The idea of standing in front of a room full of people, some of whom will be judging you (literally), and presenting an idea while being timed may sound like the last thing anyone would ever want to subject themselves to.
5×5 Night. Startup Weekend. Mwest Challenge. In Grand Rapids, there are many opportunities to participate in pitch competitions. However terrifying it may seem, pitching is an important part of growing your idea into a fully fledged business. Here are four reasons why:
1. Refining Your Idea
Talking about your idea in front of people who have never heard it before will help you figure out what works and what doesn’t. It is very easy to get tunnel vision with a business idea when you are the only one giving yourself feedback. Even sharing your idea with family, friends or business partners doesn’t provide the same benefit as laying everything out in front of people who are there to scrutinize it. With your mom or your best friend, feedback will likely be, “That’s awesome! What a great idea!” At an idea pitch competition, you are more likely to get, “That sounds great, but how do you plan to reach your ideal customer base? Who is your competition and how do you plan on differentiating yourself?” Pitching will force you to address key issues and come up with an answer, bringing you that much closer to making your dream a reality.
Pitch competitions are an ideal gathering point for the entrepreneurial ecosystem and those who want to get involved in it. People attend idea pitch competitions because they want to see what others in the community are doing. Mill around, shake hands, make conversation and make yourself a part of the community. Remember, even if you don’t win, you are getting your idea in front of a room full of people and creating awareness.
Also, judges are usually successful business owners, advisers and experts, and are likely more than willing to lend advice or guide you to the resources you need. All you have to do is show up.
3. Professional Development
Even if, in the end, you decide that entrepreneurship isn’t for you, pitching will help you in whatever career you choose. Addressing a group of people in a clear and concise way, fielding questions and harnessing confidence are all highly valued and recognizable skills. Whether you are interviewing for a new job, or putting together a presentation, nothing prepares you more than experience.
And of course, you just might win.
For more information about how to pitch, please visit http://www.ceogvsu.com/pitching-basics/