April 20th, 2018

Business Beat: Don’t forget to pitch

By Medicine Hat News on April 5, 2017.

Everyone loves a pitch. It’s the sexist part of developing a business, however, it is also the part of the business planning cycle that panics even the most confident entrepreneur. That’s likely why once established, entrepreneurs fail to keep pitching as their business grows and is recognized in the market.

There is an art to pitching business ideas that combines connecting with an audience, and succinctly explaining how a problem is solved or an innovation works, and then cleverly backing up the entirety of the idea, with financials that boast a black line.

Business pitching isn’t just for startups, though. Established businesses have a lot to gain by learning about pitching, watching others pitch or in fact, pitching in some way every day, to customers.

Pitching helps established businesses align ideas for growth with the market. This practice of daily pitching helps businesses connect directly with customers and get feedback on shaping new product offerings. Posing these ideas to current customers and gleaning feedback on new products or directions for the company, is in its simplest form, ongoing market research.

Aligning a business vision with a pitch mentality, aids businesses to focus on the customer, rather than on themselves and the daily grind of operations. The day-to-day running of the business can sometimes get in the way of expansion plans. Talking to customers about the future takes the focus off daily tasks, and inspires a view for innovative thinking.

Too, infusing a pitch attitude into well-known business processes can be done by watching others put it all on the line with a five-minute pitch. Start up pitching and the sharing of a big idea can often inspire even the most traditional business to change, and can aid in thinking about new market opportunities and options to improve the bottom line.

Ongoing business pitching may sound unappealing to those happy to be through the startup phase of the business cycle. Taking this approach, though, can help businesses infuse a bit of risk into the company’s offerings, and may work to grow, diversify and future proof the company in the long-term.

A great way to learn about business pitching is to see it firsthand. This year the Entrepreneur Development Centre at Medicine Hat College is hosting the first PUBLIC JMH&Co. Start UP Company Pitch Competition.

Budding student entrepreneurs and innovators will pitch their best business ideas to a panel of local business professional and compete for their share of $35,000 in grants thanks to JMH&Co. and $2000 in cash prizes thanks to Alberta Innovates.

The event takes place on April 28 from 8:30-11:30 am in Room S159. To attend this public event, please pre-register by emailing edc@mhc.ab.ca

Christie Dick is EDC project officer at Medicine Hat College.

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