Tips for Winning a Pitch Slam For Your Food Business

First Place

Pitch slams are hard. It’s hard to get out there and show up. It takes grit. It takes courage. Winning a pitch slam is a skill. And still, do it.

Here are some tried and true tips that work, followed by areas where there may be room for improvement, and we’ll end with a few questions the judges always ask.

A winning pitch has the perfect balance of storytelling and data. 

To begin, avoid getting too wrapped up in your origin story. While it’s crucial for demonstrating to judges and investors that your product aligns with the market, in your limited time (typically 5 minutes), prioritize showcasing how you’ve leveraging sales and data. Prove that your brand is built to last by leveraging concrete evidence. Begin with an engaging narrative, then reinforce your pitch with compelling data.

To illustrate, past sales, velocity, reporting, category reports, trending ingredients, sustainability, re-order rates and retention are all important data points.

Winning a pitch slam has many aspects to consider. Is your presentation visually appealing? For example, are you using bright colors, infographics, and great imagery? Your PowerPoint shouldn’t be a novel and no one in the audience should have to read the slides to glean key information. Keep the focus on you, the speaker, as much as possible.

Above all, have your tech dialed in. Unstable internet, poor sound quality and grainy images are distracting and, might I add, amateur.

Here is an often-overlooked area that can usually be improved upon. Practice.

Always work to improve your timing. Aim to finish just a few seconds before reaching the time limit. If you’ve practiced, there is absolutely no excuse for running out of time. From the outset, you were aware of the time limit, so there’s no reason to exceed it.

Judges and investors may want to keep listening. They want to let you get to the heart of the pitch and all of a sudden, you’ll be cut off. As I’ve noted, if you practiced and your timing consistently came in at 5 minutes, what went wrong?

To begin, practice with a stopwatch. Practice your technique.

Then, record yourself. Watch the recording with a keen eye to areas where you can improve.

Your pitch should not be missing key details. If it does, the judges will ask:

“Where in the store is your product sold? Is it shelf stable? Center aisle? Frozen?

Even if your product requires refrigeration, don’t hesitate to acknowledge it. Avoiding the topic reflects poorly on your presentation. To be sure judges will ask, and that take up valuable Q&A time. Add it because it shows you’re aware of the challenges that are a part of your category.

How closely do you have control over your supply chain process? What impact would exponential growth have on your ability to source key ingredients?

If you use a specialty product (for example, pure maple syrup from a single orchard in Vermont), what is the supply capacity of that source and what guarantee do you have that you’ll receive the quantity you need?

Add something about how your sourcing can grow as velocity increases. If, due to limited capacity, it’s not true, admit you’re aware of it and at the same time, explain how you’re working to secure your supply.

Do you self-manufacture or co-pack? There is no right or wrong answer, simply share the information.

If you co-pack, are you guaranteed line time? Can you meet production if your sales meet the growth you’ve projected? After all, it’s one thing to get on the shelf. Staying on the shelf and selling off the shelf are different matters, entirely.

To reiterate, what’s your in-store marketing strategy?

How are you going to capture online sales when you add eComm as a sales channel?

How do you attract new audiences?

What’s your digital marketing strategy?

What data do you have on expansion and velocity?

Finally, do you understand in-store promotion and have you budgeted for it’s related expense?

in a pitch slam, Judges and investors are deciding if you’re a “good bet”. 

Here’s a key point: If you win the pitch slam, where are the holes in your business? In other words, what would break if demand suddenly skyrocketed? Can you keep pace with production? What about sourcing? Do you understand the logistics required to transport your cold or frozen product across the country? Do you have a plan for when you land new accounts?

To conclude, there’s always room for improvement.

Just get out there, show up as your best self.

It takes grit. It takes courage. As a matter of fact, you have both.

For small food businesses looking to grow their operations, Crafted Kitchen rents affordable and flexible commercial kitchens in Los Angeles. We have a wealth of free resources. In addition, get feedback or practice your pitch. Schedule a call today. Looking to up your game?

Crafted Kitchen is a shared use commercial kitchen in the Arts District of Los Angeles. We offer flexible kitchen rentals to small food businesses. Rent a kitchen today!

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