First Wave Workshops for Pivot East Finalists

By Jessica Colaço
  Published 18 May 2012
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Cross posted from the Pivot East Blog The 25 Pivot East 2012 finalists, on 10th May 2012, attended their first mentorship and coaching training at the iHub, Nairobi. The coaching session was on Effective Pitching .The finalist who will have to pitch to Investors, Venture Capitalists, judges, government officials and other delegates during the pitching competition conference are using these sessions in preparation for the competition. The first session was facilitated by Matia Mandela of m :Lab and Peter Karimi of Nokia . Matia, talked about Good Pitching Skills, advising the attendees that Story telling serves as one of the best ways to make a good pitch to investors. This is because it humanizes the pitch and gives it an emotional appeal touch.
To have a good pitch: 1. Target the pitch 2.  Be on time 3.  Know your audience 4. Get to the point…Fast! 5. Answer what problem you are solving 6. Use bold ideas to convey new content 7. Have small PowerPoint presentations. 8. Don’t read slides, TELL YOUR STORY! 9. Admit what you don’t know, don’t lie to the audience. 10. Know your competition 11. Control the meeting by taking charge. The second session attended by the finalists ensued on 14th May at the iHub,Nairobi. The training was on Business Resource Planning with a focus Customer Development facilitated by Courtney Mills of Sinapis Group. This session was particularly important to the finalists because as startups the companies need to know how to have good customer relations and maintaining customers.
Courtney noted that most companies fail because there is no market for their product not because their product doesn’t work. She advised that before one decides to roll out as a company, they should test the prototype in the market to make sure that the product has a market before the company is up and running. To get a market for a product it is important to analyze the market by Defining the problem you’re solving, Establishing source of Problem, Measure the impact of the Problem. “Before you test prototype, understand what users want so not to render your prototype useless and to save valuable time iterating” She Said. The greatest risk of failure in not the development of the new product but in the development of customers and markets, this means that it is important for any company to understand who their customers are. It is very vital to have a clear customer profile for your product, because it helps in identifying their needs and how they adopt your product. Types of customers for your startup 1. End users- day to day users of the product or service. 2. Influencers- Parties who think they have stake in whether your product or service is purchased 3. Recommenders: Parties whose opinion counts in getting an order e.g media, analysts 4. Economic buyer- Person with budget to buy your product/service 5. Final Decision Maker: The parties with the ultimate say in whether to buy your product/service. 6. Saboteurs- Parties comfortable with the status quo, and will try to sabotage your sale. To maintain customers, use earlyvangelist when you start off, because they will push for your product. It is very important to understand that Customers need to feel that their purchase was “worth it” and that they go a “Good Deal”. This will ensure that the customers become ambassadors of the product as well as.
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