Startup Weekend is about connecting the entrepreneurs, makers, and innovators in our community toward solving real problems by building new viable businesses from scratch in one weekend.
The main event on Friday night is called Pitch Fire. Anyone with a new business idea will be given exactly one minute to tell the room what problem they intend to solve, how they propose to solve it, and what kind of team they need to assemble.
Pitching is Caring
When our community comes together to share the problems we see, and the solutions we’ve conceived, powerful things happen. At Startup Weekend, it’s common to discover a handful of people that are deeply interested in the same things we are. Sharing our ideas is a first step toward discovering the resources and relationships we need.
It’s not required or expected that every participant pitch a business idea, but it’s strongly recommended! The experience of pitching to an audience and discovering whether your message is clearly understood by all is an important part of the entrepreneurial journey.
If you don’t bring an idea or aren’t comfortable pitching, that’s okay. Just bring your passion, skills, and tools. There are many important roles to play throughout the weekend. You’ll find a good business idea to work on, have tons of fun, learn new things, eat great food, and meet some amazing people.
Sell Your Solution; Sell Yourself
While people are listening to your idea, they’re also observing you. They’re considering whether they want to work with you in close proximity for the next two days. They’re assessing whether you seem able to work well with a team and sustain the business going forward.
You Bring More Than an Idea
As a member of the team, you hope to assemble you’ll want to quickly include a note about who you are and what you bring to the table. There’s no room in a startup for someone who is merely the “idea person”. You also bring experiences, skills, attitudes, relationships, resources, etc. What strengths do you have which are relevant? Why are you the right person to explore and execute a solution?
A simple 60-second pitch may look like:
:10 seconds – Introduce yourself.
:20 seconds – Describe the problem you’ll solve.
:20 seconds – Describe the solution.
:10 seconds – Tell us who/what you need to pull it off.
Choosing a Name
During your initial pitch on Friday night, your goal is to communicate clearly, be memorable, and generate interest in your idea. Choose a working title which is simple, descriptive, and memorable. Don’t worry — you can change it later. Imagine what someone would think about your idea based on the name alone. Without hearing your pitch, would they be able to guess what your business is about?
Practicing Your Pitch
Practice to a timer. On Friday night you’ll have exactly 1 minute to pitch your idea. It goes by fast. Practice to a timer a dozen times before you get up and do it front of an audience.
Practice with people. Practice your pitch with a variety of people. Try it on a grandparent, a friend, a coworker, a classmate, and a few strangers. Stick to your one minute pitch when practicing on people. After you pitch, ask them what they think you’re trying to do. You’ll discover what aspects of your pitch are unclear and learn to correct them so that people understand your proposal the first time.