When it comes to pitching (Not the baseball kind…) for the first time, whether to your boss for that pay rise you deserve, to investors for a new idea or getting a loan from your bank manager, it can seem at first incredibly daunting but it doesn’t have to be and you might find you actually enjoy it.

Throughout my career I’ve pitched to many and in varied situations and the number one thing that’s helped me succeed in every situation is being prepared. Have you ever watched an episode of Dragon’s Den were a dragon grills someone who’s asking for a few million quid to fund their venture only to fold when asked basic questions about their business? A little bit homework can go a long way.

To help guide you, I’ve written a few key questions that any pitch should be able to answer. I used these very same ones to prepare and win Lab’s pitch battle night.

1. What are you pitching?

It shouldn’t take you more than a few sentences to explain your business idea. If it’s taking you longer, then spend some more time on refining your USP until the messaging is crystal clear.

2. What’s the problem you’re solving?

Without a pain point, there is no business. What is the pain for some customer out there that you are solving, and how? Also if your idea appears to be catering for a market that doesn’t exist and you feel no one has done your idea before, now is the time to question all your assumptions you’ve made up to now, to understand why that is. This will be asked during the pitch.

3. How will you make money?

What’s your go-to-market strategy? How will generate revenue? What will your cost structures look like? What are your competitors making? These are just a few questions you may be asked so have a stab at running through the numbers you anticipate in terms of revenue, profit and costs.

While all numbers at this stage are merely hypothetical, don’t forget that these are all someone can go on when deciding on whether to invest in you or not so make sure they make sense. Double, triple and quadruple check those numbers!

4. Timeline to market?

When will you launch? A rough timetable of when you anticipate you can go to market will help a would be investor judge if this is a worth investment or not

5. CTA

An investor is keen so what should they do next to research more, ask questions and hopefully help you launch the next big thing? Always include a Call to Action so your listeners can follow up with you.

That’s it!

That’s all there is to creating a super simple and succinct pitch that should get any would be investor listening. Put 10 minutes aside and in broad strokes answer the above, refine and continually practice until it becomes almost second nature.