by Derrel Jazz Johnson
JPMorgan Chase hosted a fireside chat for New York City-based entrepreneurs recently at the Chase Harlem Community Center in New York City. Jason Patton, Managing Director, and Head of Community and Business Development, Northeast Division at JPMorgan Chase moderated the informative dialogue that included Queens, New York entrepreneur and television personality Daymond John and Harlem Chocolate Factory founder Jessica Spaulding. The trio discussed challenges that entrepreneurs who own or are starting small businesses face, including scaling and growing businesses, accessing capital, and much more.
The Harlem Times spoke to John, who first rose to fame as one of the founders and the CEO of the clothing brand FUBU, about improving a business pitch.
“Keep it in a short, precise amount of time, right, because they are not making any more attention these days,” he said.
John then shared some specifics about a business pitch.
“The elevator pitch is supposed to be 90 seconds long, right,” he explained. “So you’re either supposed to have it 90 seconds long or you are supposed to be able to write your whole pitch on the back of a business card. Listen, I’m showing my age by mentioning a business card. But, either it’s short or you have to write, really, really small.”
John also advised being respectful of the time of the person you are pitching it to, remembering that they are a person, and not to get discouraged by unfavorable responses.
“But what’s in it for the person you’re pitching, not you, right,” he said, “Because that person has a busy day, is swiping a lot of things, a lot of information coming in there. And then when you understand that pitch and you come back and the person may not be into it, don’t take it personally. You may not have articulated it the right way. You may not have studied well enough what they want to hear, or they had a bad day. They’re busy. Don’t take it personally. Learn from it, get over it. Try to perfect it.”
The Harlem Chocolate Factory founder discussed how JPMorgan Chase has been a part of her life for quite some time.
“JPMorgan Chase has been a part of my journey from the very beginning,” Spaulding said,
“Chase was my first account as a kid. I grew up coming to this branch. So when I was looking for a financial partner, this was the first place I turned to when I was starting my business. I think that with exposure to different opportunities and different classes and networking opportunities, we’ve really been able to create and craft knowledge beyond our actual experience if that makes sense. I think that we’ve done it well, so I’m here to just share. You amass knowledge to share it so we can all come up. There’s no competition.”
Spaulding then shared advice about business pitches.
“I think that people blindly pitch sometimes and you need to focus on pitch because that’s how you hit burnout when you’re just pitching to people all the time and you’re not getting the responses that you want,” she said. “It’s really important that you be focused not only on what you say but who you’re targeting. When you take a second to do that before you start pitching, it lowers that threshold of no’s and it lowers that threshold of burnout because then at least, even if the person is not necessarily doing what you want, they have something useful to get back to you. But if you’re just blindly pitching, blindly pitching, blindly pitching without targeting you, you’re gonna reach burnout a lot faster.”
From A-list celebrities to professional athletes, small business owners, and JPMorgan Chase employees themselves from a range of different backgrounds and positions, the Chase Harlem Community Center has become a great home for knowledge to be shared in addition to the vast array of products and services offered at the venue itself. Next time you hear about an event there, make sure you mark it on your calendar to attend.