From guiding entrepreneurs to make the right decisions at the right time to provide key strategic inputs across various life cycles of a product or business, pitch mentoring for startups is critical to the success of an emerging business. Pitch mentoring sessions provide a platform to gain invaluable feedback from subject matter experts and other experienced business leaders to help the new business avoid common pitfalls and mistakes as they find their focus. Often times, those very pitfalls could have otherwise become deal breakers in the pitch or in early stages of development.
Introduction to Pitch Mentoring for Startups
A pitch mentor works with the startup to more effectively sell its product (or service) to its customers with a more clear and cohesive messaging, even steering the startup to thinking in key areas of its company’s future. A startup can also benefit tremendously from the deep insights that a business mentor with domain knowledge can provide.
How does this differ from a pitch coach?
The pitch coach tends to focus more around the storytelling and positioning of the pitch and corresponding pitch deck. Pitch coaches are experts at pitching, storytelling, public speaking, and presentation design. A good pitch coach walks the startup through the process of creating their best pitch and pitch deck.
A pitch mentor uses their domain expertise to advise startups as to what they should focus on, or how they should tackle various problems that are addressed in their pitch. While both provide guidance on the positioning, the mentor’s domain knowledge can shape more strategic and tactical decision-making.
Ingredients For A Successful Pitch Mentoring Session
Startups that are pitching at events – like pitch competitions – put together their pitch and usually a corresponding pitch deck in order to more clearly describe their company and how they plan to grow, scale, and expand. As a mentor, you have a unique position to help them tell their story and get recognized – and potentially funded.
Ingredient 1. Pitch Preparation: It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It.
Look for cues that the startup is prepared to ask the mentor the right set of questions. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know; so, focus more on the effort of preparedness than the actual questions the startup has prepared.
Ingredient 2. Solvency of the Solution: Is There An Unmet Need That Needs To Be Solved?
Assess how effective the pitch is formed around the problem the startup is trying to solve. What demonstrable need exists in the market? Is this need known and if so, why hasn’t it been solved before?
Ingredient 3. Uniqueness of Solution: Why You, Why Now?
Understand what value propositions this startup has that uniquely qualify it to solve this problem. This goes beyond direct experience working in this category. Articulate why you are the person to solve this and why the timing of this solution is important.
A pitch mentor is a big part of a startup’s funding journey and success. You can help guide the startup on how to ask the right questions, formulate the right story, focus on the areas that matter, and weave their unique value proposition into their pitch deck.
C2 is here to support innovation teams and emerging businesses in all phases of development. Whether you’re mentoring a startup for an upcoming pitch competition, we hope you’ve found a cause you really believe in. Give us a call to discuss how we can help you become the pitch mentor you always wanted to be!