Chaired by Jukka Siltanen, Associate Expert at TANZICT, the session show cased young Tanzanian technology entrepreneurs that are currently in the TANZICT and DTBI incubator programmes. These provoking projects ranged from Arnold Minde’s Safari Yetu, a cloud based ticket reservation system that issues SMS receipts, to Nuru Muro’s Kivuko.com, an online shopping portal with e-money payment options.
The “3 Minute Pitch” is used by entrepreneurs and professionals all over the world. Often referred to as an “elevator pitch”, where one presents an idea in the short time it takes to reach reach your floor, the technique distils a product to its core elements. The young techies did a great job expressing their ideas on what potentially was the largest stage they have been on to date . The session got me thinking about what makes an effective pitch and 5 key elements stuck out.
1. Slow it down.
You are pitching to a group of people who have never heard you speak before. The complexities of your voice tax the audience’s ear. What seems normal to you is often too fast for the audience - remember “inside perception vs. outside reception”. Do not try to to cram every detail of your project into your pitch. Simplicity is the key. The three minute pitch is meant to hook your audience. Once you have achieved that, they will seek you out.
2. Engage, rather than mystify, your audience.
The goal is for the audience to purchase your product. People purchase products they understand. More than likely you have spent months developing your product but this is the first time your audience are experiencing it. Make sure that you tailor your pitch to the room. On occasions where you are pitching to industry experts remember that they are just that – industry experts. Provide concise answers to any questions fielded and accept criticisms. They do not have to listen to you, so it is your job to make them want to listen to you.
3. Highlight how your product functions.
Think of your product as a system. Every system has a process. Process is the relationship between components within your product and data. This process is what the audience needs to understand. Identify the key components of your design and describe their relationship. How does your product achieve its goals? The audience needs to know how your product works.
4. Ideas vs Execution
Google was not the first search engine. Plants vs Zombies was not the first castle defence game. Facebook was not the first social networking site. The key to their success was in the execution of the idea. An entrepreneur does not have to rebuild the wheel to improve it. With nearly 7 billion people on the planet, chances are your idea is not as revolutionary as you think. Efficient design is the most important component of execution; and execution sells.
5. Make life better
Potential customers need to know how your product enriches their lives. It is never good enough for the the audience to merely understand your product- they have to see the value. You are not as unique as you think. Develop products that solve problems in your own life and others will find a use for them.Think easier, faster, cheaper. Make them feel the need for your product. Clearly establish what the reward is for using your product.
Break it down to 3 simple parts – The Hook, The How & The Reward.
[Photo: Arnold Minde presenting Safari Yetu. Photograph by Jukka Siltanen]