Seven Answers to the Question, “How Can I Help Your Company?”


By: Elizabeth Usovicz, General Manager of Transaction Commons, as part of a series she writes for ACA aimed at entrepreneurs, "Your Pitch is Just the Beginning."

If you’ve attended or presented at a startup pitch event, you’re familiar with the entrepreneur’s pressure to provide a comprehensive, entertaining and compelling view of the company in just a few minutes. At many events, a moderator or attendee asks the presenters, “How can I/we help your company?”

Several months ago, I began to notice a sameness across different pitch events in presenters’ answers to this question. It didn’t seem to matter whether the question was asked in front of a large audience, in small group or during a one-on-one conversation.

Entrepreneurs go vague. They consistently answer in basically the same way: “Visit our Facebook page/website,” or “Just help us get the word out.”

This question is a golden opportunity for a startup founder. Your answer shouldn’t be a throwaway, “help us get the word out.” Most people won’t know what “get the word out” really means in terms of actions they can take. The next time you are asked that question, take the opportunity to answer with specifics and run with it. Even if you’re not asked directly, consider asking the audience the question and answering it within your own pitch. While your answer will depend on your company’s stage, needs and priorities, here are seven examples of answers that can generate specific results.

  • Awareness: We would like to reach (number) downloads/users/likes by (date). You can help by posting the download link on our website on your social networks.
  • Distribution: We’re interested in talking to potential distributors in X industry. If you have ideas or contacts in that industry, please come up after my presentation.
  • Customer Base: We’re talking to (specific type(s) of prospects). If you have ideas about who else we should be talking to, please let me know.
  • Fundraising: We’d like to connect with investors, such as (name of investor/angel group/venture capital firm). If you have contacts to them or to investors like them, I’d be happy to talk to you.
  • Market Validation: We’re looking for introductions to users who are willing to test our beta version. If you have contacts with this profile (describe) or know someone who does, I’d appreciate your help.
  • Production: We’re talking to potential production partners and are open to exploring all of our production options. If you know of companies we should approach or can provide an introduction, we’d love to talk to you.
  • Earned Media: We’re constantly testing the most effective channels and techniques for promoting our product/service through social media. If you have suggestions that have worked for you or other companies, we’re interested in hearing about them.

In many ways, the answer to this question is as critical as your pitch. After all, if you’re not pitching to generate conversations and contacts that can move your company forward, why are you pitching in the first place?  

Subscribe

5 Steps to a Killer Pitch by Lance Cottrell  on  July 23