amy tez

6 tips to pitch your business like a boss

You’ve got a brilliant idea, and now it’s time to convince others. But how? From prepping your start-up elevator pitch to signing a new client, it’s crucial to pitch with confidence so you can win the business you deserve. I had business coach and communication strategist Amy Tez reveal her top tips to pitch your business like a boss and own any room – no matter what. Say hello to your more marketable self.

“Your ability to inspire is the single most important factor in determining the success of your pitch. Either you truly excite your investors or plunge them into eternal tedium as you drone on like everyone else,” Amy said.

Statistics show that most venture-backed startups will fail, so the odds are stacked against you. However, you can beat the odds by crafting an attention-grabbing pitch that puts you ahead of the pack and wins the funding you need.

– Amy Tez, business communications strategist

Here are 6 essential tips that will give your pitch that crucial edge:

1. Craft a compelling story

Business isn’t only about facts, it’s also about feeling. If you focus on delivering hard data at the expense of an exciting story, your audience will switch off. As much as we like to believe humans are rational, decisions are mostly based on emotion rather than reason. This means you must tell an epic story that triggers positive emotion in your investors. And you do so by detailing how much money your product will make them within the next five years – and it better be enough to make them rich, or they’ll move onto someone more ambitious.

You can craft a compelling story by knowing the answers to these questions:

  1.          Who is the hero of your story?
  2.          What is the hero’s problem or need?
  3.          Why is it so important that you solve their problem?
  4.          How exactly will you solve the hero’s problem?
  5.          How will you do this better than anyone else?
  6.          What is the exciting future in store for the hero once their problem is solved?
  7.          What opposing forces could put your hero’s journey into serious doubt?
  8.          How will you overcome these obstacles?

Once you answer these questions clearly, and sprinkle in a few sexy metrics, you have the beginnings of a solid story – one that will create all the drama and excitement necessary to turn investors’ heads your way.

2.  Tell the story like you mean it

Now that you have your killer script, you must tell it with conviction. Otherwise your words, no matter how well crafted, will fall flat. And sadly, most pitches tank due to a lifeless delivery. As I said before, humans are not rational. They care more about how you say what you say, rather than the actual content.

In fact, over 90% of persuasion success has nothing to do with your words at all and everything to do with your body language and ability to elicit positive emotion in others. This is where actor training is extremely useful. The best actors bring their scripts to life. They inject passion into what they say, so that you believe their every word and want to follow them on their journey. As an entrepreneur, you don’t necessarily need to learn your script by heart. However, it is crucial that you tell your story with every fibre of your being, so that people buy into you.

And the only way to do this is to show how much you believe in what you are saying. There is absolutely no substitute for self-belief. People instinctively know when you’re faking it and when you’re being real. Always aim for the latter.

Having the guts to show how much you care about what you’re doing is an extremely admirable trait. It makes a statement about who you are – someone who will make their dreams happen with or without investors’ help. When you have conviction, investors will more likely want to be a part of your success story. 

3. Keep it simple

Next, make sure your language is always kept simple. The art of being simple is difficult. Yet simplicity is the only way to ensure your messages not only land, but also take hold in people’s imagination. As Tom Hardy’s character in the movie Inception says:

“You need the simplest version of the idea in order for it to grow naturally in your subject’s mind. It’s a very subtle art.”

If you’re in the habit of delivering overly complex data along with fussy slides, then stop. You’ll overwhelm people, because if you can’t explain what you do in a few simple terms and visuals, it will sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about. Your listeners will drift.

So, cut the linguistic fat and distil your pitch down to its bare essentials. Sometimes even a single word will convey more meaning than a hundred. Brevity is power. The less you say, the better.

4. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Practice your pitch over and over, till you know it inside out and can speak it with spontaneity. No actor would dream of setting foot on a stage without having rigorously rehearsed their material. But unlike an actor, you don’t need to get the words exactly right.

It’s much better for an entrepreneur to sound authentic and conversational than like a scripted robot. However, you should rehearse how you will handle the inevitable pressure as you speak your words. Through rehearsal, we practice facing the very fear public speaking creates. This includes rehearsing how you will navigate difficult audiences and tricky objections.

Think of every possible question that could trip you up, and rehearse answering in a calm and assertive manner. With practice, you’ll start to look like a serious contender on top of your game. Better still, if you dare to be playful even in the most contentious moments, you’ll come across as a supremely confident person.

Contrast that to a founder who clings to their script, reciting it word for word for fear of making a mistake. They appear weak, as though the slightest obstacle could knock them over. That hardly inspires faith in their ability to lead a company! So rehearse, relax and let yourself play. Because when you do, you’ll look and sound more solid.

5. Stand tall in the eye of the storm

On pitch day, trust that you have done everything you possibly can to prepare. Now all you need do is forget your prep and just go for it. A thrilling pitch is founded in your capacity to step boldly into the arena, stand tall in the eye of the storm, face your fears and stick to your guns. So play all in, speak with spirit and show your investors that you’re a force to be reckoned with. Because when the heavens rain down and business gets tough, your investor needs to trust in your ability to pull through and make your ideas happen, no matter what.

You’ll help yourself to this end when you care less what anyone thinks. Some people won’t rate you whatever you do – just ignore them.

6. Be unique!

And most importantly of all, embrace your individuality. In business where most people compete and try to copy others, your uniqueness could be the secret weapon that turns the game in your favour.

So trust your own instincts. Don’t follow some prescribed recipe to delivering the perfect pitch, as that will merely turn you into a dull pitching robot. In fact, don’t even listen to me; the best ammo you could possibly have is to be fully and audaciously you.

This means trust yourself and your unique, spontaneous responses in any high-pressured scenario. With self-trust, you’ll be able to seize the stage, leap into the unpredictability of the moment and face the dangers necessary to win. Only then will you move from droning on like everyone else with the same mediocre spiel, to actually inspiring your audience and pitching like the boss you really are!

As Walter White from Breaking Bad memorably puts it:

“I am not in danger; I AM the danger!”

swing dance feet

Learn how to swing dance in 5 easy steps


There’s nothing like a good boogie, and at The Collective, we love any opportunity to let loose and dance. That’s why this month, we’re all about the shimmy, shake and swing – tomorrow night at The Collective Old Oak, we’re taking swing dancing lessons with choreographer Nancy Hitzig, co-artistic director of Swing, Sister, Swing. To get you in the swing of things before then, we’ve put together a simple how-to, so you can learn how to swing dance in 5 easy steps.

The Charleston – the basic step

1. Tap forward with the right foot.
2. Step together.
3. Tap back with the left foot.
4. Step together.
5. Repeat, and go faster!
High five a friend, you’re doing the Charleston!

The Charleston – the swivel step

  1. Raise your right foot and tap it forward
  2. Bring you feet together and step on the right foot.
  3. Raise your left foot.
  4. Tap it back.
  5. Raise your left foot and step together. Repeat.
Add a twist to your feet for that irresistible swivel and you’re doing the Charleston!
olivia aspinall

Inside the world of interior design: a chat with Olivia Aspinall


In the age of Instagram, it takes a truly remarkable image to stand out on your endless feed. Designer Olivia Aspinall’s terrazzo tile pieces are enough to stop you from scrolling and admire her handcraft. With their bright, attention-grabbing colours and smooth, purpose-built surfaces, her bespoke design pieces are an Instagrammer’s fantasy. Tonight, she’s teaching us to cast terrazzo tile coasters, to glam up our living spaces and level up our wine nights. Before we get our hands dirty, our new head of interior design Thomas Downes got to know Olivia, and take a peek inside her colourful world of interior design.

Thomas: I would like to understand a little more about about your working environment, tools, uniform and daily routine. Paint the picture for us.

Olivia: We work in a studio with 3-5 of us on a normal day. Jobs vary quite greatly between designing, sampling for new projects, casting and sanding. There’s lots of colour everywhere; we have a big colour wall where we keep samples of all our colours that we use as reference points or as tools for designing. One of the rooms we use mainly for mixing materials and casting, we have a separate room for sanding and another space for finishing and packaging work. Much more time is spent preparing for a casting day than actually pouring a cast. We spend time preparing aggregate, making moulds, working out reinforcements and checking measurements. We also spend lots of time sanding work; this is to reveal all the pattern we have cast into the surface, and to create a really nice refined finish to our surfaces.

Handmade terrazzo tiles by Olivia Aspinall

What narratives exist around the origin of your mixes? 

Everything starts with colour. When designing a collection, I’ll find inspiration from all over, and really focus in on a colour palette. I’ll then put these up in the studio and work on them, making changes and subtle tweaks, while constantly reviewing the palette and making sure I still love the combination. Once I have a colour palette I’m happy with, it is then about about working on colour ratios, sizes of aggregate and density.

Something unusual is always good; something that pushes us to develop as a studio and learn new methods or techniques for making.

– Olivia Aspinall

Do you consider yourself an artist or artisan? 

I would consider myself a designer or an artisan. Everything we produce in the studio is handmade from start to finish, and is often a one-of-a-kind piece or design. We are constantly evolving and perfecting techniques in the studio. Our aim is to become masters of these techniques.

Today’s interior spaces are being pushed to challenge and blur the lines from their traditional title or functions. How do you feel your product can enhance this development further?

Because the works we create are usually loaded with colour and pattern, they often become the focal piece of a room. This can be a useful way to create a constant or a centrepiece in a space that is transitional. Additionally, some of the materials we use are suitable for both outdoor and indoor use – a great way to create furniture that sits in these overlapping spaces.

Who’s on your bucket list of designers, makers, brands you wish to collaborate with?

I wouldn’t say that I have a bucket list of designers or brands I’d love to work with, I generally get more excited about the types of projects that are brought to us. Something unusual is always good; something that pushes us to develop as a studio and learn new methods or techniques for making.

nat mady

International Women’s Day: Our favourite female entrepreneurs

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the groundbreaking, glass-ceiling shattering, talented and resilient women that have built their own businesses and brought their skills to The Collective. We’re spotlighting our favourite female entrepreneurs, a mix of our members and creative collaborators that have graced our corridors and shared their craft with us. Here’s to the women makers, shakers, artists and entrepreneurs all over the world.

Maxine Thompson, founder of PolkaPants

What is your craft?

I am a trained chef and also trained and work in fashion as a designer for Betsey Johnson, and as head of customer relations at CHANEL in New York.

What three words do you live by, as an entrepreneur?

Stop, breathe, reflect. I think it’s really important to get perspective on what you are doing by taking one step back. We often get so caught up in our day-to-day operations, the running of our business and what is the best step, that we can often reach a stalemate or creative block. I find the best way to get over this is to take one step back. This way you can see what you could improve, whats going well, and what the best way to move forward is.

What did you do with us at The Collective?

PolkaPants is working with The Collective to create bespoke uniforms for their staff.

At The Collective, we’re passionate about bringing people together to create a shared experience. What does it mean to you to have worked with us?

Partnering with The Collective means that we’ll be able to provide members, diners and guests with a unique collaborative effort of both PolkaPants and The Collective – an overall experience. Through this partnership, we will work with the staff and the team to create a uniform that they are excited and proud to wear, and is also ultimately functional, allowing them to get on with doing a great job.

The Collective is as much as about the people who work there as it is the people who live there.

Give us a piece of advice for aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs, trying to make their mark.

Believe in what you are doing, or trying to do. That is the most important thing – if you don’t believe in your idea, no one else will. Starting and running a business is hard and getting out of bed and getting motivated can be really tough some days. But, as my dad always says to me, if running your own business was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Natalie Mady, founder of Hackney Herbal

© Miles Willis 2017. Image was shot by Miles Willis Photography for International Women’s Day 2018, as a wider project focussing on women and innovation in farming. See the full set:

What is your craft?

I’m a permaculturist with a passion for finding creative ways to connect people with nature. I show people how to grow and use herbs to improve their health and wellbeing.

What three words do you live by, as an entrepreneur?

Commitment, dedication and patience.

What did you do with us at The Collective?

I’ve run a few workshops at The Collective, showing members how to use herbs to make their own products for wellbeing. So far we’ve done sessions on herbal skincare and self-care, teaching them how to use herbs to make lip balms, bath soaks and sleep sprays. I’m looking forward to our next workshop, which will be on urban gardening and growing herbs at home.

At The Collective, we’re passionate about bringing people together to create a shared experience. What does it mean to you to have worked with us?

It’s been great to work with The Collective, as their model for co-living is really interesting. Unlike many new residential developments where people living next to each other don’t know their neighbours, the ethos at The Collective is a refreshing approach to communal living. I’ve always been amazed by all the activities that are organised for their members, encouraging people to come together and get stuck in! It’s been great to be a part of that and run our activities for such an engaged audience!

Give us a piece of advice for aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs, trying to make their mark.

Make sure you are clear about what your purpose is. It’s so important to be able to clearly explain why you do what you do in a way that engages and excites people.

Aden Eyob, founder & CEO of Mind Medication

What is your skill?

I am a clinical neuroscientist and author of the upcoming book, Mind Training: The Secret for Positive Living, that will help you to uncover your ‘why’, unlock your potential and free limiting beliefs to achieve the impossible.

What three words do you live by, as an entrepreneur?

Faith. Passion. Purpose.

What do you do with us at The Collective?

In addition to living at The Collective, I delivered a mind training workshop last year, as part of The Collective Community Festival in January. I also organised and facilitated a series of interactive talks that addressed money, time and stress and mind management in June, which was attended by both residents and members of the public, I most recently provided mindset and peer-to-peer coaching for members through The Collective Grow Programme.

At The Collective, we’re passionate about bringing people together to create a shared experience. What does it mean to you to have lived and worked with us?

Working with The Collective has been a true blessing both on a personal and business level. My inspiration to set-up Mind Medication was largely due to The Collective and its ethos of limitless possibilities through collective unity and community.

This was further demonstrated through the resources, events, and community vibe that helped me to overcome my fears and embark on entrepreneurship. The Collective has played an instrumental role in my personal development and the organic growth and success of Mind Medication.

Give us a piece of advice for aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs, trying to make their mark.

The entrepreneurial journey is a rollercoaster, with extreme highs and lows. But in the end, what matters most is the community you share the ride with. Don’t ride the rollercoaster alone.

Ruby Larimar, energy healer and founder of Holistic Ruby

What is your craft?

My skill is the ability to help bring transformation using my knowledge wisdom and expertise in life coaching and energy healing using crystals, sound, voice, Reiki and traditional shamanic practices.

What three words do you live by, as an entrepreneur?

Reevaluate, adapt and persevere. No matter how good our product or service is, or how much we believe in ourselves, our world keeps on changing like the seasons and the years. As a result I have learnt to constantly revaluate, adapt and persevere.

What did you do with as at The Collective?

I hosted a workshop last summer on crystal healing for members, to help them connecting with crystals and sound for optimum health and wellbeing.

At The Collective, we’re passionate about bringing people together to create a shared experience. What does it mean to you to have worked with us?

Working with The Collective, I witnessed the energy of positivity, teamwork, love, nurturing, support, harmony – in essence, all the positive qualities associated with being in a community environment, working together as a one. I found the whole experience to be inspirational and refreshing.

I experienced firsthand that we can achieve more as a collective, than in isolation.

Give us a piece of advice for aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs, trying to make their mark.

Hard work is the ultimate key to success. Invest your time and energy in creating a strong foundation to reap the rewards in the future, and most importantly, remember to enjoy the journey embracing the process fully!

Keziah Brown, founder & director of Heaps + Stacks

What is your craft?

Heaps + Stacks is an event programming business. We work with the events team at The Collective to add to the programme of curated member events and special press events.

What three words do you live by, as an entrepreneur?

Love, energy, push.

What did you do with us at The Collective?

Ooh, we’ve done all sorts in the past year! The highlights: life casting kisses for Valentine’s Day, Kintsugi – traditional Japanese technique of reconstructing broken china with beautiful gold foil grouts – and the art of napkin folding.

At The Collective, we’re passionate about bringing people together to create a shared experience. What does it mean to you to have worked with us?

It’s wonderful to be working with such a forward thinking business that allows us to explore some of our more wild ideas, amongst such a varied and interesting crowd.

Give us a piece of advice for aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs, trying to make their mark.

Wake up early and get the important things done before everyone else is up to make sure they get done, and you are constantly moving forward!

Jennie Webber, illustrator and founder of Wild Life Drawing

What is your craft?

Illustration, conservation and events management. Wild Life Drawing is a drawing class, with a special difference – our models are real animals.

What three words do you live by, as an entrepreneur?

Kindness, hard work and attention to detail.

What did you do with us at The Collective?

I ran a Birds of Prey life drawing class for The Collective members last summer.

At The Collective, we’re passionate about bringing people together to create a shared experience. What does it mean to you to have worked with us?

I’m so pleased to have been a part of a new, innovative and obviously very successful way of living, and making memories for your members.

Give us a piece of advice for aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs, trying to make their mark.

Find your niche, and try to do things differently.

Cindy Lin, founder of Staged4more School of Home Staging

What is your skill?

Home staging – We provide education for home owners and real estate agents on how to stage and style their homes for sale and to live. I was working in America as a home stager for more than 11 years and started my company when I was 25. In 2017, the company was fully transitioned from a local home staging business to an international online school, where we teach all things home staging. We also have business courses for home stagers on how to build successful home staging businesses that align with their core values.

What do you do with as at The Collective?

I just moved in about 3 weeks ago! Excited to be here.

What are three words you live by, as an entrepreneur?

Do good work.

At The Collective, we’re passionate about bringing people together to create a shared experience. What does it mean to you to live with us?

I think networking is extremely important. Being new to London, it is important for me to meet others and find possible collaborative partners. The Collective has been so supportive and amazing in introducing the members to each other, which adds a tremendous value to living here.

Give us a piece of advice for aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs, trying to make their mark.

Really sit down and evaluate what is it that you want out of your life and your business. Your business should serve your lifestyle, not the other way around.

Your work should also align with your core values and your ‘why’. Once you have clarity on your core values and your ‘why’, the other stuff will start falling into place. Lastly, be patient. Business building is a long game that requires persistence and strategies.

Clara Heimerdinger, comedy club producer at Nice N’ Spiky Comedy

What is your skill?

Curating bespoke comedy line ups for venues and producing the live shows.

What do you do with as at The Collective?

Stand-up comedy gigs for The Collective Old Oak members.

What three words do you live by, as an entrepreneur?

Collaboration. And be nice!

At The Collective, we’re passionate about bringing people together to create a shared experience. What does it mean to you to have worked with us?

I love building communities through my comedy shows and that sits in parallel with The Collective community of members. To see people bonding over a laugh and a drink in their home is magical.

Give us a piece of advice for aspiring or struggling entrepreneurs, trying to make their mark.

Your network is key.


Happy International Women’s Day! 

london raw wine week

London Raw Wine Week

It’s Raw Wine Week in London, and we’ll take any excuse to sip in the city and cheers together. The raw wine movement is all about making organic wines that are natural and biodynamic – no additives and minimal intervention. No sulphates means no hangover – or at least, a less brutal one, and who’s not on board with that? The Collective’s head of cultural programming Jade Coles moonlights as a sommelier in training. Partial to raw wines of the orange variety, she spills on her favourite wines for all occasions – and best of all, where to go for a cheeky glass yourself.

Jade’s sommelier selection

Pheasant’s Tears

My absolute go to, Pheasant’s Tears was born out of a love of authentic tradition, and culture and endless creativity” by a family-run vineyard in Georgia. These wines are produced in the most traditional way: fermented in large clay pots, lined with beeswax and then sunk into the ground for months to mature. A real acquired taste, and one for only the bold of spirit. Expect amber and citrus notes.

Momento Mori Fistful of Flowers

Big on texture and taste, a highly floral bottle with notes of stone fruit, musk, and vanilla. Momento Mori’s Fistful of Flowers wine is fermented in stainless steel which offers an extremely light, fresh texture and ultra clean look and feel. Great choice for a first timer, or anyone looking to get into the natural wine trend.

Baby Bandito Stay Brave

This orange raw wine is a favourite of mine – no, it’s not made from orange, but rather white grapes that are fermented with the skins left on. A South African wine produced with “grapes and absolutely nothing else,” Baby Bandito is best with a hearty Thai curry or fish, as it evokes strong aromas of spice with a dry finish.

Col Fondo prosecco

Need something more celebratory? Why not try a natural prosecco such as Col Fondo, the sparkling, but far more tart, cloudy little sister of your classic prosecco. Some say it even tastes a bit like cider. Cheers!

Where to drink raw wine in London

Raw Wine Fair

Check out London’s Raw Wine Fair for a wide selection of offering’s from Europe and beyond. On from 6th – 11th March, 180 The Strand

Noble Rot

Noble Rot started life as a trendy wine magazine for millennials and has since grown into a stand-alone restaurant on buzzy Lambs Conduit Street. It’s the perfect place to try a number of limited edition wines paired with a modern British menu. 51 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3NB

Elliot’s Cafe

Bermondsey is known as a foodie hotspot but for a glass of something red, white or orange (yes, orange!), stop by Elliot’s at the end of Borough Market. Happy sipping!