Ask an entrepreneur: Creating the perfect pitch

Two men sitting at a desk with a laptop talking (©AP Images)
Jock McEwan (left) pitches his idea for a behavior data-gathering platform to an investor at the SXSW Interactive Festival in March 2013. (©AP Images)

A lot of people have good ideas, but it takes more than ideas to start a business. You need money. That’s why it’s important to prepare a “pitch” — a story to tell investors about your business, says Evan Burfield, a tech entrepreneur and co-founder of startup incubator 1776.

Today’s investors expect a startup to create a compelling “pitch deck,” or visual presentation. Like a story, Burfield explains, it should have a beginning, a middle and an end. He recommends describing your target customer, then the problem the customer faces, and finally how your startup’s product or service will solve that problem.

Burfield’s advice is just as important outside the boardroom, whether you’re applying for a microloan, starting a crowdfunding campaign or meeting potential business partners. Watch the video for additional tips on how to create the perfect pitch deck.

Try it yourself!

Create a pitch deck for your product or service. Include:

  • A description of your customers.
  • The problem you are solving for them.
  • The features your solution must have.

“Want to know more?”

During a State Department webchat, Burfield shared more business insights. Hear his thoughts on what skills it takes to start a business; why not defining your customer “is one of the most dangerous things you can do”; and other topics for aspiring entrepreneurs.