You’ve got an idea, so now what?

Last night, MAP finished it’s second night of the first stage of 2015 Velocity series. Startup Velocity is aimed at helping people get their idea off the ground and into business. Attendees were in various stages; some simply came to learn about entrepreneurial endeavours, others just had an idea and some had already tested their ideas at various hackathons. The one common feature? No one had actually launched a product.

So how does one go from having an idea to launching a product? MAP is here to help.

Whilst there were many great speakers and topics over the two nights of the Velocity event, to want to focus on two… Traction, and Pitching.

Traction

Parkhound’s Michael Nuciforo spoke on the importance of traction before launching your product. Traction, in the startup world, refers to the growth or momentum a business or product gains as it develops and progresses. Michael outlined the different types of traction: good, bad, paid, organic, high, slow and none. Good traction is when people generally have a “feel good” attitude to your idea and often it involves high traction… lots of people like it! This is great for your product and you can move forward with your idea. Bad traction, slow or no traction means there is some resistance to your idea…. but this is okay since you can make changes and develop your idea into a product customers will love. The worst kind of traction as Michael pointed out is mediocre traction. This is the type where there is no real love or resistance to your idea. It’s the hardest to fix as you don’t know if people like any part of it and you have no feedback to improve on.

Whatever type of traction your idea has, the most important thing to do is find out what your traction is. Once you have good or high traction, you can move forward with your product. Investors will know people want it and as human beings we all want what everyone else has… pretty soon everyone will want your product!

Michael finished on one more awesome point; to have goals and targets which are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. Even if your goal is bad, it’s better to have a bad target than none at all. At least if you have some sort of target you have something to aim at. Shooting blindly will get you nowhere so make sure you set yourself SMART goals.

Pitching

As you might know from my previous post, I have a passion and love of pitching. There is a real art to it and everyone does it slightly differently. There are however some key characteristics of a good pitch and Steven Wibowo highlighted these perfectly. Co-founder of Eira BioTech and currently competing in the 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition, Steven knows his way around an awesome pitch.

Before you even THINK about pitching, Steven says you need to answer the question “why do you pitch?” Is it to sell an idea? Is it to gain money? Is it to simply promote? Your answer to these questions will ultimately determine how you talk to your audience and what you tell them. The interest and stance of your audience will greatly dictate how you frame your pitch. If you are talking to a bunch of bankers or finance brokers, then lots of numbers and data will work well. If it’s an artist or designer, then images of your product are more beneficial. Tailor your pitch to your intended audience and make sure you grab their attention in approximately 5 seconds. People are not only insanely busy these days, but they are surrounded by the constant ‘noise’ of the internet and social media. You need to break through this by being punchy, short and inspiring.

Combine this captivation with emotion, feeling and your own person touch. Everyone pitches differently so you need to find what works for you and run with it. Don’t be nervous! Instead, show off your passion, enthusiasm and energy. This goes a long way to making you stand out. Be calm, approachable, open yourself up and tell something unique about what makes you, you. Also remember to smile, and breathe… breathing is important… for, you know… survival!

One of the best quotes I got from Steven last night was “people invest in people. People help people they believe in”. So make yourself someone people can believe in! If you aren’t a pitcher, or you get nervous, shy or anxious, try out the power pose. Steven talked about how the power pose will literally empower you. These poses are often referred to as the ‘Superman’ or ‘Wonder woman’ poses. Doing these for just 2 minutes will not only relax you, but make you feel powerful and assertive. This is because these poses stimulate the release of testosterone (the feeling of dominance) and reduce your amount of cortisol (stress hormone). Cortisol is also known as your “fight or flight” response. It’s the primary reason why the majority of the population fear public speaking over death. Smiling has the same effect as power posing. That’s why you should always smile in your pitch, not just because you are a nice person, but to reduce cortisol in your body. This will make you feel in control and less nervous. Pitching should be fun, not feel like your life is on the line.

Doing these few simple tricks will ensure your pitch has a strong delivery, spoken by a passionate, energetic person who is excited about their product. If you are thrilled by something, show it! Your audience will have no choice but to join you for the awesome ride ahead.

Thanks for reading and look out for the next stage of Velocity… Escape Velocity.

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