Archive for June, 2013

3 Reasons Women Should Pitch Their Startups More Often

Posted on: June 27th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

The head of an angel investing bootcamp for women philanthropists, Natalia Oberti Noguera, urges women to get their business ideas out into the open.

Women entrepreneurs don’t pitch as often as their male peers. I encourage women to step up to the plate, whether it’s asking for capital to fund their startup, or asking for a raise at work.

In 2011, only 12 percent of startups pitching to angels in the U.S. were women-led, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. Out of that 12 percent, 26 percent secured funding.

Benefits of pitching:

  1. Feedback – Pitching your startup is a way that you can receive advice and suggestions from potential investors that can help your business model get closer to meeting market needs.

  2. Connections – Don’t view pitching as a zero-sum game where you either get funding, or you don’t. Instead, view pitching as an opportunity for you to meet key influencers. While a potential investor may not be interested in investing in your startup, she/he may know someone who might want to learn more and, by pitching, you increase your network, as well as you chances of securing a relevant introduction.

  3. And yes, capital – One of my favorite sayings is, “If you want money, ask for feedback” (and we come full circle…). Pitching is an opportunity for you to share your startup, engage people, and secure funding. Whether someone wants to invest on the spot, or you receive a referral to a potential investor, remember that putting yourself out there can get you closer to raising capital.

Need to practice or feedback before venturing out to pitch? Check out Test My Pitch. It’s FREE.

Article originally posted at Ideas Lab.

Natalia (aka Ms. Oberti Noguera) is Founder and CEO of the Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for women philanthropists. Natalia holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale. Women’s eNews recognized her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century for 2012 and Business Insider included her on its 2013 list “The 30 Most Important Women in Tech under 30.” You can find Natalia on Twitter (@nakisnakis).

Richard Branson: How to pitch a business idea

Posted on: June 12th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

It’s the dream of many: invent something; convince a multi-millionaire to invest; become rich and famous as a result.

But in reality, if Sir Richard Branson gave you five minutes of his time to make your business case – could you pitch to Rich?

Sir Richard already has a string on businesses under the Virgin mega-brand and a flamboyant personality to match. But part of keeping ahead of the game is constantly keeping an eye out for the ‘next big thing’.

‘One of the best things about hearing business pitches is that there is always a new idea and a new way of looking at things,’ Sir Richard told Metro.

He’s asked entrepreneurs across the UK to come up with new business ideas he can invest in. It’s been whittled down to the final four and tomorrow the burgeoning entrepreneurs will go head-to-head in front of a Dragon’s Den style panel for £5,000 worth of funding.

The finalists’ businesses cover confectionary, fuel injection systems, sustainable construction and fashion, but according to Sir Richard, a successful pitch has five things in common.

Sir Richard Branson told Metro his top five tips for a successful business pitch:

1. Explain how the new business will make a difference to customers and provide a compelling alternative to competitors. This means showing a new way of doing things to shake up the market, and explaining it in short, sharp, entertaining fashion.

Sir Richard Branson arrives on the Virgin Atlantic Little Red in Edinburgh
Big personality: Sir Richard Branson not afraid to bare all for publicity for Virgin Atlantic Little Red

2. It has to be grounded in expert knowledge of the industry. If you are going to launch anything – a new social network, a new bank, a new fashion line – you need to demonstrate a solid understanding of the market and how you can disrupt it.

3. Have a realistic plan. While high concepts are fine, pitches need to illustrate how a company could work practically. This means legal, financial and operational plans. It’s tough to include details in a short presentation, but the most engaging pitches manage to combine passion with pragmatism.

4. Be in it for the long haul. Nothing stays the same, and business changes faster than most things. Pitches latching on to the flavour of the month are all well and good, but they need to communicate how the business could grow sustainably and develop in the future.

5. Show your strongest hand. Pitching is all about selling your idea and your business as an exciting place to be. Highlight the strengths – especially the talented people who are working on the project – and don’t be afraid to talk up your prospects.

Reprinted from this article in Metro News.

Click here for FREE access to, Test My Pitch, our idea pitch drafting and feedback platform. Improve your current idea pitch in only a few minutes.

Test My Pitch Client Fusion Cross-Media Wins Cox Business Pitch Competition!

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

photo by Jennifer Fiereck

Fusion Cross-Media of Manchester Wins Cox Business’s “Get Started CT” Pitch Competition by using Test My Pitch’s PitchAssist service.

Local Company Won the “Shark Tank-like” Competition at the 2013 Connecticut Business Expo

Hartford, CT – Fusion Cross-Media, a marketing firm based in Manchester, has won Cox Business’sGet Started CT” contest, a Shark Tank-like competition in which local entrepreneurs pitched their business and product ideas to a panel of experts for a chance to win a $5,000 technology package.

Cox Business partnered with Inc. Magazine on the event, which took place live on the show floor of the 2013 Connecticut Business Expo. Get Started CT was co-sponsored by Mozy.

photo by Jennifer Fiereck

photo by Jennifer Fiereck

Fusion Cross-Media, – which creates actionable, cross-media strategies to help businesses better align marketing, sales, and operations – was chosen from among five entrepreneurs for its product’s innovation, ease of implementation, and the potential benefits to the local community.

“The success of local businesses like Fusion Cross-Media benefits the entire community, and we are committed to helping them grow,” said Mark Scott, vice president of Cox Business Northeast. “We are thrilled to provide Zachary and his team with this technology package, and sincerely hope all of the contest participants learned from this unique experience.”

Zachary Schwartz, Creative Executive Officer at Fusion, pitched to the judges. Fusion’s concept is a turnkey, mobile guest experience management solution that encourages restaurant patrons to engage with the establishment in real time – before they post to Yelp or other social feedback aggregators. This allows staff to respond immediately and manage the message.

This “5Star Guest Experience” solution also connects guests via social media, allowing them to share their positive experiences with friends, creating a community around the restaurant’s brand.

Fusion Cross-Media used the Test My Pitch platform and our PitchAssist service to draft and get expedited feedback on their pitch. Though just a couple of rounds of edits and coaching the winning pitch was revealed. To get started on using Test My Pitch for FREE to draft your pitch click here.

Venture capitalist Josh Linkner (@joshlinkner), CEO of eTouches and “Inc. 5000” winner Lenora Valvo (@etouchesCEO), inbound marketing expert David Donlan (@ddonlan) of HubSpot, and editor of The Hartford Business Journal, Norm Bell (@HartfordBiz) provided the expert, real-time feedback to the entrepreneur “contestants.” Eric Markowitz (@EricMarkowitz) of Inc. moderated the discussion.

Other participating entrepreneurs included Say it Forward+Co. of Cheshire, MeetingKing of Tolland, Nomad’s Adventure Quest of South Windsor, and Great Blue Research of Meriden.

Speaking at “Renewal – Women Rising”, Raise Your Profile in 30-Seconds

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

annegarlandAnne Garland Entreprises, producers of “The Idea Circle for Women Conference” have invited us to speak at their 5th annual event on October 1, 2013 in New Haven, CT. For more information on days activities go to Anne’s website.

This year’s theme is “Renewal – Women Rising.” There will be 20 workshops including our Raise Your Profile in 30 Seconds – How to Make a High Impact Self-Introduction program. Here’s the outline:

Networking has changed. Networking has accelerated. It is now broad and deep. It is in-person, online and viral. Networking is hyper-local and global. It is segmented and multi-cultural. It is portable and fluid. Schmoozing is superficial, ineffective and dead. You now have the power to connect and sustain more high value relationships than ever before. Your network is the most valuable asset that you have.

Have you ever wanted to deliver a self introduction that gets results? Well, here’s your chance. Join us for this powerful workshop and learn how to make friends in any room.

Self introduction is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities that networkers face. A well constructed and delivered personal statement activates our peers to action. Overcome your fear and communicate in a way that that will help you connect with any audience. Create impact, clarity, and confidence.

Workshop Outline:

  • Know your purpose

  • Different types for different audiences

  • 3 words to NEVER use

  • Craft the perfect script

  • Deliver like a pro

We hope that you can join us. Click here for FREE access to our self-introduction drafting tool. Improve your current introduction in only a few minutes.

Are You Willing to do Your Worst One Ever?

Posted on: June 10th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

The thought of public speaking makes most of us very anxious. This form of performance anxiety affects not only the new communicator but also many seasoned professionals.

In his blog today, marketing guru Seth Godin revealed that he, like most of us, has had his challenges with public speaking.

We’re not alone, entertainers such as Julia and Eric Roberts, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Quinn along with athletes like Tiger Woods and musicians such as Bono, Barbara Streisand, Van Morrison and Elvis Presley and historic figures like Margaret Thatcher, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, King George VI, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Isaac Newton and Aristotle have all had trouble speaking in public.

Mark Twain who made made most of his income from speaking, not writing, said, “There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”

Seth Godin closed his blog post by saying that, “if you’re not willing to get your ‘worst one ever’ out of the way, how will you possibly do better than that?” That’s great wisdom!

Test My Pitch is a collegial environment for entrepreneurs and professionals to draft and get feedback on their business idea pitches and self introductions. Come and join us, it’s FREE.

Public Speaking: 3-Tips for Overcoming Stage Fright When Pitching

Posted on: June 2nd, 2013 | by tmpadmin

Stage fright can be debilitating. Performance anxiety not only affects entrepreneurs and business professionals, but also many actors and musicians.

These anxiety attacks can be disheartening and limiting for the speaker. Whether you stutter, forget what you’re going to say, or speak too fast the audience will be distracted from your intended message. Consequently your credibility will diminish. Even worse, you may opt out of delivering your pitch which assures that you and your idea stay on the bench.

3-Tips for overcoming stage fright:

  1. You’ve got to show up. Is it “fight” or “flight”? That great observer, Woody Allen said many years ago that “80% of life is showing up.” So certainly your commitment to take the field is the only way to have a chance to win the game. Show up for every opportunity you can to speak in front of live audiences.

  2. Practice, practice, practice. Nothing beats practicing to give you confidence. It is not enough, just to speak in front of live audiences periodically. Your story has to evolve and it has to be compelling. Get as much feedback as you can and incorporate what you learn to improve. Continue to edit your scripts and tweak them for each audience.

  3. Use less words..Breath and speak slowly. Make lots of eye contact. By using less words you will allow yourself to speak slower and make the words that you do use more impactful.

Check out this article, Conquering Stage Fright, by author Janet Esposito on the Anxiety and Depression Association of America web site for a more detailed look at overcoming stage fright.