Webinar teaches startups how to drive interest amidst hyper-competition

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has pushed businesses into a new phase of financial strain. Experts anticipate that the economic impacts of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. Between the immediacy of public health concerns, supply chain disruptions, and strained cash flows, what’s an entrepreneur or startup to do? Is there still a market for your product or service? And what hope is there to find investors to fund it, given the current circumstances? 

Just over a decade ago, Michael Dermer asked himself similar questions.

When the financial crisis of 2008 hit, the health rewards company that he had spent ten years building was pushed to the brink of failure within ten days. In that do or die moment, Dermer made some critical decisions that not only saved his business but ultimately led to its successful sale and recognition as an industry pioneer. 

Building resilience in the face of economic hardship

This experience of navigating the tumult of a financial crisis as a business owner eventually led Dermer to found The Lonely Entrepreneur, a 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of empowering entrepreneurs. Dermer commits himself to sharing the lessons of his success with other founders so they, too, can weather the bumps of building a company — including right now, during COVID-19.

A core aspect of this work is coaching on sales messaging and pitching strategy, key skill sets that can make or break a startup, regardless of how ingenious their product is. Think of it this way: If someone doesn’t know about your product or service, or they don’t understand how it would make their life better, they aren’t going to buy it. 

These topics take center stage at an upcoming virtual event on Wednesday, July 15, jointly hosted by Oracle for Startups and CIC. The central question is this: How can businesses be compelling enough to make customers buy and investors invest in a hypercompetitive world? Dermer takes his years of experience as an entrepreneur, lawyer, speaker, and coach and applies those lessons to the current financial moment. If competition was intense pre-COVID, it has only intensified as customers and investors alike become particularly judicious with how they allocate funds. 

How your startup can thrive during and after COVID-19

So what’s the solution to navigating this extra-tough playing field? You have to be compelling, and that means making it abundantly clear how you bring something so valuable to the table that they’d be doing themselves a disservice to pass it up. 

Startups have two main audiences to win over: customers and investors. Dermer will cover both in this workshop in order to give entrepreneurs an actionable set of principles with which to move forward. 

When it comes to sales messaging, Dermer’s approach considers the following: 

  • A new definition of compelling as “on the CEO’s desk.” 

  • If it doesn’t change revenue, beat competition, or reduce risk, don’t show up.

  • It’s not about the person across from you. (So who is it about? Join us on the 15th to find out!) 

With these lessons in mind, Dermer will present a new formula for your sales pitch. 

As far as investment goes, Dermer suggests that entrepreneurs think in these terms: 

  1. Find the playground where no one else is playing. 

  2. “The train will leave the station.” That is, highlight the risk of not investing. 

Altogether, attendees will walk away having learned proven sales pitch formulas, aware of “deadly sins” to avoid when pitching, and how to shape your own niche. “It’s about not wasting your own time,” says Dermer. 

The coming months will continue to be tough for many businesses as we navigate a landscape full of unknowns. But with the right prioritization and strategies for communicating with your critical audiences, you can tip the scales in your favor towards making important strides as a company during this pandemic period. After all, it’s what Dermer did with his company back in 2008. 

Ready to fortify your startup for the COVID economy?