in the market, through their personal stories or market analysis statistics. While the judges focused on the overall pitch, delivery, originality, and profitability of the pitch, they also paid particular attention to the business’ sales strategy, path to profitability, and investor ROI—how the people who invested in the business would profit.
This was feedback that I could apply to my own business. While I have a plan and am considering the next steps for my company, I know that my own pitch is not as refined as it could be for a variety of audiences—in particular, investors. In the past, I have self-funded my business and shied away from considering investor capital. Learning what investors are looking for in a real, practical manner was a great lesson.
Five winners from the first round had the opportunity to share their pitch again, after receiving the initial feedback from the judges, but this time only for 30 seconds. I found myself listening closely to see how the contestants incorporated the feedback they’d received only a short while ago, which many of them did well. I also gained some additional insights, including the importance of presenting the value of the business up front, sharing the personal story of the business (in a concise manner), and letting the market know why my business is the one they want. The competition was high-energy and intense all the way to the finish.
Without a doubt, all of the presenters who shared their pitches were winners because they had the opportunity to share their business dreams and receive valuable coaching. Now that I got some good advice and gained some perspective, I’m going to spend some time revising my own pitch!
Malla Haridat, the founder and CEO of New Designs for Life, is a nationally recognized expert in the specialized field of entrepreneurship education and has trained over 1,000 students. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States working in partnership with companies developing creative solutions for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. A dynamic thinker, strategist, and speaker, Malla now works with a wide variety of organizations applying her creative talents to the challenges of business transformation. Her company was awarded the 2005 New York City Small Business Award of the Year by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and has been featured in publications like The New York Times and on Martha Stewart Radio.