How to Pitch Your Startup Idea in Times of Corona
The corona crisis gives people common ground. It unites us worldwide on so many levels. Many of us struggle to manage our new life without stressing out, but let’s not add insult to injury. This crisis is not at all bad. It has shown us that businesses are creative, and find new opportunities. So what matters do you need to take into account when pitching your startup idea to investors in times of corona?
Investing in startup ideas
It’s not easy to predict the future of businesses. Which is also the case during this crisis. So how do investors know whether or not your startup idea will work? To keep it real: they don’t. But there are some things that they look at. According to Frank Appeldoorn, Managing Partner at Arches Capital, it’s all about sustainable ideas. “We currently re-examine all the startups in our portfolio and look at the impact these startups can make in their industry. Retail, events, and travel are difficult industries to invest in right now.”
Does this mean that investors stop investing in new startup ideas? “No”, says Appeldoorn. “The questions we ask startups are more relevant now than ever.” The lessons learned in this period are valuable for startups. Appeldoorn: “Startups should think about how future-proof their ideas are. Emphasize in your pitch to us, the needs for the products or services you offer, describe the (new) customer journey, and explain the proposition of your startup. Apart from that, investigate the impact your company can make now, during corona. Also, describe if your company is still interesting after corona and long after that.”
Changing the business climate
Some startups decide to take drastic measures, according to Appeldoorn. “I’ve seen a shift in plans. Several startups postpone their search for investors until after the coronacrisis, while others are more hopeful about obtaining new investments immediately. The last group doesn’t have the time and the funds to keep their startup running, they can only overcome difficulties with aid from the government.”
The changing business climate is stressful. Remote working has become the new norm. “If you’ve overcome the first shock of the new situation like I did, it provides you with new ideas. You eventually become more flexible as a business owner,” explains Appeldoorn.
Although managing your startup, your personal- and family life, can take its toll. Charlotte Köll, psychologist and business owner of Zakenvrouwen tells us that: “The work ethic has changed drastically. People need to adjust, facing extreme changes.” She recommends that businesses create guidelines for employees to manage stress. “Men, more than ever, are facing burn-outs. Women are more adjusted to combining work and family. Men are therefore more likely to be exposed to additional stress. Having to do household chores and taking care of children, then post-corona. Startups, and other businesses also, need to realize that the current situation needs another approach. Start communicating more with your employees and set guidelines.”
Create a healthy work environment
These guidelines, stated by Köll, can be a variety of essentials to keep yourself and your company healthy. “Tell your employees that you recommend them to work-out, to stay in touch with colleagues, and to meditate. Make it easy for them, and give them instructions and ideas for implementation. There are easy tools to do daily guided meditations. Find them on Youtube or with an app such as Headspace or Calm.”
Sustainability plays a crucial factor in the durability of your startup. Companies should focus on the health of their company and its employees, to create a sustainable work environment. Meditation lowers stress levels and increases productivity. Next to that, Köll also recommends: “Put less pressure on employees and yourself. Be more lenient. Give people the option to work less.”
Pitching your startup
Funds are scarce and the expectation is that the valuation of companies will be lower. Only exceptional ideas might, therefore, lead to investments. Nathalie Mangelaars, from Pitch Academy, tells us that: “Show investors that you’re solving a problem, and relate this to the current crisis. We can’t abnegate the new situation we’re in, so show your flexibility by explaining different scenarios throughout your pitch. Show potential investors how flexible your startup is, when scaling up and scaling down.”
At this moment, pitching contests are limited and most of them are online. Nathalie: “Pitching online differs from pitching offline. It’s easier to create a connection offline with the investor prior to your pitch. If you see each other physically, you can see each other’s body language, and have eye contact.” Interaction without a crowd is something that is also missing when pitching online, but there are options to connect with investors on another level. Nathalie: “Energy is more important than ever. You need to feel the positive energy through the screen. Voice plays a crucial role, also. Vary in the tone and the tempo to keep investors interested.”
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