Published 11 October 2017 Category: Marketing, Business Insights, Workplace, Entrepreneurs, Startups, SMEs

Pitch Perfect

The use of phrases such as ‘business pitch’, ‘elevator pitch’ and ‘video pitch’ have grown in popularity in recent months. But what are these terms and what do they mean for entrepreneurs? This short post gives a sneak peek at what a well thought out pitch can do – an inspiration for  those needing to pitch their ideas.

Defining the various pitch terms - A pitch is basically delivering a business plan verbally. A pitch typically takes the form of an entrepreneur or group of entrepreneurs presenting or describing their ideas to prospective investors.

An elevator pitch is simply a very short pitch that distils the idea into a short summary that takes only as long as a short elevator ride. A video pitch is a pitch done via a short video rather than in person. Regardless of the means chosen to pitch, the aim is typically the same; describing a business opportunity with the intention of securing funding to develop the idea further.

The spark that created one of the fastest growing companies in Richard Branson's Virgin empire came courtesy of a beer coaster.

In his new autobiography, Finding My Virginity, the billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson recalls the story of the "the beer mat pitch."

At the time of the pitch, Brett Godfrey was the CFO of Virgin Express, a regional airline that served cities in Europe. Godfrey was living in England and had decided to move his family back to Australia. Before he left, Godfrey was on the phone with Branson and asked if he had a minute to pitch an idea. He meant 60 seconds, literally.

"Hold on, I've got the idea on the back of some beer mat," Godfrey said. Branson heard papers ruffling in the background. Godfrey found the pitch. He had written it on the back of a coaster where he had placed a pint of beer.

Godrey pitched the idea of a low-cost airline in Australia. As the son of a Quantas employee, he knew the Australian aviation market. He had sat down with an airline expert over a beer and together they hatched the idea.

Branson was hooked and asked for a more detailed plan, which Godfrey delivered. The numbers added up, Godfrey's vision was clear, and Branson gave him the green light. In that moment, Virgin Blue was born and launched with $10 million and just two jets. Today, renamed Virgin Australia Airlines, it's the second largest airline in Australia.

The lesson Branson takes away from the experience and the tip he offers entrepreneurs is this:
"The best ideas don't always need to have detailed financial projections and complicated business proposals behind them. Sometimes they come fully formed on the back of a beer mat... If it can't fit onto the back of an envelope, it's probably a bad idea. Keep it short, sharp and picture-perfect.”

The Takeaway
Don’t be afraid to share your vision: But with a clear plan behind it.
Give yourself an edge: Add a little flavour that makes the brand “Uniquely Yours”.