3. Story Elements


Jack and Jill went up a hill…

THE LAST SECTION OF THIS book will explain how to turn your pitch into a story, but that doesn’t mean your pitch should be a series of dry, boring facts. Your audience has probably already seen dozens, if not hundreds, of other company pitches, most of which follow the Investor Pitch outline. That’s how those expectations were formed.

You need to be different, in some interesting manner. Different not only in terms of content, but also different in terms of form. We see this in television and movies. TV shows get monotonous when they reuse the same form over and over for dozens of episodes. Movie sequels fail whenever they simply repeat the form of the original.

RULE  5:
Start with the standard pitch form, but do not end there.

Your pitch is the millionth investor pitch. You thus can’t simply rely on the Investor Pitch outline above. It’s a good starting place. It’s the first pitch deck that I put together for my companies and for all the entrepreneurs I work with. But at best it makes an acceptably good pitch. It doesn’t make a great, compelling, memorable pitch without breaking that form.

To break that form, add some elements of story telling.

Try telling the story from the perspective of a sample customer, someone the audience can empathize with. Tell about the customer’s need and how your solution will improve that person’s life. Make the story entertaining. Make the story interesting. Add suspense. Add humor. Make it memorable.

RULE  6:
Start your pitch with a story.

I cannot emphasize this enough. I have presented my own pitches; I have coached others’ pitches; and I have been pitched to. I’ve seen thousands of pitches of wildly varying quality. From all of these, the most important lesson I have learned, and the advice I most often give, is this: let the audience members lose themselves in your story. Late in the book I will show you how to do this in much more detail, for now think about who the pitch or what events make the solution so compelling.

The goal is to grab the audience’s heart and pull them into your story. Make them care about that customer, or make them outraged at the problem you are solving. Make them root for your solution to succeed. Make them want to help. Make them a fan.

RULE  7:
Grab your audience’s heart.

This isn’t an easy thing to do. It is easy to write down the facts of your business, but facts, figures, trends, and statistics do not sway hearts like great character or great plot. Documentaries are facts. When was the last $100 million opening for a documentary film?


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