Solve big problems, know the market cycle and practice to strengthen your pitch.
This week at the Start Something at OceanWorks research commercialisation accelerator tackled improving the impact of business pitches. Brian Haggerty; VP of Innovation Capability for Woodside Energy, provided the industry view based on his decades in executive roles.
He emphasized 3 ways to improve your customer pitch;
- Solve Big Problems. Sounds simple but far too many people pitch a solution looking for a problem, which rarely leads to success. Companies are always seeking better ways to operate, to grow and to help their customers. Value propositions that solve their big problems are the most compelling proposition. To focus you ideas that provide solutions to companies that have competitive advantage in your ecosystem is likely to be more successful than innovations that are competing with the whole world and you have no advantage.
- Know the Market Cycle. Larger companies have different focus areas depending on the market cycle. For example, in the energy sector when oil prices are down some of the operators will have more capacity for innovation and testing new ideas. Low prices supress major development opportunities so the contractors and subcontractors are disproportionally affected and have limited capacity for expenditure on innovation and development. When prices are up creating capacity for major developments then it’s too late for innovation that takes time to mature. However the contractors will have capacity to innovate.
- Practice, A Lot. Regardless of your role everyone needs to be able to pitch well. In 1 minute you need to generate interest with impact statements of why, what and how you will solve my problem. So refine lean plan and practice so you can do with passion, conciseness and without warning. Practice in front of a mirror, an audience or your dog – it doesn’t matter as long as you practice.
“It was great to see the progress from tentative ideas to confident and convincing business pitches through the Start Something program. I can foresee many of these ideas in the market place in a short time.” Brian Haggerty; VP of Innovation Capability Woodside Energy
The high impact Start Something acceleration platform has successfully trained >350 Australian researchers to commercialise. Created by Innovation Cluster and delivered with Atomic Sky, the program is also regularly adapted for PhD’s, startups, innovators inside both government and corporations.
On April 3rd this cohort will pitch to industry, competing for commercialisation mentoring prizes including the NERA Energy Sector Innovation Prize and the OceanWorks Entrepreneurship Prize.