We all know that we are in unprecedented times, and we're in the middle of a pandemic. For many women entrepreneurs and small business owners, the COVID-19 pandemic has created lots of challenges - top among them lost business and reduced cash flow. To survive in these challenging times, it's about time women in business learned how to pitch for free money to get the funding they need to thrive and win.
We're all still waiting on the second wave of stimulus checks and relief to come through, but you can create your own stimulus. You can get free money. There are billions of dollars out there in business funding for you all to be able to get access to. So, what we want to do is to show you how to go after it. We’re providing strategy, tips and tricks on pitching for free money while also sharing some resources and tools to help you along the way.
Let's get started:
There's No Better Time Than Now to Seize Opportunities
With your business struggling with cash flow, you might be wondering what your other options are. But the truth is, there are so many grants and other funding opportunities for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. There's no better time than now to seize the funding opportunities available. These opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business owners were never here before and may never come again.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don't know these opportunities are available. By learning how to pitch for free money, you get to open doors of funding opportunities for you and your business. You can pitch to all types of people, organizations, companies, foundations to get access to money for your business. If you're a startup business like many others out there, how do you get started? Where do you get the money?
There are pitch competitions for you to present your idea. So if you have a great idea, a great product, or an excellent service, you can pitch it before it even gets to market or even when it's in the concept phase and win money so that you can go and start that business right away. That's how you get the money to start your business.
What Pitching Means For You as the Business Owner
There are numerous funding opportunities for women entrepreneurs to pitch themselves, their innovations, ideas, products, services, community projects, or businesses. Whether you’re doing an elevator pitch to raise money for your startup, participating in a pitch competition to win funding for your business, or applying for a grant to boost business operations affected by COVID-19, you need to think about the most critical aspects of your business.
Think of it as a brief description of who you are and consider that you're pitching that in a short period. Remember when you're in networking events, what do you have? 30 seconds? 60 seconds? You can pack a lot of punch in 30 to 60 seconds. And if you're pitching for free money for your small business, you may have three or even five minutes. Instead of focusing on the entire picture, you're going to give them a short and concrete elevator pitch.
Think about that when you want to get out there and get people excited about your idea, community project, product, or business. Your ultimate goal is all about getting to that next step - a scheduled meeting with you, a check, an introduction, or a speaking opportunity. You need to tell a great story that will entice them and bring them to you, and then you can go in for the kill.
So, when pitching, you can't put everything into it, but you need to put the most important parts. It's an elevator pitch that you should be talking about all day, every day in all your engagements.
The Importance of Telling a Compelling Story
To tell your story, you have to do it in a clear, concise manner. In just a few words, you can come up with an elevator pitch to introduce yourself. So you want to make sure that you're packing a big punch. You don't want to waste that opportunity when you get in front of someone. Think of everything you do and the conversations you have every day about your business.
You have to pitch yourself, right? Or rather sell yourself. But for many women in business, there's a thin line between trying to talk about what you do and not bragging about yourself. There's a lot of stigma around that, but the truth is, when you're pitching, applying for grants, applying for investor funding, you have to sell yourself, you have to brag on yourself.
You have to be able to show them why they should give you money over the hundred or thousands of other candidates that are presenting their calls or their business to them. Precious Williams, proud founder and CEO of Perfect Pitches by Precious, says that "When I wrote my first book, Bad Bitches and power Pitches, many people around me said it was a bad title and no one's going to buy it. They were wrong. Forbes magazine reviewed it."
"When you think about that, why do you think Forbes magazine reviewed it? It was because I was on Shark Tank, Season eight, in 2016. Was it because I already had a lot of accolades behind me? Yes. If you don't tell people what you've actually done, they're going to assume that you don't have anything going on. You have to let people know about yourself, your business and the skills and achievements you bring to the table."
Key takeaway: If you don't talk about yourself as a business owner and what you've achieved, you're going to be dismissed early. People won't even look your way, so pay attention to this - you have to flex on people daily whenever you have the opportunity to do so.
You Need to Put Yourself Out There
Think about this - when you post about yourself, and then other people post about you and what they know about you, now you have social proof. You start looking good for speaking engagements, whether they're virtual, and you get the paid speaking engagements. Now you're getting into media circles. Now you're going to be on television. Now you're going to do all these sorts of things that don't happen if no one knows what you do.
And they're never going to know if you don't put it out there. You want to be hunted, not the hunter, so you can dominate the market. We spend so much time hunting, you know, hunting for funding, or trying to get someone to see us. But if you show up and learn how to pitch yourself consistently and show up with confidence and knowing that you are qualified, you will be more successful in landing that funding you want and the attention you deserve.
Show Up With Confidence
Confidence is so crucial when it comes to pitching for free money for your small business. How you show up is important and showing up, knowing that you qualify, is even more critical. You'll be surprised by the number of people who decide they're not going to apply for grants simply because they think they can't qualify. Applying for grants is pitching yourself. You're pitching in the application.
You may think you competed against hundreds of thousands of people, but perhaps only a few hundred applied. And there's more than enough money for small businesses. There's so much money that goes unclaimed for that specific reason. And people don't know there are billions of dollars out there. Often, no one gets it because people didn't think to apply because they didn't qualify. Don't disqualify yourself.
You have to show up with confidence. Don't be ashamed of your story because that is the very thing that will help you stand apart. Besides the necessary business information funders or investors ask for, they want to know the real you.
Be a Master Storyteller
When it comes to pitching, you have to know what to say verbally and in written form. Some of you want to launch books, new businesses, new products and new services. How are you going to pitch it? How are you going to get people to know about you? You think just putting an ad out there is going to help? You have to emotionally connect with your audience because most decisions are made emotionally, not logically.
Today, there are so many grants to apply for and many ways you can lift your business off the ground. It would be best if you took advantage of any one of them. Perhaps you want to take your small business to the next level, hire people, or build a bigger brand than you ever thought possible. This is the time. Don't sleep on that. You have no idea who you're competing against when pitching.
Your story might be the tipping point to be like, you know, we're just going to give it to her because there's something powerful in what she's doing, what she's overcome and the things that she's going to do out in this world. There's a unique vision that you have, so speak it out in a compelling way that stands out.
How to Structure Your Elevator Pitch
When it comes to structuring your elevator pitch, you have to keep it simple. Who are you? What do you do? Who do you serve? Include a powerful call to action. What do you want them to do with the information you're giving them? What action do you want people to take regarding you? Do you want them to go to your website? Do you want them to check out a landing page? Do you want them to go to where you may have a book for display?
You have to direct them to where you want them to go. Get these basics right and keep your elevator short. Only include the most crucial information. If you're ready to let go of any of all excuses and you're just prepared to make it happen, then take action.
Resources and Tools
Shanté R. Roddy, the founder of She Epic Media and host of She Boss Talk, notes that "The COVID 19 pandemic has devastated so many entrepreneurs or small business owners. Many have been going out of business, especially minorities and women in business. I had to do something about it. So I actively researched grants and created an online grant tracker where you can then start your research to find grants because that's the first thing.”
"I created this tracking tool that you can use online on our website. I was seeing that my peers also wanted to know how to apply it. I found this grant. How do I apply? How do I get qualified for these grants? And how do I write and provide information in such a way that will increase my chances of winning the grant? You have to know how to pitch yourself, how to fill out a grant application, what types of things to include, what types of things to write, what types of documents that you need as a business and how to show up as the CEO that you are."
You can learn all these with The Winning Grant Application Cheat Sheet and Checklist. It's a fillable PDF document that provides step-by-step tips, recommendations, tools and what you need to do it right. So you use the checklist and say, okay, I have this, or I don't have this. Let me get this. Let me get prepared. And then you have that list of everything that you need that you didn't have.
So when the next grant comes up, you have those things to go ahead and apply. These are all things that will increase your chances of winning and getting in the pitch competitions. Do your homework to find some of the open grants that you can qualify for. To learn more about how you can improve your pitching skills, connect with Precious Williams, the pitch master, at www.perfectpitchesbyprecious.com.
We Are All About Helping Women in Business
She Boss Talk is all about helping women in business. We're here to help you amplify your impact, your influence and your income. And to do that, we need money. The money is out there, and we want to help you get it for your business. And with the right amount of money, connections and opportunities, we can dream bigger, live bigger and win together.