3 Components Of The Perfect Elevator Pitch

After filming two seasons of Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch, I’ve come to realise that there are three key elements to delivering the perfect pitch.

Our show is unique when it comes to pitching: Potential entrepreneurs have just one minute to pitch their idea, service or product. Those 60 seconds have added pressure because the contestants are being filmed, and they are talking to a camera (instead of people) while riding up to the penthouse suite in an elevator.

In real life, with a different set of distractions, it’s essential to know how to deliver a convincing elevator pitch. Whether you are pitching a product, a service or yourself, here are the three essential components in a pitch:

  1. Stimulate interest
  2. Transition that interest
  3. Share a vision.

Can you stimulate interest?

The first step, stimulating interest, is the most important. In fact, an “elevator pitch” is usually determined by the limited amount of time you have, and circumstances may only give you the opportunity to stimulate interest. If you do a good job of stimulating interest, this can yield a second opportunity, where you transition that interest and share a vision with those you are pitching to.

Keep in mind that people generally buy based on emotion, using logical reasons as their impetus for action. So, make a point to connect with them emotionally in order to stimulate their interest. Don’t be afraid to show your feelings; demonstrate high energy and excitement for your idea, business or service. Your passion and belief need to come through in your pitch!

Use the 100/20 Rule to your advantage: Have the energy that you are providing R100 worth of value and only asking for R20 in return. This attitude will generate enough attention, giving you the opportunity to transition the interest that you’ve garnered.

Make the transition

But people don’t buy exclusively on emotion. There needs to be some logic in the decision to make a purchase. Therefore, you must address some sort of pain, fear or guilt in your pitch, that those without your product or service may experience. And if you can illustrate how you (efficiently) solve a big problem, you’ll have more statistical success in your elevator pitch.

Making a genuine connection can help you transition interest. Learn to make yourself equal, then make yourself different.

Simply having connections to the same people or a point of similarity in your backgrounds will help bridge the gap with those you are pitching. Then you can emotionally connect, following that up with the logic portion of your pitch.

Transition the interest you’ve generated with a clear explanation of what differentiates you. Build credibility by discussing your sales, distribution, revenue, awards and/or successes. All of these different ways to “attract” allow you to segue from emotion to the logical reasons to buy.

Of course, it is of the utmost importance to be honest when you are pitching. The truth always comes out, so ensure that you aren’t over-promising with your pitch. Don’t create a void that you are unable to fill.

What’s your vision?

Finally, in order to excel when sharing a vision, you need to have a value proposition that backs the 100/20 Rule. Make the value that you bring to the table as clear as possible. The value you’re asking for in return also needs to be clear. If you don’t display confidencein what you’re asking for, you won’t instill confidence in those you ask.

Tell others exactly what you want, why you want it and what you’re willing to give in return. You should have already proved your valuation when transitioning interest, then reiterated that valuation as you progressed in the pitch.

Take the people you are pitching through the reasons why you can be of value to them, the impact that you can have on their life or organisation and the capabilities you (or your product/service) possess that makes working together beneficial for all involved.

Practice your pitch, then get rich

After following each of these three steps, close with one simple question to gauge whether you are aligned or not: “Can you see any reason you wouldn’t want to move forward?”

If you utilise your pitch to stimulate interest in your product/service/self, transition that interest, then share a vision with those you are pitching to, the answer is almost always a resounding “no.”

And if you get objections or rejections, so what? Address whatever objections there are and if you still can’t get aligned, that’s OK. Take the perspective that the universe has a set number of rejections you need to get to before you find the right partner.

Be grateful for an opportunity to prove others wrong, and believe that if you keep working on your pitch, product, service or self, everything will come to you in the right way at the perfect time.

This article was originally posted on on Entrepreneur.com.

Secrets of Scale – Event #3 (Powered by Entrepreneur Magazine & MESH Club)

Why Vinny Lingham says you don’t need funding to launch your startup

Fellow Shark Tank investors Vinny Lingham and Marnus Broodryk unpack why you don’t need an investor to launch – and scale – a successful startup. By Matt Brown

Too many startups are impatient, and it’s one of the key reasons why they can’t scale or secure funding, says Vinny Lingham, one of South Africa’s Shark Tank investors, and the founder of Gyft, which he exited for $50 million, and Civic, an identity protection and management startup based in the US.

“If you want to achieve something great, you need a plan,” he said at the third Secrets of Scale event that we hosted at the MESH Club in Rosebank. The aim of my show, The Matt Brown Show, is to give entrepreneurs access to the top entrepreneurial minds in South Africa, unpacking their experiences and top advice, and effectively helping business owners and startups to learn from their growth journeys.

Vinny Lingham and the other panellists at the event, Jason Goldberg, founder and CEO of 10X-e and co-founder of Edge Growth; Vuyo Tofile, CEO of Entbanc Group; and Marnus Broodryk, a fellow investor on Shark Tank with Vinny and the CEO of Transaction Capital SME Services, were all able to share valuable insights around what it takes to build a startup that will scale, and why the necessity of landing a funder is a myth.

Vinny’s advice was particularly on point: “Lay the right foundations and focus on your process. Don’t be impatient. Too many entrepreneurs are trying to run before they can walk or even crawl. Be thoughtful about how you put the business together and above all, go slow. Hiring more engineers and building bigger teams doesn’t necessarily speed things up. You can’t throw money at the problem and think you’ll get there quicker. Business doesn’t work like that.”

Start with the goal in mind

In my experience, based on hundreds of interviews with top entrepreneurs, as well as building my own business and brand, there’s the business you are now, and then the business you’re becoming. You need to always be innovating and keep that end gaol in mind: What kind of business will you become?

Vinny used his own experiences with Gyft to illustrate his point. “From day one we focused on high levels of user engagement. We needed conversion rates. We focused on that first, followed by what percent of return customers we achieved, and then who bought more and more. In other words, we concentrated on the metrics, and on our customers.

“If you’re moving too quickly, you end up with a product that’s not ready, people who aren’t happy and everyone in a hurry. Most importantly, you don’t have a scalable, repeatable product and market offering that’s ready.”

However, if you focus on your customers, not only will you have a revenue stream to build on, you won’t need external funding. “Not every business can be bootstrapped,” he admitted. “If your business is reliant on a product development cycle, you need external investment. But if you have something to sell from the word go, and a runway of 12 months, you can launch without an investor.

“From there, the biggest signs that your start-up is ready to scale are a high customer retention rate and good strong lifetime value of a customer – both of which you can only determine if you’ve been operating in the market. You need to know what each customer can bring in, your profit margin, as well as that there’s only a marginal fixed cost to each additional customer.”

Putting customers – and profits – first

Jason, Marnus and Vuyo all had valuable insights to add, sharing their top lessons in scaling a startup, and echoed Vinny’s sentiments that funding is not the most important element in launching a business.

“99% of business owners don’t start with funding,” said Marnus. “They change something, tweak things here and there and find a way to get revenue from customers.

“That’s how we did. We didn’t want to be the biggest accounting firm in South Africa, we wanted to be the most profitable. We focused on our pricing and product fit and made sure that if we took the business from ten people to 1 000, we could do it with the same model.

“There’s no point in getting 10 000 people onto your platform – all based on VC funding – and then the cash runs out and you realise you can’t monetise the business. It’s pointless and it happens a lot. Scale must be profitable. You can’t keep adding people and scaling the business if the costs are so high that you can’t monetise what you’re doing. Start small, get your customers on board, and use your own revenue to grow.”

Vuyo agreed. “Too many entrepreneurs don’t focus on the product. We all want to scale, but no one starts out trying to cater for 1 billion people. You need to cater for your first 100. Focus on them and make sure they’re extremely happy. If you aren’t focusing on your first customers and they aren’t happy, you won’t grow into other markets. We scaled as a consequence of that early focus.”

“When the market comes to you, you’re ready,” added Jason. “That’s when you have a repeatable model that’s scalable. What you want is mediocre people who can do an extraordinary job through how you’ve set up the business. Once you’ve proven that over and over with very happy customers, then you’re ready to scale.”

His advice was simple. “Silicon Valley has a great analogy – are you selling a vitamin pill, or a headache pill? Your customers can stop taking a vitamin pill and they might not notice for months. If you’re selling a headache pill though, they notice every minute without you. Your customers must feel pain in the absence of your solution – and no one else must be able to take away that headache as quickly or conveniently as you. Shift away from product-based pricing to value based pricing. What is taking the headache away worth?”

Focus on your business

“Don’t waste your time on investor meetings,” was Vinny’s final word to the entrepreneurs in the room. “The percentage of deals closing is extremely low, and it’s a total distraction. You spend so much time chasing investment that you aren’t concentrating on your startup.

“Focus on your business. When you get your KPAs right, you know what your north star is, and you have your metrics, then investors will come to you. Raise as little as possible at the right price at the right time. The wrong price at the wrong time can actually damage your business.”

VIDEOS & PODCAST

PART 1 – BUILDING THE AEROPLANE

This segment will be the majority of our focus and will cover practical “how to steps” for scaling your business. We’ll be revealing how to design a scale ready business and walk you through common pitfalls that all entrepreneurs will encounter as they “build the aeroplane” and how to avoid them. We’ll also reverse engineer how to design a scale ready business from a 150 strong team all the way down to a 5 person team.

PART 2 – BUILT FOR WINTER

This segment is all about how to ensure that you remain profitable as you scale. We’ll unpack how to bring different revenue streams, partnerships and products/services to together to help you weather any storm.

PART 3 – SCALE BLUEPRINT

In this segment we’ll explore the systems that can help you scale, how to automate repetitive processes and outsource non-essential tasks and how to design a business that makes more money while you sleep than when you’re awake.

10 series every entrepreneur should watch

In recent years, a flurry of new TV shows have explored the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship, giving prospective business owners an idea of some of the issues they may face on their journey to success. If being your own boss is something you aspire to, why not use your TV time productively by watching these shows and boosting your business knowledge?

Here are the top 10 shows for budding entrepreneurs:

1. Billions

A fictional drama, Billions takes a look at the world of high finance by tracking the ongoing struggle between hedge fund king Bobby Axelrod and District Attorney Chuck Rhoades. The show explores the themes of morality, wit and wealth, and demonstrates the truth in the phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Watch it because while you may dream of becoming a self-made billionaire, Bobby Axelrod’s struggles with being in the public eye and becoming a target for everyone from greedy acquaintances to the justice system will help you to appreciate your ordinary, more modest lifestyle (as much as you may covet his super-cars and mansions and mega-yachts).

Watch now »

2. Silicon Valley

Loosely based on real-life personalities and companies, this series offers insight into the tech industry and gives viewers a chance to chuckle at eccentric entrepreneurs, while providing a look at the frenetic, high-stakes, cut-throat reality of the start-up world.

Watch it because it’s a good lesson in what it takes to turn a good idea into a profitable business – all the things that computer programmer Richard lacks, such as a level head, excellent negotiation skills, a supportive professional network and a trustworthy mentor.

Watch now »

3. The Deuce

Take a look at life in New York City during the 1970s and 80s when prostitution was legalised and the US porn industry was booming. The Deuce examines the impact of this growing market on real estate prices and how entrepreneurs made the most of unexplored opportunities at the time.

Watch it because it proves that opportunities do not come gift wrapped – to have a stab at success, you need to keep a close eye on trends in the market and investigate whether any big external changes and fluctuations could work in your favour.

Watch now »

4. House of Lies

Starring Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, House of Lies takes a hilarious look at the world of management consultants and the various ways they take their smug, corporate fat-cat clients for a ride.

Watch it because it makes you realise that the decision to outsource services rather than bringing them in-house can make or break your business, and the fact that that high-profile firm you spend a fortune on to improve your profitability may, in fact, be playing you.

Watch now »

5. Power

Delve into the world of James “Ghost” St Patrick, a wealthy New York nightclub owner who lives a double life as the kingpin of the most lucrative drug network in the Big Apple. Power shows the ruthless nature of the business world and how creating a Fortune 500 company often comes at a price.

Watch it because it drives home the message that while having a dodgy illegal gig on the side may seem like a good idea while you’re raking in the cash, it can cost you your family, your “real” business and even your life if you ever try to get out of it.

Watch now »

6. Mr Robot

Follow Elliot, a young programmer by day and vigilante hacker by night, who finds himself conflicted when he gets recruited to destroy the firm he is paid to protect. This show explores the struggle of decision-making and is ripe with examples of how a single individual can change the trajectory of a business.

Watch it because it’s brilliant and clever and critically acclaimed, and also because it’s a great outlet for anyone who secretly wishes they could cause the downfall of the “evil” corporation that employs them without ever being found out.

Watch now »

7. Suits

Set at a fictional law firm in New York City, Suits follows a talented college dropout who works as a law associate despite never having attended law school. The show’s two main characters, Harvey and Mike, provide lessons in confidence and bravado and show how far you can go if someone just believes in you.

Watch it because it offers the message that, sometimes, going completely off-book and making what may seem like a crazy decision can give your career the boost it needs – for a while, anyway.

Watch now »

8. HBO’s High Maintenance

Providing a glimpse into the lives of eccentric New Yorkers, this comedy series about a marijuana dealer explores the ins and outs of owning a business that relies mostly on your people skills and discretion.

Watch it because it shows how client loyalty can be bought with attention to customer service, and that you don’t have to like the people you do business with. Also, if this particular field is something you’re interested in, it’s a reminder to never get high off your own supply.

Watch now »

9. Keeping Up with the Kardashians

Yes, the Kardashians have made their way onto this list! Before you dismiss this show entirely, ask yourself how a leaked sex tape turned into a multi-million-dollar franchise… Worth watching now, don’t you think?

Watch it because as flighty and shallow as they may seem, the Kardashians are a prime example of savvy business minds. Though all the DASH stores recently closed, the family’s dedication to the business shows that when you run a company, there’s no such thing as work-life balance – the business is your life.

Watch now »

10. Boardwalk Empire

Set in the Prohibition era of the 1920s, Boardwalk Empire explores the story of a New Jersey politician who plays both sides of the law as bootlegging booms. Boardwalk Empire offers lessons in negotiation skills, influence and the power of openness when navigating your position within different groups of people.

Watch it because it proves that, if your head’s in the game, even a political climate that may seem hostile to your business could be your greatest opportunity yet.

Watch now »

Watch all these shows and much more on Showmax. Get a free 14-day trial if you are a first-time user when you sign up for Showmax, and if you’re a DStv Premium subscriber, get Showmax at no extra cost. DStv Compact subscribers get Showmax for R49.

This content is sponsored by Showmax and co-created with Brandstudio24 for Business Insider SA.

Source: Business Insider SA

Africa Sustainability Challenge

About the Africa Sustainability Challenge On the 24th of April 2018, AB InBev Africa through it’s local country markets, went live with our very first Africa Sustainability Challenge! We are looking for Africa’s top innovation entrepreneurs to solve our continent, and the world’s Sustainability Challenges. As a global company, we want to continue to brew beer and build brands that will bring people together for the next 100+ years. In order to achieve this goal, we need assistance from Africa’s brightest minds as we cannot do it alone.

Up for grabs is the following for the minds behind the best solutions: 1. A trip to Africa’s very own Silicone Savannah in Nairobi Kenya 2. $50 000 for seed capital funding to scale their enterprise; and or 3. An opportunity to compete in the global stage at our New York based Accelerator

The 5 Challenges

1. Smart Agriculture Challenge: Do you have an innovation that builds high impact, inclusive solutions that improve grower access to sustainable agricultural resources, products, processes, or tools that can increase the quality, yield, and sustainability of farming at scale?

2. Water Stewardship Challenge: Do you have an innovative solution to expand access to water and sanitation services among households with no access to water?

3. Climate Action Challenge: Do you have an innovative solution that support low income communities, to adapt and transform to meet the challenges of climate change with access to renewable energy or carbon reduction opportunities?

4. Circular Packaging Challenge: Do you have an innovative solution that uses waste streams as a resource, generating value, and redirecting them from landfills? Ensuring that we have a waste free, circular future

5. Entrepreneurship Challenge: Do you have an innovative business solution that depends on employing a large number of people in order to solve sustainability challenges such as renewable energy, climate change, access to clean and safe water, waste management and sustainable agriculture?

Application open & closing dates Applications are open from 24 April – 31 May 2018 Interested entrepreneurs can get all the details as well as submit applications at http://www.challengeaccepted.africa/

Application Criteria: 1. All African based nationals that are at least 18 years of age 2. Only entrepreneurs with legally registered businesses 3. Must be green businesses operating for minimum 12 months 4. Business with minimum turnover of USD 16 000 annually

Participating countries Entrepreneurs from the following countries where we operate, can apply: Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia

Regional Information sessions We’ll be hosting information sessions in the following areas, where you can find out more details about the Challenge, in addition to networking with like-minded green entrepreneurs!

  • 4 May: Green Hook-Up Dinner (Johannesburg South Africa)
  • 8 May: Green Hook-Up Dinner (Dar es Salaam Tanzania)
  • 9 May: Green Hook-Up Dinner (Maputo Mozambique)
  • 11 May: Green Hook-Up Dinner (Kampala Uganda)
  • 16 May: Green Hook-Up Dinner (Lusaka Zambia)

We look forward to unearthing Africa’s top innovators that will change the face of Sustainability in the continent, and the world!

#AfricaChallenge

Regards ABInBev Family

Go to their website

WATCH: Varsity was not for him, entrepreneurship was his call

CAPE TOWN – Freddy Mahhumane decided that varsity was not for him and founded his own IT company, Open-Technik.

Gauteng-based Mahhumane was studying IT, specialising in Software Development when he decided that he wanted to start his very own company. He then gave up on his studies and dropped out of varsity.

He says that wanted to create more solutions using open source software. He then realised that he is actually good at what he does when he won an award as the best Newcomer at global software enterprise company, Novell South Africa’s awards.

Mahhumane then equipped himself with the technical skills in order for him to compete in the industry. He says that he had to learn continuously in order to position himself favourably in the competitive industry.

Open-Technik grew exponentially and now has a client base of 1 000 clients and has created over 50 different software. The IT company operates country-wide, with one of their biggest clients in Rustenburg in the North West. Mahhumane says that he is always looking to improve his business and take it to great heights.

“As a young entrepreneur, I always look to improve my business and take it to great heights, all my achievements are in the past and I have to work even harder to stay competitive”. This is the key to his success.

His journey to entrepreneurship however did not come easy. He says that it was tough at the beginning to gain the trust of clients and to get them on board. Yet, he aimed high and says that through hard work, he could provide an efficient service.

He was also able to grow his client base by means of a strategic approach. “My strategy was to work with clients only. I started an approach where I would only work with clients who were 10 times bigger than my business. The bigger the clients I signed there more respect we gained in the industry”, said Mahhumane.

He was also a speaker at independent start up community, StartUpGrind Johannesburg. “I was glad I was able to share my story and motivate young and up coming entrepreneurs”, said Mahhumane.

Mahhumane proves to be a serial entrepreneur in his own right. He is involved in several other projects, including an app he developed that provides a car wash service, Kool Wash. “This is our latest innovation, a digital car wash service that looks at creating more jobs and entrepreneurs. From the app, a user can send a request and get their car washed at home. The app is mostly mostly suited for Estate living”, says Mahhumane.

When asked what advice he would give aspiring entrepreneurs, Mahhumane says he encourages the youth to learn an open source skill like JAVA programming or Linux OS administration. This will teach individuals about where the world is going, he says.  “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. So the man with courage is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear” – Entrepreneurship is scary world, but be courageous in whatever you do and keep learning all the time.

Mahhumane has utilised his knowledge and opened up a public platform where he shares business advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. Community group, Young Black Entrepreneurs was launched on Facebook. “The group was created to answer all the questions I struggled to get answers for when I started my business as an entrepreneur. The greatest gift of being a leader is to be able to share and improve others as well. So this group gives an opportunity for other entrepreneurs to market themselves and learn while doing it”, said Mahhumane.

He says that there is definitely a scarcity of entrepreneurs in SA. Mahhumane believes that we need to create an aptitude of innovation and learning which will in effect create more entrepreneurs. “Entrepreneurship is a culture that motivates, up-skills and helps give back to our community.  But being an entrepreneur must be about problem solving, so definitely because of the problems we need to solve we must create more entrepreneurs”.

Mahhumane shares with us an exciting project that he is currently working on, an Open Source school for the underprivileged youth. This school will train the youth to use open source software. This will improve their understanding of technology and assist them in adopting a culture where they will be challenged to create solutions, concludes Mahhumane.

Source: Business Report

#EntrepreneurCorner: Start making money in 2018

Cape Town – In this week’s entrepreneur corner small business coach Anton Ressel talks about the tricky issue of how entrepreneurs should work out the correct price for their services and products and not sell themselves short.

“I think where most entrepreneurs really struggle around charging fair prices…. it’s a confidence issue,” says Ressel.

He says that many entrepreneurs, as the “new kids on the block”, feel obligated to be cheaper than the established competition.

But he adds that this approach may undervalue the advantages that entrepreneurs bring to the market, particularly in the realm of customer service.

“The better service that you give – if you work overtime, if you work after hours, if you come in on a Sunday – that’s all going to cost you more, because you are going to have to pay your staff overtime etc,” he says.

“So if you are providing that sort of level of service and delivery to your client, you are entitled to charge more for it. I think this is where a lot of entrepreneurs struggle.”

He advises entrepreneurs to not try and compete established business on price, quality and service at the same time.

“Entrepreneurs have to be conscious of which two elements that they are going to really own,” he syas.

Source: Fin24

 

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