To pitch or not to pitch?

Last week I was told off by a fellow member of my class of this year’s New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF) cohort. My crime. I didn’t tell my story when I introduced my business to the group. In my defence I’ve spoken about Packed Munches several times to the group, but said fellow had a point. For the sake of anonymity let’s call said fellow Mucy.* When I started presenting to the group I said

So as you all know my business is called Packed Munches and it’s an online subscription service that sends boxes of British food to expats

Mucy said that quite frankly, that was a weak introduction, and reminded me that it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve talked about my business, or how many times I’ve talked about it to a particular person, every time I should tell my story. It should be like a pitch. But not a pitch

HUH?

Haha it sounds harder than it actually is but through NEF I’ve learnt two ways to tell your story when you’re pitching your business – courtesy of Adele Barlow (of Escape the City). It makes your ‘pitch’ so much less offensive (you all know what I mean) and makes the conversation that you’re about to embark on just that. A conversation.

The first – A Good Story

FYI I’m really getting into this and at this point wish I had made this into a video post as after the first I would have an exciting duh duh duh sound effect

Rather than pitching your business to people you meet. Tell them a story so that you can create people who want to follow your story.

Now every good story needs a hero, a conflict and a resolution:

  • Who is the hero? You can think of yourself (or rather your business/product) as a hero.
  • Where is the conflict?  What problem are you trying to solve?
  • How does your product or service provide the resolution?

So for Packed Munches the answer would be:

  • Packed Munches
  • Difficulty finding British food abroad
  • Delivers the food to expats.

So my story would be, Packed Munches delivers food to expats who have difficulty finding British food abroad. Hmmm, it’s good but it’s no cigar. Which is where the second method comes in.

THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

Why, How, What

Why, How, What

People don’t buy what you do – they buy why you do it.

Simon Sinek explains this best in his TedX talk but I’ve summed it up here for you:

The traditional way that companies sell their product is exactly as I did above. By telling you what the service is, how we do it and why.

Packed Munches (WHAT) delivers food to expats (HOW) who have difficulty finding British food abroad (WHY).

But the great companies, like Apple, they tell you why first, then how, then what. So

Living in a new country can be difficult, new culture, new language, new people. We want to encourage people to shake off the feeling of being homesick and experience the joys of being abroad. (WHY) Every month we help expats to stay connected with home and reminded of the good times (HOW) by delivering a taste of home to their doors. (WHAT)

Granted it’s slightly longer but hell doesn’t it sound better! Cue sound effect:

So I guess the answer to the question to pitch or not to pitch is to pitch without pitching. Tell your story using the Golden Circle.

Mucy also told me her favourite part of our story is our tagline. It’s like a hug in a box from home. So in full here’s my story:

Living in a new country can be difficult: new culture, new language and new people. We want to encourage people to shake off the feeling of being homesick and experience the joys of being abroad. Every month we help expats to stay connected with home and reminded of the good times by delivering a taste of home to their doors. It’s like a hug in a box from home.

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to amend my About Us and every piece of promotional material about Packed Munches 😀

Ciao ciao xx


*Mucy is not her real name. In case you hadn’t guessed. But you probably had. #cantakethegirloutoflawbutnotthelawyeroutofthegirl #inappropriatelylonghashtag

Can you learn how to be an entrepreneur?

There are pretty much two camps when it comes to this question. Those that believe you either are born with an entrepreneurial ability, and those that believe you can be taught how to the be next Richard Branson. What if they’re both right? Well I’m going to put this theory to the test by both running a business and learning how to start a business at the same time. What? Madness I hear you say. I know, I know – what can I say, I’m a rebel!

Learning how to run a business:

As I mentioned in my last post I’ve been accepted onto the 2015 cohort of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF) programme. This is an intensive 12 month programme that teaches the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial journey. Throughout the 12 months I’ll attend workshops and networking nights, complete assignments and develop a company from inception to pitching all whilst working in a sponsor organisation (Free:Formers).

The running my own business part:

I’m currently working part-time at Free:Formers learning amazing digital skills and moving into product development. Working part-time is great as it means I can spend my days off focusing on Packed Munches. There are loads of people that manage to pull off working 9-5 for a company and then working 5-9 on their home businesses. After giving it a go for a few months, I have a new found respect for those people as it is hard. I’m talking H-A-R-D. And don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not one to shy away from hard work but it is also exhausting and this is what beat me in the end.

I was so tired and had the constant feeling of not sleeping that I ended up turning into a cross between a grumpy bear and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. It was not pretty. Luckily Free:Formers saw what was happening and were happy for me to move into part-time work. I use a lot of the skills I’m learning at Free:Formers to develop my business – it started with coding and has moved on to social media – which means that both the business and my work at Free:Formers is constantly evolving

It’s too early to tell how this is going – all I know is I feel like a new born child. Everything is new and I’m trying to hold on to all the gems of information I’m being exposed to. As usual I’ll keep you updated here but in the meantime I bid you good day sir. 🙂