Monthly Archives: January 2015

Creating a Quick Pitch

ForumspeakerA Quick Pitch is similar to an Elevator Pitch, in that you are trying to deliver an actionable message to your listener in a short amount of time. However, a Quick Pitch takes place within more defined context, such as a competition, and is specifically done in front of an audience.

Consider the case of a 1-minute business idea quick pitch competition. Your goal with the audience is to get their time, money, or vote for your team or project. You may be trying to generate a buzz that could energize early adopters, win a competition, or just determine if your idea has legs. You will be one of many pitches that the audience will hear, so you need to stand out and be memorable.

The Basics

Your pitch needs to include several basic elements. Having these elements does not guarantee a good pitch, but omitting them will certainly prevent your pitch from succeeding.

  1. Name your company, product, or project. If you don’t have a good name for it, nobody will even be able to refer to it. The name should be easy to remember (and spell). It does not need to be your final trademarked brand. It just needs to get you through this pitch competition.
  2. Explain your value. Justify your existence by the value you are delivering to your clients. A product that delivers no value or solves no problem has no chance to succeed and no reason to be memorable. Make sure you communicate your value proposition.
  3. Make your ask. If this pitch competition is more than a feel-good exercise or class drill then you want something from your audience. You may want them to join your team, buy your product, fund your company, or vote for you to win. You cannot get a “yes” if you do not ask the question. Explicitly make the “ask”.
  4. Show your model. How is this project going to sustain itself financially? Will it charge its clients, get income from third parties (such as advertisers or vendors), take commissions, receive government grant funding, get donations from individuals, etc.? Your model shows how your company or project will sustain itself over time and/or create value for its owners.

The Story

Once you have all of the basic elements in mind, you can design the meat of your pitch to incorporate these elements in a memorable and compelling story. There are a variety of strategies you can use to accomplish this, so choose one or more of the elements below and craft your pitch around that.

Compelling Value Proposition

Highlight your compelling value proposition through a client story that incorporates these 3 elements:

  1. What is life currently like for your clients, without your solution? What are the problems they have and what attempts have they made to solve these problems (ideally with great effort and little results)?
  2. What is your solution that addresses these problems? What additional benefits flow from your solution that add value beyond just reducing the problem?
  3. What is life going to like for your clients, with your solution?

Personal Story

microphoneWe all love to hear personal stories. It may be your personal story, the personal story of a client, or even the imagined story of a future client. You can use the story to highlight how important the problem is, how innovative your solution is, or how much better life is for the subject with your solution. The best story is one in which each audience member can personally feel as if they or somebody they know are the main character of the story.  If they come away from the story imagining themselves using your product, then they will remember your product and might even be your next customers. Engage your audience on an emotional level, rather than just on an intellectual level.

Pitch Timing

clock-clipartSo how do you make best use of that precious one minute? There are no firm rules for timing, but the outline below is a good framework with which to start:

  • [10 sec] Introduce and sell yourself
  • [20 sec] Describe the problem you want to solve. What is your client’s life currently like?
  • [15 sec] Describe your solution. What will your client’s life be like?
  • [10 sec] What is your source of income/revenue?
  • [5 sec] What help do you need?

Many people think through what they want to pitch and then just stand up and do it. The result? They ramble on about the problem for the first 50 seconds, realize they are running out of time, and try to cram everything else into the last ten seconds as they are being escorted off the stage. Don’t be one of those people!

The solution? Practice your pitch with a stopwatch. Write down your pitch and then time yourself giving it. Then practice again and again. If you want to see how it sounds, ask a friend or family member to listen to your pitch and give you feedback. Or, video yourself with your phone and watch yourself. You will be amazed at what you see. Then fix it and practice again until you are doing the pitch you want to be doing.

Good luck!

Tag Line: Making Dogs and Their Humans Happy

NOTE: As Oliver continues his class assignments in Antioch’s BUS504, this is his response to Assignment #2: Interest Area.

Me and my human on a hike at Lizard’s Mouth

I believe that canine and human happiness is an essential element to a quality life. From my personal experience, I am happiest when I am with people and I notice that my people seem to be happy when they are with me. Also, I enjoy being with other dogs as I have noticed my people enjoy being with other people too.

My interest area is finding ways to bring dogs and people together more often so they can increase the joy and happiness in their lives. I hope to do this by building an online community of dogs and their people that focuses on generating offline interactions. Examples might include walks or hikes together, dog play dates, or dog sitting exchanges.

Geographically, I will start in the local Santa Barbara area, where it is easiest for me to meet and connect with other dogs and people in order to establish a sufficiently large core community. The model can certainly expand and be applicable anywhere in the world. I would focus on dogs that already have people (and vice versa) which could include individuals, couples, families, and elders. If things go well in this project, I might even let some cats participate (Despite the stereotype, I really do not have anything against cats.).

Oliver’s Personal Assessment Test

Adizes-OliverHere are the results of my personal assessment test, taken through the Adizes Institute online tool. As you can see, I have a strong “Integrator” personality, which is consistent with my love of people and desire to always be around them and make them happy. The secondary “Administrator” trait properly reflects my desire to have predictability, clear direction, and order in my world. “Entrepreneur” was the lowest trait, which corresponds to that fact that I really do not like change.


Oliver-keyboardI found the test results to be consistent with my world view, with the surprise that the “Is, Should, and Want” lined up more than I expected. I guess my world reflects what I want it to be more than I thought. Taking the test was a bit of a challenge. Some of the questions did not seem to apply well to me and the keyboard keys were spaced too closely together for my paws. On a positive note, the mouse tasted really good.

Oliver Takes Business 504

OliverKitchenMy name is Oliver and I have been invited, with the permission of the instructor, to audit Antioch’s BUS504, Entrepreneurship & Leading Change:

At its heart, Entrepreneurship is the development, aggregation and successful deployment of resources: financial, human, and intellectual. Innovation and creativity exists in every field of endeavor and within any organizational structure. Although the entrepreneurial spirit might be behind change in an organization, it also drives the successful implementation of carefully realized plans-and the knowledge of available resources. This course will provide students an opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial ability and, through self-reflection, explore who they want to be as a leader, social business and non-profit champion, entrepreneur, and agent of change.

I am very excited about this course, since I have a project that I would really love to make happen, and I think this course may help me move it forward. I plan to blog about my experience in the class and I hope that can help my fellow students (helping others is really important to me, as you will find out). I just love Antioch’s social mindset and paws-on approach.

UP Global Regional Summit Comes to SB – Feb 19-22, 2015

santabarbaraWe are excited to be hosting the first-ever UP Global Regional Summit, right here in Santa Barbara, California. This inaugural event will bring together Community Leaders who have organized and facilitated Startup Weekend, Startup Digest, Startup Next, and Startup Education around the Western United States and beyond.

We expect 60-80 community leaders, UP Global staff and leadership, and special guests to converge February 19-22, 2015 in Santa Barbara.

Through a generous donation by The Eleos Foundation, housing at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, Ladera Campus, is FREE for participants (while space permits). This beautiful campus offers breathtaking views and scenic accommodations.

The program for the long weekend includes a curriculum of information for community leaders, plenty of networking and getting-to-know-you activities, fun excursion options for the physically active or wine-aficionado, explorations of the vibrant Santa Barbara startup community and successes, and of course a blow-out party with a special surprise.


Santa Barbara locals who want to get involved, sponsor, or volunteer should contact me via twitter (@rongans) or LinkedIn.

(Originally posted on UP Global. View latest information.)