Growth Customer Experience Productivity Business IQ Trends Success Stories Tech Solutions Subscribe Tech Enquiry
Ben Birchall
Industry Expert

Ben Birchall is a writer, broadcaster and content specialist

Ben Birchall
Industry Expert

Ben Birchall is a writer, broadcaster and content specialist

Getting your pitch right can be the difference between a door opening, or staying resolutely closed for a start-up or small business. We spoke to Ben Yi from muru-D as well as muru-D mentor Albert Bielinko for some sales pitch tips.

Startup accelerator muru-D have 10 startups going through each of their programs, as well as facilitating one minute pitch nights. In their last selection process alone, they saw 170 applications.

Business Development Officer Ben Yi knows a thing or two about what makes a pitch work. Similarly, muru-D mentor Albert Bielinko is a member of Telstra Ventures, later-stage investors in breakthrough companies that are strategically important to Telstra. Together, Albert and Ben see hundreds of pitches a year, and know what it takes to get your pitch across the line.

A black and white photo of a hand about to flip a coin

The importance of the pitch

When you’re seeing as many start-ups as Ben and Albert, the sales pitch is vital. It tells the story of your business, what sets it apart, and why an investor can’t afford not to get on board.

As far as what Ben looks for in a pitch, he nominates clarity of ideas. “Can I understand what this business is about? Do I see there is potential to make money with this type of business?”  

For Albert, it’s about “passion and vision”.

“I want to see a founder or founding team that really can show they have an unfair advantage,” he explains.

So let’s look at how to tackle it. 

Prepare, prepare, prepare

It might sound trite, but to Ben, practice really does make perfect. 

“Before you get into a situation where it really matters, you should have tried hundreds of times, telling various people about your start-up.”

Even if it’s just a 30 second elevator pitch, Ben sees value in rehearsing your pitch. This is particularly important for people not used to public speaking.

“Practice with your co-founders, family, friends,” Ben says. 

Can your business benefit from muru-D? 

Head to the muru-D website for more information.

Find out more

Common pitch problems

Both Albert and Ben have inevitably seen some pitches go wrong.

To Ben, telltale signs are when founders can’t answer basic questions, they don’t know the numbers, or feel nervous. Albert agrees that doing your homework and having your numbers right is crucial.  And investors can see through a lack of preparation.  

“If the investor is able to name five more competitors that you haven’t thought of then we know that you probably haven’t done your homework,” says Albert.

Some other common problems that they come across are too many people pitching, even though it's just a short session, trying to cram too much into the presentation, relying on technology without a backup and making unrealistic projections.  

One piece of advice (ok, two)

To Ben, “Less is more. Keep it really simple and practice lots and lots of times.”

To Albert,  “Show traction for your idea in a way that’s very clear of risk. And just make sure that the person you’re speaking to walks away with a very clear understanding of what you’ve done that shows this idea could work.”

Following that advice will get you a long way down the path to a successful pitch.

Listen to the full conversation with Ben and Albert below.

Note: SoundCloud isn't supported by Internet Explorer 8 and Internet Explorer 9, but you can download the latest version of Internet Explorer.

Indigenous community members participate in a BIG hART project.
Success Stories
Success Stories
The power of hART

2018 Tasmanian of the Year Scott Rankin developed an innovative community-based arts model combining creativity with social justice. He tells Lachlan Colquhoun how he’s using i...

Envato Co- Founder Cyan Ta’eed accepting her 2015 Telstra Business Women Award
Success Stories
Success Stories
To Achieve Success Be Prepared to Fail

Refusing to be discouraged by her previous failed business attempts, Ta’eed instead learned from them. As a result, the former Telstra Business Women’s Awards winner and co-fou...

Five tech trends for small business
Trends
Five tech trends for small business

In an increasingly connected world small businesses need to embrace technologies and tools that can make them stand out from their rivals, according to a Telstra Business Award...

Social media pages give small businesses a platform to show their products to a global audience of potential customers.
Growth
Growth
Not Perfect, but Small Business Still Needs Facebook

Privacy scandals and algorithm changes may have signaled the end of Facebook’s “golden age” as a marketing platform, but for most small businesses it is still an indispensable ...