Pitching: Allon Raiz’s Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

Updated on 7 July 2014

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Entrepreneurs pitch their way to success

Now in its fifth year, the Pitch and Polish programme held in Soweto on Saturday is an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to have their business ideas brainstormed, tested and challenged live with audience participation.

It all happens under Allon Raiz’s (pictured above), founder and CEO of incubator Raizcorp, careful guidance. Budding entrepreneurs learn important skills including how to present an idea to potential investors convincingly.

“Every business entity should have a reason to exist”. This was some of his advice from the sidelines.

Most importantly, he says entrepreneurs must communicate their business ideas effectively. This is the ability to differentiate between a pitch to “sell” a product and a pitch to “attract” investment.

Without these ingredients, upcoming businesses are doomed to fail and have no reason to even exist.

“Make your pitch easy to understand. You must make the investors understand the product you are trying to sell”

Pitch and Polish

Five provincial finalists were put to the test and tried to present a good account of their business ideas, but it was clear that they still had a lot to learn. Their business ideas varied from fertiliser made of paper and growing mushrooms to a stokvel bank, an online office supplies store and cargo bicycles for recyclable goods; judges and the audience were treated with the best and the worst pitches.

The presentations are moulded, reshaped and polished until the very final version which had to be delivered in three minutes.

“Make your pitch easy to understand. You must make the investors understand the product you are trying to sell,” Raiz told the contestants.

As someone who has experience helping struggling entrepreneurs turn their fortunes around, Raiz says he was impressed by the growth among the contestants compared to their initial presentations.

“I have seen a huge transformation from the contestants in terms of the quality of thinking and presentation of right information,” says Raiz.

All contestants expressed gratitude for the opportunity.

See Also: Pitching Advice From Founder Who Raised R1-Million

Don’t jump into something difficult for you to do. Be realistic

SME challenges

Raiz believes that one of the most pressing challenges faced by budding entrepreneurs is “a compelling economic right to exist”.

“Don’t jump into something difficult and hard for you to do,” he said. “Be realistic.”

Raiz says entrepreneurs should familiarise themselves with the economics of the industry they want to operate in, and also do the costing correctly.

He says his company is struggling to find the right entrepreneurs to mentor, hence it is sitting with millions of unused bursary funds.

Raiz’s unconventional ways have seen him release a book Lose the Business Plan in which he sheds light onto how valuable the “entrepreneurial heart” is in business, rather than the paper a plan is written on.

Raiz’s 5 questions to ask yourself when preparing a killer pitch:

  • Who are you? What business are you doing?
  • What’s your target market? Why should they buy from you?
  • How long have you been in business? What are your expertise and experience?
  • How much do you need and how will you use it?
  • How and when will you pay the investors back?

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