How to Give the Winning Pitch

Written By: A.J. Rounds

As a member of the founding team at RevRoad, I’ve reviewed hundreds of pitches and learned a few things that may be helpful for you as an entrepreneur. 

Bring Your A Game

When you pitch your company to venture capitalists, investors, or other partners, bring your A game. I’m not just talking about the 10/20/30 rule coined by Guy Kawasaki (although, also extremely helpful). I’m referring to answering crucial questions in your presentation.

Pitching is an art, and there are few who do it well. Out of the entrepreneurs I’ve seen pitch, about 25% present extremely well, while 20% pitch on an average level and give the basics. The remaining 55% need to read this article

My goal in writing this is to help you secure the resources and partnerships (in some cases Venture Services) you need to succeed. 

What should you include in your pitch?

Let’s dive in. 

Know your customer

Before you begin building your pitch, answer the following questions.

  • Do you know your audience? 
  • Have you identified your target market by needs, demographics, geography, and ability to pay?

If not, that’s step 1. It is also helpful to understand what their experience level is when it comes to using your product or service. What do they currently say about your company?

Now you are ready to begin constructing your pitch.  

Problem/Solution

Can you explain what you do or offer in one sentence? If not, please practice.

Frame it in terms of the problem your target market has and how you solve it. 

Additionally, ask yourself if your market is big enough. Is your solution good enough? Putting your audience through a long, tedious exercise of trying to understand what your company does, the problem you solve, and how you are different from other options in the market will not help you.

Make it quick, easy, and obvious.

Revenue Model, Projections, Timeline, & Financial Outlook

Remember, often you are pitching to an audience that is financially minded. Be sure to spend time on your business model or revenue model

Questions you should answer include: 

  • What is your revenue model? Is the revenue recurring (preferred)? 
  • Do you have multiple streams of revenue? 
  • What is the price point of your product and corresponding profit margins?  
  • What is the lifespan of your product or service? 
  • How have you funded your business to this point? 
  • Who else is on your cap table
  • What does an exit look like for you and when?
  • What is your current valuation?
  • Are your financials and projections realistic
  • What is the timeline to revenue milestones? 

Traction 

One of the things I expect to hear about when listening to a scalable company pitch is traction achieved.

Maybe that’s a revenue number. Or, if you are pre-revenue, maybe that traction number equates to followers, an email list, or even submitted pre-orders. 

Market Size 

Closely related to traction is your market size. You should also be very familiar with this information.

Please don’t present an unrealistic TAM when pitching your business. I often hear the statement, “If I can just convert 1% of the population of China or the U.S. market, then we will have achieved our goals.” This is an instant turnoff for educated investors or partners.

Talk more about your Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) or what portion of the market you can realistically reach.

Defensibility & Competitors

In your pitch, include how your product or service is unique and defensible. Do you have intellectual property or patents filed?

Risks are mitigated when your closest competitor can’t easily copy your value proposition—which brings me to competition.

Who are your competitors? Are they well-funded? Do they have large market share? Where might your product overlap with theirs? There are many templates available that can help you create a competitor analysis report.  

Team

Discuss your team. Who are you? Who are your teammates? Why did you get into this vertical? 

Talk about your successful exit(s) or epic failure(s). Maybe even both. This shows you’re an experienced entrepreneur that understands the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship. If done right, talking about these items will give you credibility and show your passion for your company. 

If you have an advisory board, which is highly recommended, discuss who those individuals are and the value they bring to the table.  

It’s also helpful to mention who’s working full time in the business and who is not. This is critical. At RevRoad specifically, we seldom work with companies that don’t have at least one founder working full time in the business.

Summary and CTA

Include a concise summary and clear call to action as the last slide of your presentation and boom, you are ready to pitch!

As someone who listens to entrepreneurs pitch for a living, I recommend that you follow these guidelines. Your chances of a successful pitch will skyrocket. 

Whatever the pitch event, be it the annual Entrepreneur Competition hosted by RevRoad, a pitch to become a RevRoad portfolio company, or a community pitch competition like the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit Competition, incorporate these tips and you’ll nail your presentation.

Good luck! 

Applications to join RevRoad close on April 30, 2020.
Apply to RevRoad here
Learn more about RevRoad here

6 TikTok Tips for Business

TikTok has quickly become a dominant platform in the world of social media marketing. Gathering user-generated content, cross-pollinating content, and advertising are some of the main reasons why your company may want to utilize TikTok. 

Getting started on a new social platform can be overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you through the process. 

  1. Be Fun & Vulnerable
    People are on TikTok for a lot of reasons, but the common denominator is to be entertained. If your content is not entertaining or interesting, then it is a waste of time. Be fun, real, and vulnerable.
  1. Keep it Short
    Videos can only be up to 60 seconds on TikTok; however, many gravitate to stay within the 15-second range.
  2. Focus on the Music
    Music is a critical piece of creating shareable, popular content on TikTok. Utilize the trending music and original sounds in your videos.
  3. Maintain Consistency
    When you consistently create content around a specific topic, you generate interest. If users find your content relevant, useful, and interesting, they start following you. Gradually, you start getting more likes, shares, and engagement..
  4. Collaborate
    Every industry has influencers. Find out who they are and make something happen. Reach out to them, duet or react to their videos, and participate in their challenges.
  5. Use Trends & Hashtags
    Check out the “Discover” tab for trends. If you see something relevant that you like, copy it. Make it your own. Expound on the creativity of others. Find trending hashtags that are relevant to your business.

Download your “TikTok Tips” sheet here. Enjoy!

Watch the free TikTok workshop here.

As Humans: a letter from our CEO, Derrin Hill

I write this in deep sadness after the events of this past week and seeing the senseless torture and killing of an unarmed black man as he lay in the street—handcuffed and pleading for his life. George Floyd, like many others, suffered the effects of racism that plague our nation. One of the three officers kneeling on him has now been charged with murder.

As the events of this week unfolded I felt it important to share our complete and united support as a leadership team and as a company for equality, fairness, and equal opportunity for all—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, political views, or sexual orientation. 

We are grateful for each member of our team and for the respect each of us show one another. 

We fully support protesters’ rights to protest peacefully. We also support law enforcement and their efforts to enforce the law when done lawfully. 

We stand against the bad actors in any group. This includes those in law enforcement who use their position of power in unjust ways to target, harm, and kill others. It also includes protesters who riot, injure people, and destroy property. 

Thankfully, there have also been reports of healthy dialogue and constructive conversations between people and groups involved. Some of those conversations have been with the protestors and officers facing off toe to toe at our own Utah State Capital and resulted in them leaving as genuine friends.

I hope that kind of dialogue will happen at every level and result in systemic policies and structures to address the very real issues of racism which have been brought to the forefront again. I also live in hope that with each of us doing our part, we can soon live in a world where racism and its ugly cousins, bigotry, and inequity no longer have a place. 

Why write this message when any of us could just silently watch what happens?

Because each of us need to do our part as humans to add constructive solutions to the cancer of racism in our world. 

A favorite poem of mine is one I first read at the holocaust memorial in downtown Boston. It was written by Reverend Martin Niemöller: 

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

I am not African American, but I am human. George Floyd was human. And since we are all human, we should care for one another as humans. 

Thanks again to each of you for looking out for the concerns of others, for doing your part to make your family, RevRoad, Utah, the USA, and our world a place of unity and mutual respect. 

With love for each of you,

Derrin Hill

RevRoad, CEO

Where Marketers are Spending Their Money in 2020

Written By: A.J. Rounds

2020 Marketing Landscape 

We are now entering the second quarter of 2020. At the time of this writing, you and I are currently under heavy restrictions of quarantines and physical distancing for COVID-19. However, that doesn’t mean that marketing budgets disappear. In many cases, companies are ramping up their marketing spend. The following paragraphs are the top marketing objectives, budgets, and results predicted for 2020. 

Top Marketing Strategies and Objectives 

Marketing channels most implemented in 2019 and carried through 2020 continue to be email, social media advertising, and blogging/content marketing tactics as reported by Sales and Marketing Management. SEO strategies follow as a close fourth place. 

Top marketing objectives for 2020 include converting leads to customers, increasing sales leads, increasing brand awareness, producing thought leadership content, and increasing website traffic. Interestingly enough, SMM also reports that most leads are still found through referrals, trade shows, and events. The percentages are as high as 63% (referrals) and 44% (trade shows) respectively. Print advertising and direct mail are the least utilized at 3% overall. 

Marketing Dollars Spent

In support of these marketing strategies, SMM also reports that 56% of budgets are being allocated to digital marketing, 52% of budgets to website development, 36% to trade shows/events, and 27% to content/email marketing.  

RevRoad Marketing Initiatives for 2020

This data coincides with current RevRoad and portfolio company marketing strategies.  RevRoad is also ramping up our marketing spend online, building home and landing pages to convert that marketing spend, generating more content on LinkedIn, social media, and blogs, while still building person to person relationships (at a socially safe distance). RevRoad continues to invest resources into new videos produced by our amazing video team to promote online. 

As mentioned, we will be revamping our website to be more focused on you and other entrepreneurs who’d like to apply. This includes restructuring and formatting content better. Our goal certainly falls in line with converting leads into sales and increasing brand awareness. As a start, we recently launched a services page complete with videos to ‘show’ not ‘tell’ about the services we offer to scalable companies like yours. 

Summary

Without question, the largest portion of marketing budgets for 2020 will be allocated to digital strategies. Based on what SMM reports and what we’ve seen at RevRoad, the marketing channels mentioned above produce the greatest ROI. 
Good luck with your marketing efforts. Whether it’s a pandemic or other changes to the economy, don’t be afraid to adjust your marketing strategies to accommodate changing business needs. Keep going. You’ve got this!

Savology Secures $750,000 Seed Round to Democratize Financial Planning

Savology, a Utah-based fintech startup providing free financial planning, oversubscribed a $750,000 seed round of funding to make financial planning more accessible and affordable than ever before.

Several strategic investors participated in the funding round, including:

“Savology has the potential to fundamentally change the direction of personal finances in America,” says lead investor Brady Murray. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact that Savology will have on both households and the broader industry as they improve access to financial planning and other financial services.”

After creating a free financial plan, Savology users get access to a financial report card showing them
their financial strengths and areas that need improving most.

Savology boasts a considerable lineup of financial service provider partners that include the likes of MassMutualAcornsLivelyM1 FinanceSelfBlooomThe ZebraCredible and many others. Savology is on track to expand the network of partners to 50 providers this year.

“We are grateful to the early investors and partners who believe in our mission and make it possible for us to elevate Savology to new levels,” says Spencer Barclay, Founder and CEO of Savology. “We know that we have an incredible amount of work ahead of us, but we are up for the challenge to help millions of households achieve financial security.”

Savology’s Founder & CEO, Spencer Barclay, shares how Savology is helping American households improve their
financial well-being to a crowd of thousands.

To date, Savology has helped nearly 10,000 households improve their personal finances with its free financial planning platform. With the current economic uncertainty and recent stock market declines, there has never been a better time to help Americans with their personal finances. Savology plans to use this funding to help 100,000 users build free financial plans this year.

For more information about Savology visit savology.com.

For media inquiries, please contact Bri Ray, Communications Specialist, at (801) 472-2124 or press@savology.com


Your financial future starts today

Savology is a free planning platform where you can build a free, unbiased, personalized financial plan in about 5 minutes. Your Savology plan will give you action items to start working on as well as an overview of your current financial situation. After you have made some progress, Savology can connect you with some of the world’s top providers to help you accomplish your financial goals.

Build your free plan today

RevRoad Collaborates with Tangible to Provide E-Commerce Education for Entrepreneurs

In a time where marketing outlets are changing rapidly, it’s important for business owners to have a current educational foundation. Tangible School specializes in e-commerce education. They provide two 5-week education tracks with classes taught in-person by industry professionals. We are excited to announce that as of today, April 16 2020, RevRoad has joined forces with Tangible to provide up-to-date education for entrepreneurs.

Continue reading

Portfolio Company Growth Series: Savology

Savology prepares fast and free personal financial plans. In just 5 minutes, a user can receive a comprehensive plan, holistic report card, and personalized recommendations to improve their short term and long term financial wellbeing.

Savology joined the RevRoad portfolio in October 2019. In a recent case study, CEO Spencer Barclay had this to say about his experience, “We were at a point where we needed either an investment or a partner that could help us get to launch. We joined RevRoad in July 2019 and in 3-4 months we had over 1,000 users.”

Hear Spencer Barclay’s full RevRoad review here.

Brand Refresh

One of the first steps the marketing team took with Savology was collaborating on a brand refresh. 

Brand Color Exploration

Finding the primary and supporting colors for a company’s brand.

Logo Revamp

View the before/after of the Savology logo below.

As you can see, the initial logo color was bright and disjointed. The initial font was fairly thin, spacey, and difficult to read; however, the hexagon, abstracted money sign, and simplicity behind the idea were strong.

The revamped logo highlights all of the strongest features of the initial logo, yet the slight changes help accentuate Savology’s true tone and overall brand. The rebranded logo allowed Savology to better fit within the fintech industry and target the desired audience. The font was also given a custom upgrade to make it more difficult to replicate. 

Product Design and Development

Step two was designing and developing a working product software that takes each customer through the financial plan process quickly, efficiently, and easily. With the help of both the RevRoad and Savology UI/UX teams, the full Savology software was built. The clean and clear design layout makes navigation and function simple.

Screenshot of the Savology Software

Marketing Site

Savology came to RevRoad with a simple, entry level website. In collaboration with the RevRoad marketing team, a custom marketing website was built to motivate potential clients to fill out a free financial plan.

Savology Marketing Website

Social Posts and Templates

Growing a social media presence can be helpful when establishing a company within a specific demographic. One of the hardest pieces of social media is knowing where to start. Below, you’ll see examples of some custom instagram templates RevRoad designed and delivered to help Savology maintain a clean, professional aesthetic digital platforms.

Savology Social Media Templates

Press Release and Launch

On October 24, 2019, Savology officially launched to the public. The RevRoad Marketing, PR, and Communications teams worked with Savology to make some waves. The successful launch resulted in Savology being mentioned on 80+ media outlets including Forbes, YahooFinance, Business Insider, Market Watch, MorningStar, and Entrepreneur.


Read the full press release here.

RevRoad’s Announces Annual Entrepreneur Competition

PROVO, Utah — On Saturday, March 21st , Utah County’s top entrepreneurs will all gather at RevRoad HQ for the opportunity to pitch their game-changing, scalable company to panels of Utah’s most successful.

Often, the most important moment in an entrepreneur’s life is pitching their business to an investor (techcrunch.com). RevRoad’s Annual Entrepreneur Competition helps companies learn how to pitch their business with confidence and provides an opportunity to network. 

Each participant must complete a thorough application process as well as 2 rounds of live pitches for a panel of 24 judges—gathered from top business and university leaders. Using criteria including target market, problem/solution fit, team and advisors, leadership, traction, competitive advantage, financials and more, the judges will select the top 3  as finalists. All applications for the pitch competition are due Friday, March 6, 2019 by 11:59 pm. 

The three winning finalists will receive prizes:

  • $10,000 cash for the Champion
    (Cash prizes are NOT tied to an investment or equity.)
  • $2,500 cash for 2nd Place
    (Cash prizes are NOT tied to an investment or equity.)
  • $1,000 cash for 3rd Place
    (Cash prizes are NOT tied to an investment or equity.)

This event is free and open to the public, so the community will also get the chance to award a cash prize. The company that gets the most audience votes will receive:

  •  $1,000 as the Fan Favorite
    (No conditions or terms of use are associated with this prize.)

Competition sponsors are:

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For media inquiries, interviews or additional information, please contact RevRoad CMO A.J. Rounds at aj.rounds@revroad.com or by calling  (801) 368-1823.

About RevRoad

Did you know 9 in 10 new innovations fail in the marketplace? RevRoad focuses on helping you, the entrepreneur, succeed. RevRoad accepts 3–4 companies per quarter, if chosen you work side-by-side with us for two years. Along the way, you’ll experience everything you need: a mentor, networking opportunities, and key service deliverables. The RevRoad model is a venture services model to better meet your needs.