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With each day that passes, the startup scene continues to expand as more and more ideas take shape across the globe. Events are held everywhere to provide opportunities for these bright minds to come forth and pitch their idea so that others may agree or disagree with the startup idea.

The NEXT Challenge, organised by NEXT Academy, is a ‘shark-tank’-style ideation stage pitching event. Up and coming young entrepreneurs have 5 minutes to deliver to convince a panel of judges on why they believe their startup may be the next big thing. The finals went down last Saturday and 10 finalists were invited to pitch their idea to a panel of judges in front of a live audience.

But no matter how good an idea may be, if the delivery is poor, it falls flat on the ground. Out of all the 10, only a handful came through with a decent presentation of their ideas, but a lot more work is needed before they are truly ready.

Though there were ideas that were compelling such as using augmented reality to provide the right size for online clothes shopping and having an app that can help track public transportation to plan your schedule better, the presentations were done in a manner that made it difficult to process or the idea behind the problem was not clearly explained thus rendering the panel to deem it as uninteresting.

Before the awards ceremony, the panel of judges were given a few minutes to voice out their thoughts on the pitching session and to give some advice for startups everywhere. Here are 4 tips from these founders for startups on how to present their pitch perfectly.

“If you really believe in your idea, just try it.”

Image Credit: nextacademy.com
Image Credit: nextacademy.com

An idea remains an idea unless someone turns it into reality. Josh Teng, CEO and founder of NEXT Academy spoke on the importance of having a firm belief in your idea so that others may share that same enthusiasm as well. Despite the questions and skepticism others may have, it is vital to take these criticisms and use it to strengthen and form your idea better so that the next step can be to take it into your own hands and make it an actual thing.

“Find a problem that’s big and one that you’re passionate about so you can keep persevering to fix that problem. You need to be confident with what you’re pitching if you want others to believe in it too,” said Josh.

“Put more effort into the pitch deck.”

Image Credit: focusmalaysia.my
Image Credit: focusmalaysia.my

Sometimes an idea can sound so great in your mind that it becomes a huge disappointment when it fails to translate into proper words. Fong Wai Hong, the CEO of StoreHub, highlighted how one of the major problems he noticed during the pitching session was the lack of proper communication caused by the lack of a proper pitch deck.

He stressed on how much time should be spent on a deck and, that prior to pitching, it is vital for the startups to practice their presentation skills to ensure the overall feel of the pitch is professional and precise.

“When effort is put into the slide deck, it mirrors how the effort put into the pitch is seen as well. Spend time in building that deck. Put only words and points that bring impact, and don’t bother with graphs or diagrams that can just confuse people more. We just want to see your market validity, not a general overview of the market,” said Wai Hong.

“Justify the numbers stated in the pitch.”

Image Credit: goget.my
Image Credit: goget.my

Startups are known to be enthusiastic and ambitious, but sometimes a little too driven. Muaz Jema Khan (third from the left in the photo), the co-founder and financial controller of Goget.my, talked about how the numbers used in a pitch should be justified. Rather than impressing with big numbers or large values, the focus should be more on the problem and how it can be solved in a clean and efficient way in terms of revenue to make sure the numbers are valid and can be used to strengthen the pitch.

“As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to bullshit when giving a pitch but make sure the numbers you use are backed with the right information. Numbers and figures can end up overwhelming a pitch if the ideal behind it cannot be met,” said Muaz.

“There’s no right answer. In business, it’s all about concepts.”

Image Credit: bizsmart.com.my
Image Credit: bizsmart.com.my

Quoting the above line from his senior in entrepreneurship, Giden Lim, the CEO of BloomThis, said he applied this to his actions when it came to businesses. He stressed on how it was not always about building the product right, but more on building the right product. The market out there is huge, therefore there is never just one solution to fit all the consumer’s needs. So when it comes to pitching these ideas, think of it under a broader spectrum and not as just a one-size-fits-all answer.

“Always ask yourself, will what I am pitching be able to be of use to others? Will people enjoy what I am pitching about? Consistently ask these kind of questions to yourself so that when it comes to the actual pitching, you’ll already have the general concept in your hand,” said Giden.

Which of these four tips did you find the most useful for your future pitches? Let us know in the comments.

Feature Image Credit: startups.co.uk

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