Effective Storytelling Techniques for Startup Pitches


If you know what a startup is, you probably are familiar with pitching, too. If not, let us help you with that. Pitching is presenting a startup's vision, plans, and other relevant information to potential investors who may want to invest in your startup in return for a stake percentage in your company. Normally, investors invest just money in startups, but some also help with expertise, working spaces, and other things that can potentially help boost a business. 

And all of these investment processes are very important for startups in different stages. Your company can be in the idea stage, early stage, or growth stage; no matter in what phase your company is in, getting investment can really help to scale the business.

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Why does effective storytelling matter?

In most cases, getting to the pitching point is quite difficult already. So, after going through all the difficult stages until pitching, we don’t want you to mess up your pitch. Various methods of pitching are popular among founders, but among all - storytelling in a startup pitch is very effective.

A story helps you connect with the listeners, and it stays in their heads for quite some period of time. 

Telling the story

Pitching is not just telling facts and figures to the potential investors; it is your one-precious chance of securing the funding. 

Everyone loves stories. Since childhood, we have been very connected by hearing stories of different things. Your investors are no different. If you can tell a good story, that will more likely connect your idea to them compared to others. And this will also help you build a connection with them. All of this helps throughout the process. 

Effective storytelling techniques for startups

Storytelling is effective and popular. If it’s so popular, then how are founders not securing investments that often? We will be guiding you throughout the process and help you stand out from others. This will help you be a better storyteller while pitching for your company. 

Start with a context

While pitching, do not directly start with questions or addressing the issue your product or service is giving a solution to. Setting up a context for the listeners is very necessary. For example, don’t just start with a question like: "Have you ever wondered how you can revolutionize the fast food industry?". Or, “Have you ever waited for a long time in your favorite restaurant for your food to come?”. Start with a context like: “Fast food is a huge part of our lives today. Imagine changing the way you used to eat before"

This will help your listeners invest themselves in the scene and understand what you are actually going to talk about. 

Place listeners in the scene

As we said before, you may have to pitch in different stages of your startup. If you are in the idea stage and you don’t have that much of an example to show the potential investors, or you don’t have any customer story to tell, how about you give your investors a walk through your product or service?

Talk to them about your service or product and ask them to imagine being a part of it. Ask them questions. Make them an active participant rather than just listeners. Use phrases like: "Picture this," "Imagine if," or "Put yourself in this situation." In this way, investors can connect with ideas and visions even better.

Address the problem

Addressing the problem is always crucial. Now that you have given the investors enough context about your business and they know which category of problem you aim to solve, get very specific about it. 

You must address the problem by incorporating it into the story. Don’t just say, “We will help people to get their food delivered to their home faster than ever”; rephrase it like, “Rashid was going to his work and had very little time to get breakfast, so he decided to order it online. The app had shown it would take 45 minutes to deliver the food to him. This is where we will help, by offering a service that reduces the delivery time to half or less”.

Now, this may take an extra 30 seconds to tell, but this addresses the issue, tells the investors about how you’re going to solve it, and most importantly - it seems real and very relatable.

Avoid common mistakes

There are some common mistakes made by pitchers that reduce the chance of making an impact. We are here to help so that you don’t. Keep the following things in your mind while pitching.

Tell a customer’s story

If your startup has moved on from the idea stage, it means you have some sort of prototype of your service or product that you can test with people or potential customers. Get extensive research and make a list of your potential customers or users. In the early stages, it can even be your friends or family.

Offer them to use your product or service and take their honest testimonial.  Try not to put your perspective while telling a story. Instead of saying, "Our product is amazing because we did this and that," tell the story of how your customer's life changed because of your product. Share their challenges, their journey of finding your solution, and the happy ending they experienced.

Avoid hypotheticals 

Do not use hypotheticals like “Can” or “could” while pitching. This is a big red flag for your listeners. These words convey that you are not 100% sure about your product or service. Your goal is convincing the investors that your product will do well in the future and fulfill your vision. 

For example, instead of saying, “Our app can be very useful to the regular 9-5 workers”, try saying, “Our app will come super handy to the people doing 9-5 jobs”

This one simple change brings confidence in your statement and helps the listeners believe in you and your product or service. Leave no room for interpretation or confusion. This really helps in pitching. 

Finish with a happy ending

Now that you have addressed the issue and talked about how traditional solutions are helping, and that is not sufficient, you need to talk extensively about your product or service. 

You must have a good ending to your story. You need to leave an impression of satisfaction to the listeners. End the story with how you are helping people with your product and how people are getting benefited from it. 

Include a call to action (CTA)

Human attention span is quite exciting and boring at the same time. Although you are telling stories, it might bore some of your listeners. You can never let that happen. 

Their attention level will generally be high when you first start out your story, but slowly, the retention bar drops down a bit. Before you finish pitching, to regain the investor's attention again, end it with a call to action. Ask them a question back. Ask something like, “How can you guys help me scale the solution?”. This will cause a sense of excitement among them and make them proactive again. This will eliminate the idea of them not being interested enough at the end of your pitching. So, never forget to leave the stage without a call to action. 

Bonus Tips

While pitching, pay attention to your body language – because it matters. Your posture, gestures, and eye contact can convey confidence and enthusiasm.  Positive body language can enhance your credibility and help build a connection with your listeners. 

And always get prepared for questions from the investors. Do not be shy to research extensively. This will not just prepare you to face the questions but also give a better view of the relevant market and competitors. Think about what questions your potential investors might have and get ready with smart answers. 

To sum it up, effective storytelling and pitching are essential for startup success. We hope these tips really help you secure the next funding.

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