Without knowing it, you’ve likely gotten a lot of practice with pitching—you probably pitch yourself or your company every day.
Before you go into the market to test your idea, you need to be able to describe it in a way that will help people understand its benefits and draw them in to learn more. This is a twist on the classic elevator pitch. Instead of delivering a monologue, the goal is to have a genuine conversation with another human about your business idea.
Let’s get started!
To interest your potential client, you need to pique their curiosity. One great trick is to spend less time talking about what your business is and more time talking about what it does and how that benefits customers. If done correctly—practice makes perfect!—your potential client will respond with something like, “How do you do that?”
For example, instead of saying that you’re a marketer and will help customers with their digital strategies, say that you help companies grow their market share. Crafting your pitch so that potential clients ask “How do you do that?” sets you up to explain that you’re a digital marketing strategist. This approach will leave people with an understanding of both what you do and, more importantly, how it can benefit them.
It’s a bit like a movie trailer. Your elevator pitch does not need to close a sale. Instead, it needs to capture the audience’s interest and gets people excited to continue the conversation. As you talk to people after you’ve delivered your pitch, make sure that you collect their contact information and tell them that you’ll follow up. Before you see them again, figure out what exactly you’re looking for from the exchange and prepare accordingly.
Tip: You only get one opportunity to make a first impression. When someone provides their contact information to you for a follow up, don’t leave it on the back burner and reach out months later. Send them a quick note—and maybe even a LinkedIn connection request—so you can avoid sending a “Hey you, remember me?” email six months later. Yikes.
You might not remember exactly what someone said or how they said it—but you’ll remember how they made you feel. Keep this in mind when you’re making those important connections.
Your product or service might be complicated, but explaining the value it brings shouldn’t be. According to this HubSpot article, your value proposition is your business’s secret ingredient that your competitors can’t match or beat—it’s your unique identifier and the main reason a prospect should purchase from you.
Warning: don’t get your value proposition mixed with your slogan! That’s a short and memorable phrase that showcases your brand.
Clear and easy to understand
Illustrates specific results for the customer
Showcases how it’s different and better than what’s already available
Can be read and understood in five seconds
Wait, five seconds?
Yup, you read that right. You probably don’t need us to tell you that we’re in a time when catching and keeping our customer’s attention has never been more important and difficult—studies show that people have an attention span of less than a goldfish!
That’s why your pitch is so important to practice and nail. We’ll dive into this topic again in the Brand Storytelling module.
This is one of the biggest hurdles entrepreneurs need to get comfortable with when it comes to crowdfunding. Katie Nedjelski, founder of Bloom Kids Essentials, let us know what she learned in 45 days of crowdfunding.
She’s an introvert and thinks asking for money is hard, and selling is hard. But she recognizes that everyone is a potential customer and raving fan.
We sat down with Katie for her advice for running an ATB BoostR campaign. Here’s what Katie had to say.
Use your network and work your email: I created email lists outside of my regular customer base—everyone from my contractor, to aunts and uncles, to preschool moms from three years ago, to old coworkers.
Work Facebook like a pro: I’ve been hitting up networking and buy/sell groups, running ads, and posting on her personal and business page at least daily.
Pick up the phone: calling people is so taboo these days, but do it. I just made a quick phone call to explain what BoostR is, what my campaign was about and what I needed. The results? Many purchases helping me reach my campaign goal and obtain new loyal customers.
Engage, engage, engage: engage your audience instantly—a tough endeavour when you’re a solopreneur, but worth it during the short campaign period.
Share the inside track: people are genuinely interested in the day-to-day details of your business and success—so give them what they want!
Be prepared, and then wing it: go into your campaign prepared with an outline of tasks that you’ll need to do, including creating a couple of emails and social media post ideas. Crowdfunding campaigns are so fluid that you’ll need to be flexible on top of your preparation. When things are happening—post, email, call. When events come up, show up and throw yourself out there. Most importantly, be creative and have fun.
Check her funded BoostR campaign out here!
I started my business because:
As a business owner, coach and solopreneur I was feeling alone in my business and wanted a place to work with other people but to continue to work on my own business. I also needed a space that wasn’t a coffee shop to meet with clients, have honest and real conversations about life and business and bringing people into my home office wasn't a great solution.
I did a crowdfunding campaign because:
I honestly just wanted to build traction and awareness about my business. The money was a side “benefit” but I thought it would be a great way to get people to help me spread the word about my business. When I talked to the BoostR team, they advised me to get my business going first and to come back—that gave me time to leisurely plan my campaign over roughly 4 months.
I chose ATB BoostR because:
I saw another young entrepreneur in my city and community do an ATB BoostR campaign, she did such a good job and I thought if she can do that maybe I can too. I reached out to her and she was so supportive and encouraging.
I also have been an ATB client since I opened my first bank account. From a business banking perspective I have felt nothing but support from the ATB team, at my branch and through the Entrepreneur Centre. I knew the BoostR team would be a great resource to support me and I was right.
My BoostR campaign length:
45 days—it was extended past the original timeline.
My BoostR goal:
Actual amount raised:
My rewards were:
Toques, tickets to an event (partnered with another business) postponed from March to August due to COVID-19
Coworking memberships paired with physical rewards to add value
Partnered with a local coffee roasting company to pair a branded coffee mug with a bag.
New offering for a Cowarehousing space, which is now up and running!
New offering for childcare option, I am still working on building a market for this
The biggest challenge I faced in my crowdfunding campaign was:
Putting myself out there. Being vulnerable, asking for money.
I don’t think this has gotten any easier. You have to make your campaign personal for people to connect with you and I have a really hard time with this. I often am very factual, black and white and don’t tend to be overly emotional (although it sneaks up on me every so often).
My favourite part of running my campaign was:
The community that I got to build with others through the Build Her Business campaign (I feel like I need a reunion so I can see some of these amazing people that I connected with through the Facebook group), and seeing and feeling the community that already existed around me tangibly show their support.
I wish someone told me:
You’ll never feel ready—just go for it.
The scariest part of owning a business is:
So much but definitely the financial aspect—the overhead and wondering if I can pay all my bills every month.
The best business advice I was ever given is:
I can’t even think about one thing but I will say I am so thankful for those in business who pour into me constantly.
I am thankful for the regular conversations about business I get to have with others who are in it. So my best business advice I can give is to get around and get connected to others in business. Let them get to know you, get to know them and let them speak into you, recommend books, talk about how you are really doing… get vulnerable to build real relationships.
Did you have an elevator pitch? If yes, what was it?
I think as a new business I was—and maybe still am—trying to figure out my elevator pitch. I definitely think it is ever evolving. My pitch was something like... “I am doing a crowdfunding campaign through the ATB BoostR Build Her Business Campaign to help raise money and awareness in order to allow me to continue to build community and connection for those passionate about career and business.”
Before you start planning your campaign, you need a team. Surrounding yourself with the right people makes a huge impact on your success. Make sure everyone’s on board with crowdfunding, and work through the rest of the steps together. Even if your team ends up being just you and your business or life partner, it’s worth having a discussion about all of the tasks and who’ll be responsible for each part.
You’ll need to figure out who on your team will be responsible for:
Organizing your existing contacts
Attracting new contacts
Crafting your story
Planning, shooting and editing your video
Social media marketing
Contacting influencers and press for coverage
Communications and updates during the campaign
Reward fulfillment after the campaign
Part of your campaign page on BoostR will feature the key team members behind your business. These short profiles offer you the opportunity to convince the crowd that you’re legitimate, competent, and that your business is worth investing in.
Your goal should allow you to move forward with your business, whether that’s getting it off the ground, launching a new product, or expanding into a new market. Your goal should “feel” right when you deliver your message. Are you asking for $50,000 as a brand-new business with no online presence or history? That may not sit well with potential customers. Your goal should be realistic and achievable. That said, it also needs to be big enough to be worth your time.
What’s the main purpose of your campaign? This is the compass for all your efforts.
Reference your milestones, their associated costs and which milestones are absolutely critical to reach your goal. What’s the minimum you need to move forward? Choose a goal that you can confidently meet and exceed.
How much will your rewards cost you (including shipping and taxes)?
Factor in the crowdfunding fee that’ll be taken off the total amount you raise. For the BoostR platform, you’re looking at a 2.9% fee on the total amount raised plus $0.30 per Boost (transaction).
Keep in mind how long your campaign can be. You’ll need to set a realistic goal to reach in a limited amount of time, or you won’t get any of the funds. BoostR campaigns are typically 30 or 45 days.
Generally the size of your existing social network is directly related to how much you can raise through crowdfunding. Consider how many of your existing fans will contribute and how much they’d realistically be willing to pay.
On average, 75% of successful rewards-based campaigns raise between $5,000–$10,000. Your goal needs to be equal to the projected profit of your campaign. There will be costs that eat into your campaign’s profit, so consider increasing your total crowdfunding goal if you can’t make enough profit from the rewards you’ve planned.
Don’t forget: sales you make through crowdfunding count towards your business’ revenue for the year.