It’s scary, exhilarating and euphoric. The opportunity to speak on a TED stage. It was a dream come true — and when the opportunity knocked, I was excited and freaked out at the same time.

Thinking back, though, the feeling was not too different than when it was time to close my first customer or do an investor pitch.

It’s the feeling of knowing how important a given moment is. There’s an opportunity to do a really good job — and get the benefit thereof — or totally screw it up, forget what was on the script, have the website crash during the demo or the buyer/investor/attendee yawn in boredom.

For every entrepreneur there are these defining moments when we can let the excitement and upside of an opportunity get gobbled up by fear, anxiety and worry. five minutes before I went on stage, I had butterflies and other small animals doing the hokey pokey in my gut. I could have easily thrown up when I heard the music playing as the host was getting ready to introduce me. By the time they cued me to walk on stage, I was thankful I had gone first because that would have been about the time my bladder lost control of itself.

I share that (fairly graphic) picture to say this …

If you’re serious about being a successful entrepreneur, you’re going to have similar opportunities come along your path. It may be an opportunity to present your company to a small group of peers. It may be the opportunity to pitch a major buyer on a multimillion dollar deal with your startup. It may be a panel of “sharks” ready to tear your business plan and pricing strategy apart at your investor pitch. Regardless, the opportunities will come.

The question is: will you be prepared?

It pains me to see so many entrepreneurs come to pitch us on their products, services or investment opportunity — and they aren’t prepared. Being nervous is ok. Being petrified is fine too. We’ve all been there, so we know how that goes.

Being unprepared is simply not acceptable.

I hope you watch my full TEDx Talk – and have some A-HA moments about yourself, your strategy and your team in the process. Apply that insight into your business planning process using the tools provided by

Just know this: when it’s time to pitch, you’ll be scared just like I was before I went on stage. But I knew that I was prepared. I had invested time and energy getting my “pitch” in-line. I had practiced so many times, I could have done that talk in my sleep.

You need to do the same with your customer pitch, investor pitch and talent/recruiting pitch. Get amazing at those three things, and you’ll build the company of your dreams.

AvatarJoe Abraham

Joe is founder/CEO of and its award-winning accelerator. A serial entrepreneur himself, Joe has started up, grown and exited three companies of his own and invested in over 20 growing startups.