How to deliver a winning pitch

5 tips to impress with your next presentation at the Henkel dx Ventures Hackathon, in front of partners or investors.

This could be one of the most important moments of your life. The one that changes everything and turns your dream into a reality. The pitch is your chance. Sure, you know you should be relaxed, but the tingling in the pit of your stomach is undeniable. Don’t worry. With the following tips, you will confidently deliver your pitch and win your audience over.

You haven't planned a specific pitch meeting yet? No problem. You could soon have the opportunity to present your business model to a jury: at the 3rd Henkel dx Ventures Xathon.

The dx Ventures Xathon is a hackathon for female founders from November 12th to 14th in Berlin - on site and online. The Xathon aims at bringing together 100 female tech entrepreneurs with exciting business models - especially in the D2C area. The Xathon offers more than 2.5 days of inspiring lectures and workshops by digital experts and entrepreneurs who are at the cutting edge of digital change. There will also be plenty of opportunities to exchange ideas and network with mentors, experts and other female founders.

A true highlight is the pitch session on Sunday. Here, founders can present their ideas to a jury and other participants. Interested? You can win prize money, find business partners, publicize your idea and take the first steps towards your future as an entrepreneur. Sounds exciting? Apply for one of the 100 places before October 10th.

How to prepare your pitch:

1.  Be crystal clear
Before you can formulate your pitch, you need to be very clear about your future business. Even if you have 1000 ideas of how your app could be used, for example, focus on just one. Hone in on exactly which problem you want to solve for your customers. The clearer you are, the more self-confidence come across. This makes your pitch more convincing.

2. Sharpen the focus
Reduce your presentation to its essence. Formulate your business idea in one sentence, then in three words. State clearly which problem you are solving for the customer and keep asking "why"? Keep digging. When you have clarified all “whys?” and “hows?”, you will be able answer all of the questions in the pitch session. The problem your product or service solves is what matters most in your pitch because it determines your target audience, your market size and ultimately the potential sales and profits. The shorter you describe your start-up, the more memorable it is.

3. Answer the following questions
Here are the classics that you definitely have to answer during a pitch session. You can also use a pitch canvas like the one from David Beckett / to help you prepare and to get the ideas flowing. Pitch Coach David Beckett recommends first writing down the answers on post-it notes and then putting them in a structure.
- What is your business exactly about? Present your start-up / idea in one sentence.
- Which problems do you solve and how do you do it better, faster, cheaper than the competition? What is revolutionary, what is unique about your idea?
- Who are your target customers? Describe your dream customer and the size of the market. Research numbers and growth potential. This is what distinguishes a business idea from a dream.
- Introduce your team and yourself. Why are you and your colleagues the absolute dream team for your start-up?
- Where do you stand at the moment and what are the next important milestones?
- What about production costs, margins, financing?
- What is the competition doing? What sets you apart and gives you a sustainable advantage?
- What do you expect from the pitch session? What exactly should your counterpart do next (choose you as a Xathon female founder, agree to another meeting, give you valuable feedback, etc.).

4. Formulate your pitch and create the pitch deck
This tip applies to both the pitch and the stage: engage your audience right from the start. Create a connection, deliver a surprise, arouse curiosity. This is achieved through various approaches.
- Comparison: Play on a known business model - for example: "We are the Netflix for your customer data" – this approach arouses curiosity and provides information about the business model.
- Storytelling: Wrap your business idea in a short story that focuses on your customer with a problem that you solve with your new product / service. You can also do this in the form of a fantasy journey: “Imagine ...” - think about whether the type of journey is relevant for the audience.
- Question: A question to the audience can be effective if you know your audience well. An example is: "Have you ever tried to attract new customers without saying a single word?"
- Playing with images: If you manage to create concrete images in the minds of the jury, you are already a big step ahead. Here is an example from a pitch competition: "If your database Goliath is too expensive, complicated and arrogant, then you should give David a try."

The pitch deck is the visual presentation that compliments your pitch. All important points should be addressed in the pitch deck. Key figures on market size, investments and financial requirements, production costs, margins, etc. also belong in the pitch deck. There are templates available online. Every pitch should end with a “call-to-action”. Your listeners should know exactly what to expect from them now so that they can act on it right away.

5. Practice, practice, practice ...
The pitch should come across as relaxed, confident and professional at the same time. Therefore, practice is essential. The more familiar you are with your pitch, the easier it will be for you to speak freely. You appear confident and can easily continue where you left off after unexpected questions.

With these tips you are well prepared for the next pitch session. Try it out to win 25.000 EUR and apply for the Xathon 2021 with your business idea - especially in the D2C area - we look forward to you and your pitch.