Experienced entrepreneur and investor Stefan Korn has seen many businesses stumble through their story during a pitch and miss opportunities to secure new investment.
He is among the judges for this year's New Zealand International Business Awards, which are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). There are 24 finalists, and winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Auckland on November 24.
He runs Wellington's start up base and innovation engine Creative HQ, which looks after more than 170 start-up firms and offers a range of innovation services for large organisations.
"There are a lot of chance encounters in the business world and often you just have to be able to pull out a really polished proposition and deliver it with impact," Korn said.
"We found that up to 50 trial runs are required to get a pitch for investment to a point where we would say, yes you're now ready to go in front of investors."
Creative HQ runs pitch training to help business founders and chief executives talk about their businesses to potential investors - and Mr Korn said the problem of not knowing how to deliver a polished pitch extends beyond the start-up community.
He said a polished pitch should be part of a business's war chest, and not just for delivering at formal investment events.
"If you are a chief executive or founder and you're in situations where you are networking then you need to have a pitch ready to go. You can't just make it up on the spot because people can see through that and it makes you look like you don't know your business."
He has founded and developed many successful ventures, including 25 start-ups from three Lightning Lab business accelerator cohorts and a range of investments from Stefan's private incubator Webfund.
When it comes to pitching for investment, Korn said it is crucial to explain how investors will make a return and to clearly articulate the value proposition to the audience.
"Investors do not care about feature lists, technology details or long biographies. They want to see how something is going to make them some money, it's really simple."
He said events designed to match companies with investors are a great opportunity to deliver a powerful pitch and help secure funding.
NZTE is the government's business development agency, and its investment team holds investment showcases each year to help companies source smart, strategic capital that supports their growth objectives.
NZTE's general manager of Investment, Quentin Quin said New Zealand has many talented companies with high growth aspirations who need capital to expand offshore.
"Our showcase events bring together companies and investors to help companies source capital that supports their growth objectives," Quinn said.
"Before the event we wrap a package of support around each company including pitch training and targeted investor matching to help the companies to deliver compelling pitches."
NZTE's recent investment showcase events have supported 26 companies and Mr Quinn said it is exciting to see how good investment can help companies grow their global brands.
New Zealand International Business Awards
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand International Business Awards (NZIBA), run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
The 24 finalists are a diverse crop of companies that are using their tenacity and ingenuity to build their businesses overseas.
Many of New Zealand's most iconic companies have been celebrated in the awards hall of fame over the past 50 years, including Tonka, Tip Top and the Apple and Pear Marketing Board (ENZA).
To celebrate 50 years of business icons, a special exhibition will be on display at the awards ceremony in November.
ANZ has been the awards strategic partner since 2009. The awards other sponsors are KPMG, MFAT, Callaghan Innovation, Special Group, Kotahi, MBIE, Te Puni Kōkiri and Treasury.
The awards winners will be announced on November 24. To find out more about the awards visit www.nziba.co.nz.