Make it clear what you’re asking for. It could be expertise, advisors, or capital. Make sure people know why you’re pitching.

One of the biggest mistakes a start-up founder can make is bungle a pitch. A pitch is a make-or-break opportunity for any start-up. It can open doors for you, whether you are looking for capital, expertise or advisors. So how can you succeed during a nerve-racking pitch? Here are some tips for how to execute a winning presentation.

1. Explain things simply

Before nerves get to you, keep in mind that it’s important to keep things simple. You should be able to convey your idea in one sentence. An idea that can’t be explained in a single sentence is doubtful. Adeo Ressi of the Founder Institute has a simple formula for creating a one-sentence pitch: “My company, (insert name of company) is developing (a defined offering) to help (a defined audience) (solve a problem) with (secret sauce).”

In addition, every business should have a 20 to 30 second elevator pitch, which should be based on your one-sentence pitch. It also makes sense to have three minute and five minute versions of your pitch prepared. The goal is to explain your business as succinctly as possible.

2. Demonstrate your traction

Include in your spiel how you’re getting traction. The reason why traction is important to investors is because it’s an indicator of progress and momentum. Companies rely on revenue and customer response to measure traction. While it’s important to chase a large market and support your spiel with some market size data, it’s probably more important to show how you’re getting traction. How many customers do you have? Or how many trial customers have you signed up?

3. Give the investors what they’re looking for

In addition to traction, investors are looking for the answers to these questions: do you have a top notch team that can deliver the goods? Are you going after a large market – one where you could have lots of customers? What’s the problem you’re solving? Is it a real problem? Could your solution be the answer?

4. Get your audience engaged

Give your audience a reason to stay engaged with you. Keep things short as well as interesting. Show your enthusiasm and keep things light and conversational. Remember the point of pitching is to pique people’s interest so they ask you more questions and set up another meeting!

5. End clearly

After your have informed them of who you are, end your pitch by telling them what you want. Make it clear what you’re asking for. It could be expertise, advisors, or capital! Make sure people know why you’re pitching.

This article was originally published on BRW.