When it comes to pitching for investment for your startup, many entrepreneurs have difficulties ensuring that the salient points are included in what amounts to a 10 minute presentation.
The pressure is on as soon as you open your mouth. One has to be able to speak confidently and clearly, not stumbling over words but delivering them effectively.
It must be remembered that investors are consistently bombarded with all manner of pitches, many of which will be rejected because of the lack of a strong presentation.
Putting a decent pitch together is harder than you think too, and delivering it under pressure more so.
Here are a few pointers to getting it right.
1) Know What Makes You Special
When you’ve only got 10 minutes to sell your business, every word, every phrase and every sentence matters.
Given that investors will have heard thousands of pitches, it’s important to understand before you begin what the strengths of your startup are. Why is it so special? Why should an investor hand over his/her/their hard-earned to you rather than anyone else?
Make every second count. Every second.
Any pausing, stumbling, mumbling or attempt at humour is likely to divert a potential investors focus, and once that happens you’ve already lost.
Keep it simple.
2) Tailor Your Pitch To Your Audience
If you were going for a job interview, the likelihood that you would scope out the company before attending is high. What is their speciality? Who works there? Is thee a high turnover of staff? There will be a whole host of questions you’d want answering as well as the obvious need to know if the job is suitable.
It’s worth putting yourself in exactly that position when thinking of how to pitch to investors. They are essentially coming to find out whether to spend their money with you or elsewhere.
How are you going to convince them that your startup is a worthwhile venture? A good start is to have an idea of the types of investor you are pitching to and tap into their backgrounds and objectives.
Your pitch can then be tailored around them. Giving an investor food for thought means you are onto a winner from the outset.
Try and persuade investors in the short time you have with them that your business will add something to their portfolio. Get them interested in thinking about the benefits for themselves as well as for you.
3) Use Time To Your Advantage
Knowing in advance that it’s difficult to craft the perfect pitch in what can seem like an incredibly restrictive time limit should serve to sharpen the mind.
Think of pitching to an investor as speed dating for businesses. Cut to the chase as quickly as you’re able. Investors aren’t interested in fluff, they want cold, hard facts and numbers.
The less time you spend padding, the more you have available to use your acumen to deliver a pitch which invites questions from the floor.
If you’re able, practice running through your pitch a few times before you get the chance to meet potential investors. Any words or phrases that could trip you up will have been mastered by the time you pitch.
Every second is precious. Use it to your advantage.
4) Create an Entertaining Pitch
You shouldn’t be a robot where pitching is concerned. That doesn’t mean you should go completely the other way and try and be a comedian of sorts either, but a little personality never hurt a good pitch.
Enjoy telling your story of how you arrived at the point of pitching the startup to those in front of you. Introduce them to the company in a way which holds their interest.
Then, avail them of the challenges you’ve encountered as a startup, before closing with an anecdote or two which rounds off your pitch nicely.
Your pitch has to stand out from all others, but it’s important that it does so for the right reasons.
Even if some investors walk away without committing, if your pitch has hit all of the right notes you will have given them food for thought and the potential scenario of investment well after your pitch has concluded.
5) Develop a Great Pitch Deck
A pitch deck is essentially a group of slides which accompany your words. They should enhance your offering rather than take it over. You certainly don’t want to find yourself in the situation where potential investors are paying more attention to what’s on the slides rather than listening to you.
Don’t allow the visuals to distract from your message. Refer to a slide or two, but then make a conscious effort to ensure full focus is brought back to you. The pitch deck is another tool to help leverage investment, not send investors scurrying for cover.