Advice from the 2017 SXSW Dell Experience: How to Pitch a Complex Business

Bethany Edwards of Lia Diagnostics - Interview at 2017 SXSW Dell Experience

Pitching your business is a subject we frequently write about here on Smart Hustle. In the past year, we’ve covered articles on the sales pitch, pitch contests, pitching to the media, and even pitch advice from Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary.

Recently, I encountered another angle that I think some business owners would appreciate, after watching a session where Bethany Edwards, co-founder of Lia Diagnostics, pitched her business to the crowd at the 2017 SXSW Dell Experience.

Bethany and her team have developed a biodegradable, flushable pregnancy test; therefore her business resides in the complex area of medical products and regulations. I caught up with Bethany later on to get her tips for small business owners in similar areas where the products are complicated and highly regulated. Get the interview by clicking Play below.

In the video, Bethany also shares general pitch tips and advice for starting entrepreneurs. But if you are in a complex field or dealing with a complex product, here are Bethany’s specific tips for you:

1. Assume that people don’t understand the complexities.

Before crafting your script and materials, begin with the assumption that some or even all of the audience do not understand the technical aspects of your business or product.

2. Simplify your main message.

Since you are speaking to people who don’t understand the complexities, start by trying to explain the problem and your solution in the simplest way that you can describe it.

3. Avoid jargon.

If the audience doesn’t understand the complexities, they will not understand these technical terms; simplify your language.

4. Write as if you were explaining it to a kid.

When writing your script, picture someone who has no idea what you are doing, and try to find ways to describe the business succinctly but in a meaningful manner.

5. Practice the script but be ready to deviate.

Things may happen while you are pitching (for example, in Bethany’s pitch she lost some of her slides and had to wing it!). But you should also read your audience in real time and make on-the-fly decisions about what you should or shouldn’t include and when elaboration is necessary.

Bethany shares more advice in the video above. Her interview is the second in a series of 2017 SXSW Dell Experience coverage that we will be sharing in the next few weeks. Get the first installment by going here.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook