How to Pitch and win grants
When you need funding for your business, there are many places to look. One of the sweetest ways you can ever get your business funded is through grants, especially if your business idea is wow. A great business idea is a factor in winning grants but it is not all you need. If you have a great idea but you not know how to pitch it to investors, it does no good at all. At the end of the day, a good business idea without the right contacts and right pitch, will end up on the shelf, except, of course, you are capable of funding it some other way.
What is a grant?
According to Wikipedia, “Grant are funds given by an entity – frequently, a public body, charitable foundation, or a specialized grant-making institution – to an individual or another entity for a specific purpose linked to public benefit. Unlike loans, grants are not to be paid back.” The market business news defined a grant as “A quantity of money, i.e., financial assistance, given by a government, organization, or person for a specific purpose. Unlike a loan, you do not have to pay back the money.”
What is a pitch?
According to Indeed Editorial Team, “Pitching in business refers to presenting business ideas to another party. Business pitching is a common method for proposing new ideas and gaining support for them”.
Pitching is all about how you “find your way into the heart of investor”, or how you convince them that putting money into your business is a sensible thing for them to do. Without a good pitch, your good idea might just remain an idea forever, especially when you don’t have the means to fund it some other ways. The importance of knowing how to pitch as an entrepreneur cannot be over-emphasized because not only is it needed to pitch your business for funding, you will also need your pitching ability anywhere and anytime you need to talk about your product, service, or solution. When you need to speak to customer or convince someone to buy, when you need to sell your products to new clients, you will need your pitching ability intact. So, learning how to pitch will always prove to be a great asset for a business owner anytime. Here, we are talking about how to pitch and win grants. So, how do you pitch when seeking grants such that you get it?
Steps to take when pitching for a grant or funding
When preparing to pitch your ideas for winning a grant, you must pay attention to the following steps
- Create your pitch deck
A pitch deck is simply a summary of the things you want to talk about in your pitch made into a presentation format. It should be bullet points alone, not your entire speech, since you already know what you want to talk about. Also, ensure that it is well designed and use infographics as much as possible. Infographics such as charts, table, graphs, and even pictures where appropriate does communicate your ideas better than texts and so should be used more.
- Rehearse your pitch
This is absolutely important and I cannot stress it enough. You want me to tell you the most important secrets to great speeches and great pitches beyond any other thing you will be learning here? Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! You won’t ever understand this concept until you have done the presentation to an imaginary audience and assessors the tenth time, and then compare the tenth presentation with the first one you did. Your will see a whole world of difference in your composure, stability, fluency, confidence, fervor, and verbal prowess. Rehearsals always does it – most of the times, it never fails.
- Employ the power of a story
In pitching, whatever the purpose is, learn to win your audience’s hearts with a compelling and intriguing story – one that drives home your point. Let the story paint the picture of the problem you are trying to solve or address with your idea and why it is so much important for the problem to be addressed now. Then, proceed further, using the power of your story, to describe the solution you are offering, how it works, and what makes it unique to other solutions that may have existed before yours. The better you can ‘penetrate’ the souls of your assessors, the more likely you can get them to say a “Yes!” for your idea – and storytelling helps you achieve just that, especially if it well-rehearsed. You should also attempt to speak about your target market, your tractions, milestones, revenue model, marketing strategy, and other important things. Do not in any case forget to talk about the team you are working with and why you believe that the combination of strengths within your team will make your business, project, or idea successful. This is really important.
- Talk about the money
When pitching to win grants, it is important to speak about money, of a necessity. You need to talk about how much money is needed to push your kickstart your idea or push it to the next stage, talk about how your idea will make money and how much money you hope to make within a given period of time, talk about how profitable this idea will be if executed, and so on. This is very important when pitching for a grant. Lastly, you need to explain in concise but very clear terms, how you will use the money that’s to be given in grant, if you are awarded.
- Use simple and plain language and words
You simply gain nothing if after all is said and done, your audience could not understand what you are trying to say all along – or worse still, they got a message that is completely opposite of the exact information you want to pass across. What a miscommunication that would be! Never use complicated jargon when speaking to investors, assuming that everyone plays in your field and understands everything terminologies you are using. Approach your pitching with a mindset that everyone you are speaking with are novices and are children as far as what you are talking about is concerned, and so, speak as you would try to make a child understand your concept and idea – in a very simple way. Never use words or terminologies that would require your audience needing a dictionary to interpret. If you do that, it may make you sound inflated (at least to yourself), but what good does that do if you miss the grant after speaking all the grammar?
- Follow guidelines
Most of the times, and more often than not, grant-giving organizations or grant-giving government agencies would usually have prescriptions on format, word length, time frame, etc. for pitches, whether live or virtual, and they expect you to stick with these guidelines as much as possible. Many times, violation of these guidelines often lead to disqualifications. So, beware!
- Never exceed the stipulated time
This is where many people fail despite great presentation. In the actual sense, it is pretty much better to have said the most important things before your time is up than trying to say them after the time allotted you is already passed
- End your pitch gloriously
It does make a lot of sense after you have said everything to end your pitch in such a way that your audience is wowed. On the other hand, it makes no economic sense, after speaking so well, to end your pitch in a way that erode all the positive emotions you have aroused in your audience. Why should you dampen the show and kill every fire you have kindled at first?
- Leave your contact details
It is always a good practice to emphatically tell your assessors how you may be reached should you be considered for the grant. They do not need to ask for it, just give it to them anyways.
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