Posted on May 22, 2014 @ 11:40:00 AM by Paul Meagher
Many entrepreneurs already know the best way to pitch their deal based on experience, however, some stuggle
to figure out a format to use. Today I want to discuss a couple of pitching patterns that might help you
come up with ideas about what to include in your pitch.
Oren Klaff is the author of a book "Pitch Anything" which I partially reviewed in my last blog
on Prizing Your Deal. In his section on Pitching Your Big Idea, Oren endorses the
Idea Introduction Pattern as a useful element to add to a pitch. The Idea Introduction Pattern was originally developed by venture capitalist, and popular business writer, Geoffrey Moore. Here is
Oren's version of the pattern (p.105):
For [target customers]
Who are dissatisfied with [the current offerings in the market].
My idea/product is a [new idea or product category]
That provides [key problem/solution features].
Unlike [the competing product].
My idea/product is [describe key features].
Below is an example of using the pattern, also from Oren's book. This particular pattern may have been the one Oren used when he was trying to get investors involved in financing a new Airport in California, a 1 billion dollar deal that the company he represented won the rights to obtain financing for:
For investors needing a 10 percent cash yield or better
Who are dissatisfied with risky investments such as stocks.
My airport deal is a project with low risk and lots of protection
That provides a current cash flow.
And unlike most development projects
You can cash out any time you want.
The Idea Introduction Pattern takes less than a minute to deliver in person so is not the whole of the pitch. When you are writing a pitch, however, an Idea Introduction Pattern as brief as this can form the
core, and possibly, the complete body of your pitch if done right. The objective of your pitch in the context of this site is to generate enough interest in your idea that an investor wants to connect with you to further
discuss you idea. The Idea Introduction Pattern is a good tool to have in your pitching toolkit to help make that happen.
In a twenty minute in-person pitch, Oren would also discuss out how large market forces are coming together to make this the right time for the idea and the deal. Oren's favorite forces are economic forces, technological forces, and social forces. Oren calls the combination of these three forces the "Three-Market-Forces Pattern". The basic idea is to frame your product or idea against the background of these evolving market forces. This is how Oren characterizes these forces (pp. 99-101):
- Economic forces. Briefly describe what has changed financially in the market for your big idea. For example, are customers wealthier, is credit more available, is financial optimism higher Increases or decreases in interest rates, inflation, and the value of the dollar are considered as prime examples of forces that have significant impact on business opportunities... Another example is The cost of making this product has just gone below the $10 mark. This means that the retail price can be $69. We've been waiting two years to hit this price point.
- Social forces. Highlight what emerging changes in people's behavior patterns exist for your big idea. An obvious example in the market for automobiles, concern over the environment - a social force - is driving demand for electric vehicles. Another example is One of the changes in our society is that people don't get enough sleep or even the right kind of sleep. While this problem is growing only 1.8 percent a year, awareness of it is skyrocketing. People know that they need better sleep; it is a hot topic at all levels of society.
- Technology forces. Technological change can flatten existing business models and even entire industries because demand shifts from one product to another. In electronics, for example, change is rapid and constant, but in furniture manufacturing, change is more gradual. An example of a technological force is This device requires a controlling chip and solenoid that now can be manufactured small enough and a a controllable price, allowing us mass-market capabilities.
When writing a pitch for this site, you probably can't spend too much time discussing all of these forces, but you probably can focus on at least one major force that might be relevant so as to position your idea as part of an evolutionary process leading to the current gap in the market for your product or service.
So if you are having trouble figuring out how to pitch your big idea, you now have two pitch patterns that you can use to help guide you to what to include in your pitch to investors. You can find out more about investment pitching patterns by googling "investment pitch patterns", "investment pitching templates", "investment pitchdecks", and so on. You might find some inspiration in the patterns that other entrepreneurs have used to successfully pitch their big idea.