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Ben Birchall
Industry Expert

Ben Birchall is a writer, broadcaster and content specialist

Ben Birchall
Industry Expert

Ben Birchall is a writer, broadcaster and content specialist

Getting your pitch right can be the difference between a door opening, or staying resolutely closed for a start-up or small business. We spoke to Ben Yi from muru-D as well as muru-D mentor Albert Bielinko for some sales pitch tips.

Startup accelerator muru-D have 10 startups going through each of their programs, as well as facilitating one minute pitch nights. In their last selection process alone, they saw 170 applications.

Business Development Officer Ben Yi knows a thing or two about what makes a pitch work. Similarly, muru-D mentor Albert Bielinko is a member of Telstra Ventures, later-stage investors in breakthrough companies that are strategically important to Telstra. Together, Albert and Ben see hundreds of pitches a year, and know what it takes to get your pitch across the line.

A black and white photo of a hand about to flip a coin

The importance of the pitch

When you’re seeing as many start-ups as Ben and Albert, the sales pitch is vital. It tells the story of your business, what sets it apart, and why an investor can’t afford not to get on board.

As far as what Ben looks for in a pitch, he nominates clarity of ideas. “Can I understand what this business is about? Do I see there is potential to make money with this type of business?”  

For Albert, it’s about “passion and vision”.

“I want to see a founder or founding team that really can show they have an unfair advantage,” he explains.

So let’s look at how to tackle it. 

Prepare, prepare, prepare

It might sound trite, but to Ben, practice really does make perfect. 

“Before you get into a situation where it really matters, you should have tried hundreds of times, telling various people about your start-up.”

Even if it’s just a 30 second elevator pitch, Ben sees value in rehearsing your pitch. This is particularly important for people not used to public speaking.

“Practice with your co-founders, family, friends,” Ben says. 

Can your business benefit from muru-D? 

Head to the muru-D website for more information.

Find out moreCan your business benefit from muru-D? 

Common pitch problems

Both Albert and Ben have inevitably seen some pitches go wrong.

To Ben, telltale signs are when founders can’t answer basic questions, they don’t know the numbers, or feel nervous. Albert agrees that doing your homework and having your numbers right is crucial.  And investors can see through a lack of preparation.  

“If the investor is able to name five more competitors that you haven’t thought of then we know that you probably haven’t done your homework,” says Albert.

Some other common problems that they come across are too many people pitching, even though it's just a short session, trying to cram too much into the presentation, relying on technology without a backup and making unrealistic projections.  

One piece of advice (ok, two)

To Ben, “Less is more. Keep it really simple and practice lots and lots of times.”

To Albert,  “Show traction for your idea in a way that’s very clear of risk. And just make sure that the person you’re speaking to walks away with a very clear understanding of what you’ve done that shows this idea could work.”

Following that advice will get you a long way down the path to a successful pitch.

Listen to the full conversation with Ben and Albert below.

Note: SoundCloud isn't supported by Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9, but you can download the latest version of Internet Explorer.

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