Is your business ready for expansion and investment? Are you looking for venture capital to fund your next big idea?
As an entrepreneur, there are a few things to keep in mind, when you pitch to investors. First, remember that investors meet with thousands of people just like you every year. Out of those, only a small percentage win funding. And it’s not always because they have the best proposals, either. Very often, it’s because they’re skilled at presenting their pitch professionally and powerfully.
They understand the difference between being ‘salesy’ vs sincerely connecting with potential business partners.
Great Preparation Means Great Presentation
Robert Schuller famously said: “Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation”. And it’s absolutely true. Everyone likes to focus on the suspense and glamor of a fantastic pitch. Not many people enjoy the careful and sometimes frustrating preparation required to pull it off, though. But in order to out-bid your competitors, you need to prepare as though you’re directing a blockbuster movie. Think about it:
- People form instantaneous judgments – so dress and grooming play a role.
- It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. You might even want to invest in a session or two learning how savvy negotiators read your body language.
- You’ll need to coordinate your visual presentation with great oratory skills.
Seeing is Believing
“Show and tell” is still the greatest way to attract and retain attention. Have visual aids and props, and make sure they’re seamless and perfectly organized. For example:
- Pitch deck: make sure this is tight, professional, and image-heavy. Use infographics and well-worded, persuasive text. It’s always a good idea to hire a professional copywriter to help you with this.
- Handouts: psychologically, putting an item in someone’s hands confers ownership. Whether it’s a one-page brochure, a small scale model, or a product sample, it increases subconscious approval.
- Promotional video: try to include a short, punchy intro or promo video. It’s highly visual and showcases the best elements of your brand quickly and convincingly.
The Dollar is in the Details
Next, prepare by focusing on the unseen elements of your presentation. How you structure your pitch is perhaps more important than the pitch itself. Here are 3 critically important reminders:
1 . Understand Your Audience
Every group of investors is different, and every investor is different. Remember that a venture capitalist is generally detail-oriented, looking at every angle and persuaded by data. An angel investor is often a high net worth individual seeking a bigger picture. They will often want to know about things like your cause, and social impact, as well as financial returns.
2 . Time is Money
Practice your pitch so that you fit it precisely into the time period allotted to you. The quickest way to lose investors is to disregard or disrespect their time. The pace of a 15-minute pitch is also markedly different to an hour-long meeting. Ensure you tailor it accordingly.
3 . Research Deeply
Find out what makes your individual potential investors tick. Who have they invested in already? What do they respond best to? What kind of questions do they ask?
It’s not a bad idea to research and find out exactly what investors look for in a business.
4 . Prepare for Less Than Ideal
Expect the best – but also prepare for the worst. Be prepared to deal with curve balls or negative sentiment. It happens, and if you’re prepared, you can steer things positively.
Time to Pitch!
Now that you’ve prepared diligently, it’s time to step up and put your business in the spotlight. You’ve got this.
Step 1: Frame Your Pitch
‘Framing’ is the art of putting something in a quick context. In essence, you want to give a high-level overview, so nobody misunderstands the details farther along in the pitch. Put up the key elements, almost like a quick elevator pitch.
Step 2: Tell Your Story
Don’t be afraid to share your journey. What brought you here? How did you arrive at your business idea? What challenges have you faced? How do you see your business benefiting others?
Step 3: Lay Out Data and Precise Information
You’ve painted a quick picture of your ideals and experiences. Now, it’s time for nuts and bolts. Show your investors:
- Financial records, growth records, and production records.
- Iterations and changes that have already occurred.
- Realistic projections based on performance.
Step 4: Be Honest About Competitors and Risks
Unless you’ve just invented something unheard of, you have competitors. Explain how you differentiate yourself from them. Show how you could maybe tap into their audience or market, and where you’re beating them. One thing, though – never badmouth your competition!
Step 5: Detail Your Potential Market Share
This is really, really important to a potential investor. Your available or projected market share is a predictor of how big your business will get. Use accurate and reliable data to clearly outline where you expect to do business, and how. Enlist expert input here if you have to.
Step 6: Tell Them How You’re Going to Make Money!
What’s your revenue model? Investors want to know exactly how you’re making a profit and what your margins are. Be prepared to provide detailed cost analyses and profit breakdowns, as well as plans for scaling or product expansion.
Step 7: Detail Your Comprehensive Marketing Plan
Be prepared to explain exactly what your marketing strategy is. Depending on product and business model, you might be considering anything from direct marketing to trade shows. Have a detailed marketing plan for your online audience, too. Perhaps virtual networking events are the route to take. And be open to suggestions from investors – they may see something you don’t.
Step 8: Ask, and Be Precise
Know – in advance – exactly how much you’re going to ask for and be prepared to justify your requirements. Everyone already knows you’re there to attract financial investment. Don’t be coy, but don’t be brash either. Have a realistic idea of how much investment similarly-sized or structured businesses have already attracted. If you’ve done a good job of selling your pitch, and demonstrating value, you might just be pleasantly surprised.
Add to Your Impact
There are a few smart ways to differentiate yourself, too:
- Include a working demonstration (if it’s relevant and feasible for your product). Otherwise, go the video route.
- Introduce your team. Giving investors a sense of the quality of your partners or teams can increase confidence and approval.
- Outline your exit strategy. Do you want to ultimately sell your business once it’s grown? How are you working to make it less dependent on you?
- Follow up with a sincere thank you. Regardless of outcome, make sure you follow up individually with each investor to thank them for their valuable time and interest.
Organization at Your Fingertips
Organizing a brilliant pitch (or a series) can be incredibly time-consuming. A great way to keep track and free up time is to hire a virtual assistant to curate information and details. And, of course, a good VA can become a brilliant long-term asset to your business.
Book a discovery call today, claim your free trial, and see just how cost-effective and efficient a virtual assistant can be for your business.