Business Posts

Business Pitching

Is getting in front of people and convincing them that you have a great product or service one of your favorite things to do? If so, you’re probably in the minority among entrepreneurs. The truth is, many startup entrepreneurs who have a great business idea are fearful and unprepared to pitch their business to others.

Developing this skill can be one of the hardest things a new entrepreneur has to learn, but it’s one of the most important. Fortunately, like most things in life, practice makes perfect. The more a startup entrepreneur tells her story, the better she becomes at telling it. Almost every pitch experience is an opportunity to learn something that will make the next one even closer to perfection.

What is business pitching and how does one develop a business pitch? There are different types of pitching. The most commonly known is the pitch for funding. This pitch involves telling your story in such a way that an investor or a lender is willing to “show you the money.” A funding pitch generally follows an established formula and includes certain expected elements, such as identification of the customer problem and your unique solution, which is your unique value proposition. Add to that an assessment of the market, your vision of how you will achieve a commanding marketing share, a description of your team’s strengths and a clear plan of launching and running a successful startup.

Another type of pitching a business is inviting a strategic alliance partner to join forces with you in a marketing effort. If you share customers of another business that does not compete directly with you, but whose product combined with yours makes a better customer solution, you will likely make a stronger value proposition to potential customers if you can combine your marketing campaigns. An example of such a collaboration could be a mortgage loan broker striking an alliance with a realtor. There are many more examples of businesses that can align their marketing to become a more appealing choice for potential customers. This type of pitch requires an appeal to the potential partner’s needs to build a stronger relationship with current and future customers. By teaming up in an alliance, each partner has a broader product offering to market without having to expand their own operations beyond their expertise or available funding.

A third type of pitching is a sales pitch. Obviously, every business needs to make sales by appealing to potential customers. The sales pitch requires much more listening than talking. The successful salesperson discovers customer needs (problems) through asking questions. Listening to answers will guide the salesperson to pitch the benefits of a product or service that solve customer problems. In this way, the customer “buys” instead of the salesperson having to “sell” the solutions.

All three types of pitching require some research and analysis of the target audience and development of a solid pitch strategy. Practicing a pitch out loud with a partner is an excellent exercise. It is also a good idea to capture a pitch on video and refine the presentation to remove noticeable flaws and perfect the language and emphasis on key points.

The NaperLaunch new business startup center at the Naperville Public Library offers a quarterly pitch session for entrepreneurs to practice and prepare their pitch. The next Pitch Session will be Thursday, August 29, at 8:00 a.m. at the Nichols Library. The library’s Business Services Team members (library staff) are available for one to one guidance to put together a pitch for this session. SCORE mentors are also available for coaching interested pitchers through this entire process.

Get involved with our startup community and learn how to pitch. With preparation and practice, you will easily overcome the fear and your confidence will grow. It will pay huge dividends in the development of your startup!

Posted: 
Monday, July 29, 2019 - 16:45

New NaperLaunch Academy Cohort Is Forming; Learn More at Open House

Past participants in the NaperLaunch Academy have reported doubling their revenue in the 12 months following graduation. Others have increased their sales and expanded their business lines. Whether you’re thinking of starting a business or looking to take your business to the next level, the Academy has a proven track record of fostering business success.

The Academy offers a focused curriculum to help entrepreneurs develop a business idea, determine its feasibility, complete a break-even analysis, and write a solid business plan, including deep financial forecasting.

The coursework also addresses legal requirements to start a business in Illinois, acquire funding if needed, and how to transfer risk of loss from negligence or property damage. Participants will also learn fundamental professional selling skills and how to establish the basis for a marketing strategy for their business.

Class sessions are held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the NaperLaunch coworking space at the Nichols Library.

A cohort is forming now for the session that begins July 23. The deadline to register is Thursday, July 18.

If you are interested in starting up a business or desiring to make a strategic pivot in an existing business, you’re invited to attend our open house on Tuesday, July 9 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Nichols Library. Ask questions and get information about the Academy, its curriculum and class schedule. Past participants will discuss the Academy’s impact on their businesses as they started up or expanded.

Posted: 
Monday, June 10, 2019 - 14:15

Small Business Week Celebration Includes Speakers, Business Showcase, Pitch Competition Finals

For more than 50 years, National Small Business Week has recognized the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

This year, Small Business Week will be celebrated during the week of May 5-11. Events sponsored by the SBA and SCORE include a hackathon, the presentation of national awards, and a Twitter chat.

Locally, NaperLaunch will commemorate Small Business Week with a series of educational workshops intended for small business owners or managers. This year’s lineup includes:

  • Scott Palmer, former Shark Tank contestant and COO of Spikeball, Inc.
  • Cybersecurity expert Brian Berglund, CTO of Armarius Software
  • An interactive workshop on Instagram Marketing, presented by NPL’s Lindsay Harmon
  • Bob Koch, founder of e-commerce company Quiver Global, Inc.

The week concludes with the NaperLaunch Small Business Showcase and the finals of the 2nd Annual Business Plan and Pitch Competition, both on Saturday, May 11 at the Nichols Library.

At the Small Business Showcase, participating members of NaperLaunch will have the opportunity to share information about their businesses with members of the local community. NaperLaunch members may reserve a table to display information about their business during the Business Showcase.

During the Business Plan and Pitch Competition, three finalists selected from preliminary rounds will pitch their business plan publicly to be judged by a panel of experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and angel investors. The winning entrepreneur will receive a $3,300 prize.

For more information, visit the NaperLaunch website.

Posted: 
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 13:00