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The Successful Pitch with John Livesay

The Successful Pitch interviews thought leaders, speakers and authors as well as successful startups who share their secrets in raising funding, Investors give inside tips on what they look for when they hear a pitch. Join your host, The Pitch Whisperer and author John Livesay as he provides insights on how to make your pitch compelling, easy to understand and inspiring. John is a keynote speaker on Getting To Yes and shares tips on going from invisible to irresistible to win new clients.
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Now displaying: 2015
Jul 3, 2015

 

Episode Summary

Nellie Akalp is a passionate entrepreneur, small business advocate, and mother of four. She was named one of the top 100 Small Businesses Influencers in 2014 and sold one of her companies in 2005 to Intuit for $20 million dollars. Nellie is currently the CEO of CorpNet, an online legal documenting filing service. Nellie provides valuable insight as to what corporation you should get if you're seeking funding, whether or not you should register your company for trademark, and much, much more on today's episode.

Key Takeaways

  • 02:05 - How did Nellie get started as an entrepreneur?
  • 04:30 - You have to love and be passionate in what you do in order to be successful.
  • 07:00 - Nellie talks about her company, CorpNet.
  • 10:45 - Social media is about helping others, not about promoting yourself.
  • 12:30 - What kind of legal work should be done before approaching a VC?
  • 19:55 - What's the difference between trademarks, copyrights, and patents?
  • 23:00 - If you have a great name, take the time to get it trademarked.
  • 25:50 - At the end of a web development project, make sure you get an assignment of the rights to that code.
  • 29:10 - Nellie recommends the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

Tweetables

Creating a legacy and inspiring others is the best way to be successful. #Startups
In social media it's not about being self-promotional, it's about really being of service to people out there.
C corp or LLC for VC funding

Links Mentioned

CorpNet Nellie Akalp Twitter
Nellie Akalp Instagram
Nellie Akalp LinkedIn
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

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Jun 26, 2015

 

Episode Summary

Jay Samit is widely recognized as one of the world's leading experts in innovation and disruption. You can pre-order his newest book, which is out July 7th, entitled Disrupt You!:Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation on Amazon. Jay sits down with John Livesay to talk on some of the life lesson's he's learned over the years. In the episode, Jay shares examples of successful people failing, people pivoting their business, and much more.

Key Takeaways

  • 02:35 - How did Jay get started in his career?
  • 05:50 - Businesses don't sell products, they sell solutions.
  • 07:15 - Write down three problems you have everyday for a month and then find the problems that scale the most at the end of that month.
  • 10:10 - Jay shares an example of how he seized an opportunity.
  • 15:00 - How did Jay get separate industries to work together? He shares his story.
  • 17:45 - Pitches solve the problem for the human being across the desk.
  • 20:30 - Are you afraid to give away equity? Jay Samit has some advice for you.
  • 23:45 - You learn more from failure than anything else. Don't be afraid to fail.
  • 29:10 - Jay shares a secret contest that John's listeners can enter into.

Tweetables

All disruption starts with introspection.
Be a brand of one.
Problems are just businesses waiting for the right entrepreneur to unlock the value.
Data has no ego and makes an excellent co-pilot.
100% of nothing is nothing. 50% of something can be worth millions.
Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing themselves. Get a ZOMBIE idea that is so good it can't die

Links Mentioned

Jay Samit Jay Samit Twitter
Disrupt You! by Jay Samit Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries Disrupt You! Book Trailer 2015 - Jay Samit

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Jun 19, 2015

 

Episode Summary

Brian Smith is the inventor and founder of UGG boots. In this episode, Brian is jammed packed with some amazing stories and life lessons he has learned from creating the world-famous shoe brand. He is the author of The Birth of a Brand and in the book he shares some incredible life lessons any entrepreneur can learn from. Brian believes all businesses start out as a baby and you can not not give up on a baby. Brian also talks on how he literally lost ownership of the UGG brand, but he was able to see optimism through his biggest disappointment.

Key Takeaways

  • 03:00 - Brian shares a bit of his life story.
  • 05:30 - Americans thought Brian was crazy for trying to sell sheepskin boots in California.
  • 08:20 - By talking to Brian's target audience, he realized for two to three years he's been sending the wrong marketing message.
  • 10:50 - A business is just like a little child. You can't give birth to an adult. You have to help it grow.
  • 13:30 - Do the right thing everyday and eventually movement will happen.
  • 15:35 - Brian shares his story on why he sold UGG to Deckers.
  • 21:05 - Brian tells the story about how he lost ownership of the company he built.
  • 26:00 - If you don't take the first step to move towards your dream, nothing will happen.
  • 26:30 - Brian recommends buying books on spirituality. The message to life is living and being happy.

Tweetables

I think for every entrepreneur starting out, you have to have some level of ignorance.
There's no billion dollar company existed that didn't start with a $1,000.
Most often your most disappointing disappointments become your greatest blessings.
Retailers say we are elephants who don't move till the mice are running under our feet

Links Mentioned

Brian Smith Speaker
The Birth of a Brand by Brian Smith

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Jun 12, 2015

 

Episode Summary

Randy Rayess is the co-founder of Venture Pact as well as an angel investor. Randy was the finalist for the Innovative Awards in 2014 and has a lot of valuable insight for tech entrepreneurs. On the show, Randy talks about the importance of screening a good team, solutions to tough problems do not happen overnight, and much more on today's show.

Key Takeaways

  • 01:45 - How did Randy get the entrepreneur bug?
  • 03:40 - How did Randy come up with Venture Pact?
  • 04:10 - Work on solving a tough problem no other startup can solve.
  • 05:50 - Running a start up is a crazy marathon with a bunch of obstacles on the run.
  • 06:35 - It takes time to find the right market and to have a scalable business model.
  • 10:00 - Randy looks for a team to vet, not just one person.
  • 15:45 - It's important to find investors who are in the same field you're in.
  • 19:05 - Warm connections are the best way to reach out to an investor.
  • 20:30 - Short pitch decks let you focus investors' attention better than longer pitch decks.
  • 21:15 - What should developers do if they're in the game industry?
  • 23:08 - Randy lists a couple of his favorite books.

Tweetables

Startups require a lot of patience and extreme persistence.
Work on solving a tough problem no other startup can solve.
Running a start up is a crazy marathon with a bunch of obstacles on the run.
Short pitch decks let you focus investors' attention better than longer pitch decks.

Links Mentioned

The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
Drive by Daniel Pink Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew Grove
Lean Startup by Eric Ries
@RandyRayess
Randy Rayess LinkedIn
Questions@VenturePact.Com.

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Jun 5, 2015

 

Episode Summary

Danny Cohen is the General Partner at Carmel Ventures, which is based out of Israel and has been a Venture Capitalist for the past 15 years. He says his company receives over 500 pitches a year, yet they only do about 7 deals. He gives the honest truth about what a VC looks for in an entrepreneur and talks to John about his favorite pitch, successful startups, and much more.

Key Takeaways

  • 02:00 - Why did Danny decide to become a VC?
  • 05:10 - The amazing story behind Watch Doc being sold to Blackberry.
  • 09:10 - What is OutBrain?
  • 12:15 - You can't fire your investor, which is why you have to choose them carefully.
  • 17:50 - The entrepreneur has to understand the market dynamics and their customer base.
  • 20:55 - Don't try to raise funds all in one week. Schedule 3-4 meetings, get feedback, and try it again.
  • 23:45 - Danny really loves business books catered around sports.

Tweetables

Relationships are so important no matter where you live.
Tell a story that everybody can understand.
What is your motivation beyond money that made you do your startup?

Links Mentioned

Viola Notes
Israel Venture Capital 3.0

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May 28, 2015

 

Episode Summary

Paul Grossinger is an entrepreneur and angel investor and shares some key insights as to what makes a successful pitch. He truly believes practice makes perfect and tells the audience to always keep practicing no matter how many speeches you have given. He also tells future entrepreneurs not to push the investor too hard from the beginning. Investors need to build a relationship first before they will invest in you and your company.

Key Takeaways

  • 01:30 - How did Paul go from journalism to being an investor?
  • 05:24 - Paul pays attention to the team and why they're a right fit for that company.
  • 10:20 - Paul likes to really get to know a company well before investing.
  • 16:00 - You have to be confident in your delivery when you're pitching. Practice, practice, practice!
  • 22:40 - What are some common pitching mistakes startups make?
  • 27:20 - Paul doesn't always like to go by the book, but recommends a few of his favorites which are Drive by Dan Pink and Purpose Economy by Aaron Hurts.

Tweetables

The most successful entrepreneurs we see are ones that have a deep understanding of their market.
Carve your own path
You have to have confidence in your delivery. You have to practice your pitch delivery at least 50-100 times.
There is no exception to practicing.

Links Mentioned

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Drive by Daniel H. Pink
Purpose Economy by Aaron Hurst

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May 22, 2015

 

Episode Summary

Scott McGregor is a consultant for tech startups based in Silicon Valley. Scott shares an amazing story about Rick Giarrusso raising ten billion dollars to build a rocket and how entrepreneurs can mimic his strategy to get the funding they need for their own business. He also talks on being committed to your business 100% and why you shouldn't worry about your idea getting stolen.

Key Takeaways

  • 02:40 - Scott's grandfather told him that he has a duty to make the world better.
  • 06:40 - Scott shares an amazing story on how Rick Giarrusso of Rotary Rocket was able to raise ten billion dollars.
  • 18:45 - KickStarter is an excellent way where you can reach potential customers.
  • 25:30 - Until you make a lot of money, no one is interested in stealing your idea.
  • 28:30 - Scott talks about why The Goal is a great book for entrepreneurs.

Tweetables

If you're trying to raise a billion dollars, that's too much for Silicon Valley VCs.
Go to your customers first and you get them to agree to pay you before you build it
You're the value, not the idea.

Links Mentioned

The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox.
Selling the Wheel by Jeff Cox.
Scott McGregor
Swift Design Group Point Green

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May 15, 2015

Episode Summary

Ben Larson talks on the importance of answering all the questions in your pitch and why the customer should come first before the product

Key Takeaways

  • 01:15 - People buy emotionally and then back it up with logic.
  • 03:05 - The founder and CEO of Pandora received 300 "No's" from investors.
  • 06:23 - Ben shares his favorite success story.
  • 11:30 - Have you ever been pitch assaulted?
  • 16:40 - In a pitch, have a question and then follow it up with an answer. Repeat this structure.
  • 20:20 - It's about the person, not the idea.
  • 25:40 - Don't sell the product, look at how your customer thinks instead.
  • 28:15 - At Founder Institute, they focus on building a strong entrepreneur and not a strong idea.

Tweetables

“The confused mind always says no.”

“It's best to assume there are no unique ideas, only unique ways to approach those ideas.”

“Target your assumptions and prove those assumptions wrong or right.”

Links Mentioned

The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki [book]

Essentialism by Greg McKeown [book]

http://fi.co/

http://www.blarson.com/

Ben on Twitter: @blarson

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May 1, 2015

 

Episode Summary

Jim Beach has successfully pitched the White House and has a radio show that plays on 11 FM stations called School for Startups. He talks to John about his successes, how to pitch the right way, what rock stars in an elevator is about, and much more on today's episode.

Key Takeaways

  • 02:30 - Jim shares a little bit about how he got started.
  • 07:35 - Jim and Chris created 14 rock star pitches for their rock stars in an elevator concept.
  • 11:10 - Check out Entrepreneur DNA and Bosidna.com to find out what kind of entrepreneur you are.
  • 14:45 - Pitching at the White House
  • 18:00 - Be very honest with your potential investors. Dump out your dirty laundry first.
  • 25:00 - People remember stories, so always tell a story when it comes to promoting your business.
  • 27:30 - It's very easy to hack Google Maps and it can hurt small business owners.

Tweetables

The keys to being successful is having an enticing opening to your pitch...
As an entrepreneur, you're going to get a rejection 9 out of 10 times.
It's more important to find someone who has a different entrepreneurial DNA...

Links Mentioned

Entrepreneurial DNA by Joe Abraham
bosiDNA Exposing Google Maps by Jim Beach
School for Startups Radio
Jim on Twitter: @EntrepreneurJim
JimBeach.com

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May 1, 2015

Episode Summary

Andrew Ackerman is the Managing Director for DreamIt Ventures. He was the COO of Bunk1.com and shares some insight on how he pitched people within 30 seconds or less. Andrew also talks about how Meerkat got started and what it takes to get the attention of a potential investor.

Key Takeaways

  • 02:40 – Andrew talks about Bunk1.com
  • 09:20 – Don't pitch everything, just pitch enough so your customer asks you more.
  • 17:15 – The one skill that's critical for an entrepreneur is empathy. Put yourself in the investor's shoes.
  • 18:35 – Andrew breaks down the different viral levels a company can fall under.
  • 24:05 – Andrew talks about Meerkat.
  • 27:10 – Help an investor understand what makes your company special right off the bat.
  • 31:10 – Reach out to Andrew via email with a warm introduction and a clear subject line.

Tweetables

"Don't pitch everything, just enough to get them to lean forward."

"It's important for people to realize that just 'cause you're in love with something doesn't mean it's the right thing to pursue."

"Meerkat is an overnight sensation two years in the making."

Links Mentioned

Mastering the VC Game by Jeff Bussgang [book]

Andrew Ackerman runs DreamIt's startup accelerator program in New York. Serial entrepreneur, former investment manager at a family office, and recovering management consultant. Follow at @AndrewAckerman and @DreamItVentures.

DreamIt is one of the top accelerators in the world, having helped launch 178 companies since 2008 including SeatGeek, Meerkat, LevelUp, Adaptly, Parsely, Elevate, Cloudmine, Biomeme, et. al., who have collectively gone on to raise $270M and who are worth over $810M.

DreamIt is currently accepting applications for the DreamIt Health Philly program starting in July. Application deadline May 1: http://dreamit.com/apply/

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Apr 24, 2015

Episode Summary

Andrew Medal has a remarkable story on how he went from a prison inmate to becoming a serial entrepreneur. He talks to John about how he became an Entrepreneur magazine contributor, his charity work with Last Mile, and shares some insightful tips on how entrepreneurs can get investor interest without any experience or a working prototype.

Key Takeaways

  • 02:15 - Andrew talks about how he got his job working for an angel investment firm.
  • 05:20 - What's considered a great pitch versus a bad one?
  • 09:10 - Andrew talks about the charity project he's involved with called Last Mile.
  • 16:35 - Mistakes are an important part of an entrepreneur's journey. Don't give up on taking chances and risks.
  • 21:30 - How can entrepreneurs raise money without a working prototype?
  • 28:30 - Andrew recommends people read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Tweetables

Paint a picture to #investors. Become the #Picasso of Pitches.

There's a lot of first time entrepreneurs that don't have experience, so explain to your investors why you're the right team.

Just because you've made a mistake, doesn't mean you should stop dreaming.

No matter what we're doing as entrepreneurs, if we're learning in the process, we're growing and we should never stop learning/growing.

Links Mentioned

http://buzzsumo.com/

http://www.invisionapp.com/

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

AndrewMedal.com

@AndrewMedal

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Apr 17, 2015

Episode Summary

In today’s episode of The Successful Pitch, John Livesay features Eva Ho, the co-founder of Susa Ventures on to give her thoughts on staying true to your focus, being part of an entrepreneurial team and where to find your inspiration. As a member of a small company later taken over by Google (Applied Semantics), she also gives some great insight into what it’s like to have your company bought by an Internet giant, yet still retaining the original family feeling.

Key Takeaways

  • 00.14 - John Livesay gives a bit of background information on today’s guest, Eva Ho.
  • 03.09 - Regardless of your beginnings, having the drive and ability to network can change everything.
  • 04.54 - It’s not just business anymore; try to connect with your clients on a personal level.
  • 07.25 - Marketing styles: How important is having a personal brand?
  • 10.39 - Conveying your true passion should be a key aim of any pitch you do.
  • 12.31 - Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean going it alone.
  • 15.07 - What does having Google buy your company feel like?
  • 16.41 - If you do eventually want to sell, ask your investors for help, guidance and their expertise.
  • 19.59 - Pre-Google and post-Google: The impact on a small company.
  • 21.22 - Changing jobs and seeing the situation from the other side.
  • 23.20 - Advice for making a good impression and getting an appointment.
  • 26.53 - Eva Ho talks about how to find authenticity and inspiration through certain books.
  • 28.10 - Get the know-how, and being a woman can really be an advantage in the tech world.
  • 29.27 - Get in touch with Eva Ho via email (eva@susaventures.com) or Twitter @eva_ho

Tweetables

You can fake a lot, but you can’t fake passion.

Be prepared: due diligence starts before you’re even through the door.

Investors aren’t interested in hearing about your exit strategy.

Going over to Google was an extension of our family. How can you scale yourself?

How can you scale yourself?

Links Mentioned

www.YCombinator.com

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries [book]

Zero to One by Peter Thiel [book]

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Apr 17, 2015

Episode Summary

John introduces Judy Robinett to the Successful Pitch show. Judy Robinett is the author of How to Be a Power Connector as well as a consultant for business professionals and entrepreneurs. Judy talks about common mistakes entrepreneurs and startups make when pitching their idea to an investor, how to prepare for a due diligence check, how to expand your network, and much more on today's show.

Key Takeaways

  • 01:30 - Judy talks about her background and experience.
  • 04:35 - There's 7 billion people out there and 369 trillion in global private wealth – there's no lack of wealth.
  • 07:45 - Investors are paying more attention to your character than to your idea. Are you honest?
  • 11:45 - Some angels are devils just like some ventures are vultures.
  • 17:30 - Judy talks about some of the advisory boards she's apart of.
  • 24:30 - It takes three pivots on average to really nail a business.
  • 28:00 - Ask an angel after you finish your pitch, “What other ideas do you have for me and who do you think I should talk to?”
  • 31:10 - Share your story and never ask for money initially. Surround yourself with advisers first.
  • 34:30 - Talk to strangers!

Tweetables

Old school networking is dead. Used to be who you knew and what you knew, now it's who knows you.

Research shows that if you've been raised in a lower-middle class family, we're taught not to ask!

We talk to strangers 2-3% of the time, important people in your life were a stranger at some point!

Links Mentioned

How to Be a Power Connector by Judy Robinett

http://www.judyrobinett.com

Golden Seeds

Techstars

Illuminate Ventures

SpringBoard

CircleUp

Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

Judy's Bonus Content

As you heard during the interview, Judy was incredibly generous with a whole list of attachments. I've made the files she mentioned available by simply clicking here to download.

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Apr 15, 2015

Episode Summary

John Livesay invites Charlene Miller to the Successful Pitch today to talk about some of the key things investors look for in a company. Charlene has an impressive track record and is famously known for raising a million dollars in 90 days. In fact, she can raise a million a lot faster these days as she's gotten better and more efficient at her job. On today's show, Charlene talks about the importance of connections, the people behind the team, and the concept of good and bad money.

Key Takeaways

  • 06:22 – Charlene talks about the company she raised a million dollars for in 90 days.
  • 11:45 – Forget about the idea, focus on being committed to your business first.
  • 19:30 – Don't do a pitch without talking to Charlene.
  • 26:00 – In life you have to have a sense of humor. If you don't, then check out early!
  • 30:00 – The MamaBear company already came with a full team and Charlene was easily able to raise $2 million in funds for the company.

Tweetables

They're selling you as much as you're selling yourself. It's not a 1-way street.

If you don't have a commitment to your business & take no risk, you shouldn't even try to be in business.

People invest in people, they don't invest in ideas.

Links Mentioned

Charlene on LinkedIn

http://www.compete.org

http://www.globaldirectors.com

http://mamabearapp.com

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Apr 1, 2015

The Successful Pitch interviews successful startups who share their secrets in raising funding, as well as investors who share their criteria, so that you become an insider into the world of getting funded. Join your host, author and funding strategist John Livesay as he provides insights on how to make your pitch compelling, easy to understand and inspiring. You will learn the 5 Cs needed to get funded fast: Confidence, Connection, Commitment, Collaboration and Check List. You can download the FREE PDF "3 Mistakes To Avoid When Pitching" at http://sellingsecretsforfunding.com

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