It’s rare that a start-up entrepreneur gets the chance to pitch their idea for ten minutes on a reality TV show, and even rarer that they get the chance to pitch in a 30-second “elevator pitch.” But if any of these opportunities do arise, Ash Conway has a piece of advice – first, tell them exactly what you do and what problems you solve.
“First, tell them exactly what you do and what problems you solve.”
“The last thing you want is people thinking ‘what does this business do?’ all the way through your pitch” he says. “You’d be surprised how often that happens. So no matter how long you have, spelling out upfront exactly what your business or idea does is really important.”
The expert pitcher
Conway should know. As founder of web-based beta-testing service Bugwolf, which uses ‘gamification’ – testers competing against each other – to test a company’s website, apps and online products for functional defects prior to market launch, he has made innumerable pitches.
And if pitching were an Olympic event, Conway would be a silver medallist. In November last year, he pitched live before more than 4,000 people in Dublin at the Web Summit technology pitching competition – the world’s largest tech start-up conference – and came runner-up.
The key to successful pitching, he says, is honing the content, and then practising the delivery, relentlessly.
“It’s absolutely vital to have a really good story.”
“It’s absolutely vital to have a really good story. The core structure that I’ve honed over the years is to focus on what we do, why we do what we do, what’s the problem that we’re solving, how do we solve that, and what are the benefits that we deliver to customers,” he says.