BEP 365 – English for Startups 2: Pitching to Investors

BEP 365 LESSON - English for Startups 2: Pitching in English to Investors

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on pitching in English to investors.

The world of tech startups can be extremely exciting and rewarding. But success is certainly not guaranteed. In fact, 90% of new ventures that don’t attract investors within the first three years will fail. So if your company has made it through the valley of death, and you’re burning through cash but don’t have any revenue, then you’d better make sure you’ve got a great pitch to potential investors.

In just 10 to 20 minutes, you need to convince investors that they should risk their money on you. Or, more accurately, why they should risk their money on you instead of on the thousands of other companies they could invest in. It’s hard to think of a higher stakes presentation than a pitch to investors. So what will increase your chances of success?

Well, you need to talk about the problem that your product solves, and how your product is truly unique. Of course, in the startup world, timing is everything. So you need to be able to show there’s a market for what you’re offering. And a good startup isn’t just about a good idea, it’s about a solid revenue model. So you’ll need to explain that clearly. It’s also smart to sit down and think about what questions investors might have, and answer them before they have to ask them!

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a presentation by Quinn, who founded an online payments company called Moolah. In our last lesson, we heard Quinn preparing for his pitch with the help of a mentor. Now it’s showtime, as Quinn delivers his pitch in the hopes of attracting investment.

Listening Questions

1. What is the problem that Quinn identifies at the start of his presentation?
2. Who is Moolah’s target audience?
3. What question does Quinn anticipate the investors might have?

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BEP 364 – English for Startups 1: Preparing for a Pitch

BEP 364 - Business English for Startups 1: Preparing for a Pitch in English

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on preparing for a pitch in English to investors.

It’s easy to look around at the economy today and applaud the tech companies that made it big. But for every success, there are a hundred failures. Anyone who’s founded a startup or worked for one knows that new businesses face a lot of uncertainty and a world of challenges.

In this economy, the success of a startup depends on many factors. If you can learn to navigate the challenges, or to see them as opportunities, then you too might make it big. One important factor in startup success is good mentorship. There’s a strong tradition of established business people helping young entrepreneurs find the path to success.

And one of the most important opportunities a mentor can help you with is preparing for your first pitch to potential investors. If there’s any time that you should learn to take advice, it’s at this point. An English pitch to investors can make or break your company. And good preparation, as any mentor will tell you, is key.

Working with a mentor depends on you being open to input. That might mean accepting critical opinions and admitting your own weaknesses. But if you can do this, then you’ll be able to use your mentor to bounce ideas off, and to ask directly for help with challenges.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a conversation between Quinn – a young entrepreneur – and Kira, his mentor. Quinn is getting ready to pitch his online payments startup to a potential investor. And we’ll hear how he learns from his more experienced mentor.

Listening Questions

1. What strong opinion about his pitch does Quinn have to accept?
2. What weakness does Quinn admit to?
3. What challenge does Quinn ask Kira for help with?

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BEP 354 – Business English Coaching 3: Reviewing Progress

BEP 354 - Business English for Coaching Lesson 3: Reviewing Progress

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on reviewing progress in a coaching program.

Do you set goals for yourself? More than likely, right. And this is something we hear a lot about, especially in the New Year. Setting goals is a fundamental part of success. And if you are in a coaching role, you have probably helped other people set goals for themselves. But the real work isn’t in setting the goals; it’s in following through and putting energy into meeting these goals.

And as someone’s coach, your work isn’t done once you help someone decide on some objectives. The next step is following up, which typically means sitting down with the person you’re coaching to review progress. You ask them how things have been going, and listen as they describe what they’ve done. But sometimes, the person hasn’t really followed through. What then?

That’s when you prove your value by holding the person accountable. And that might include reinforcing your company’s values, as you try to hold the person to their commitments. Of course, the person might have encountered barriers, which you can ask about and discuss. Still, those barriers shouldn’t serve as excuses, and you may have to push the person a bit to reach their potential. And, of course, a good coach remains supportive throughout this kind of process.

In today’s dialog, we’ll continue listening to a conversation between two lawyers, Marion and Rachel. Marion has been coaching Rachel as she adapts to her new job as a young attorney. They’ve discussed some of the problems Rachel faces, and set some goals. Now Marion is following up and reviewing progress toward those goals.

Listening Questions

1. What does Marion say when Rachel blames Jeff for some problems?
2. What barrier does Rachel identify to improving her profile and network?
3. After challenging Rachel to do better, what does Marion offer?

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BEP 353 – Business English Coaching 2: Setting Goals

BEP 353 - Business English for Coaching 2: Setting Goals

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on setting goals during a coaching session.

You’ve probably heard that an important part of coaching is listening and showing empathy. A good coach tries hard to understand the person he or she is trying to coach. That helps build trust, which creates a constructive relationship. But what is that relationship for? What kind of work does that trust allow?

Once you build a good relationship as a coach, then you can start talking about improvements. After all, coaches don’t exist just to hear about people’s problems. Their whole purpose is to help people get better. And a big part of getting better is setting goals, which is something a good coach can help with.

So how do we work with someone on their goals? Well, that might start with asking about their motivation. After all, goals have to be directed at something. If someone’s motivated by the idea of getting a promotion, then the goals have to relate to that. And that underlines the fact that they are the other person’s goals. We don’t set goals for them. We ask them about their goals. Then we can help them break their goals into smaller objectives.

Of course, another important role of a coach is to give encouragement. So when we help someone set goals, we are in a good position to show confidence in their ability to meet them. And finally, we might ask them about their next steps. That is, what are the concrete activities that the person will take as she tries to accomplish her goals?

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin two lawyers: Marion and Rachel. Marion has been coaching Rachel as she learns how to be a better lawyer. In the previous lesson, we heard Marion trying to figure out Rachel’s challenges. Now we’ll hear her help Rachel set some goals.

Listening Questions

1. What does Marion ask Rachel about at the start of the conversation?
2. What short-term objective does Rachel identify for herself?
3. What does Marion say she is “sure about” and has “no doubt about?”

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BEP 345 – Management English: Conflict Resolution (2)

BEP 345 Lesson - Management English: Conflict Resolution (2)

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on resolving conflict in the workplace.

Conflict happens. There’s no way around it. But not everyone has the same attitude toward conflict. Some people run from it, or refuse to even admit it exists. Other people acknowledge it but simply hope it goes away on its own. And some people are able to approach it with confidence, dealing with it openly and honestly.

The first step in conflict resolution is for the people involved to sit down and try to work it out themselves. But that doesn’t always work, and in many cases it takes a third party to attempt to find solutions. That third party might be a peer, or colleague. But mostly it’s a manager or leader. In fact, helping mediate conflict between people is an important function of a manager.

Effective mediation is a tricky business. You need to help people have the open and honest conversations that they might not be able to have on their own. Part of that involves ensuring each person has their turn to speak. One of your aims, of course, is common understanding, so you may need to encourage empathy and confirm understanding at different steps along the way.

As a conflict mediator, your ultimate aim it to find a solution. To do that, you’ll want to have people agree on a common goal. You may also ask them to focus on positive actions, rather than negative ones. Positive actions are more solution-focused.

In today’s dialog, we’ll continue hearing about a conflict between Trevor and Andrew, two retail managers in the same company. Trevor has tried talking with Andrew about their personal conflict, but they haven’t been able to reach a clear solution. So their boss Ann has stepped in as a third-party to help resolve the conflict.

Listening Questions

1. What does Ann do when Trevor interrupts Andrew at the start of the dialog?
2. After Andrew explains his side of the story, what does Ann ask Trevor?
3. What is the common goal for the solution Ann proposes?

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