Pitching a business idea in the hope of securing investment is an experience of excitement and terror in equally high doses. It could very well be that this is your one real shot at glory, which in turn means you really don’t want to mess things up. But assuming this is an area in which you do not have a huge amount of experience, you can’t expect to get things right without a few pointers from the experts.
Here’s a quick overview of four solid gold tips for making your pitch count:
First of all, try to avoid wasting any time on pitching to investors that simply are not right for your business. What you are looking for is an investor who will offer value far beyond cash and shares your immediate and long-term goals. The very best kind of investor will have strong and active connections in your chosen sector, along with plenty of relevant experience and knowledge. Or to put it another way, you might want to think of it a little as if you are taking on a strategic partner and business advisor, rather than an individual who just so happens to have some spare cash to throw your way.
Your business plan is one thing, but you also need to be able to sum up absolutely everything you need to say using a deck of no more than 8-10 slides with maybe a two-page accompanying summary. Given the fact that you don’t have long to win them over, visual aids like infographics, images and graphs come highly recommended. As time isn’t on your side, you might want to pay closest attention to the problem that exists, how you intend to solve it, your target market, your unique selling point, existing competition, your revenue model, financial projections, use of funds and immediate market strategy.
It’s worth remembering that investors are in about 99.9% of instances only interested in what they themselves are going to get out of the deal. As such, it simply makes good sense to focus on selling the upside of the proposed investment and blinding them with the potential rewards. That being said however, it is just as important to remember that investors invest in people, as opposed to ideas. Which in turn means that you also need to sell yourself and your team. Demonstrate your passion, commitment, enthusiasm and knowledge, while working hard to build rapport. Even if your idea’s fantastic, they will not come near you if they simply do not like you.
Last but not least, follow-ups are of crucial importance for two reasons. First of all, if the investor is interested in working with you, a follow-up further demonstrates your commitment, enthusiasm and passion, while at the same time giving you the opportunity to clarify or add any details you missed before. Secondly, if the investor is not interested, you may find yourself with a second opportunity to win them over, or at least score the kind of valuable feedback that can ensure your next pitch (and every pitch that follows) goes better than the previous.
If you’d like to check out or subscribe to the Innovate UK YouTube channel, click here.
You can also follow them on Twitter at @innovateuk