 6 steps to start your business”, published by Editions Eyrolles in December 2021, 160 pages, 27 euros.

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