23 Jun 2017
Everyone has that nightmare during which they have to give a big presentation. In the nightmare, the person is either wearing pajamas or has completely forgotten to prepare for the speech. Luckily, for most people, that dream remains just that: a dream. But if you’re preparing to pitch to investors, there are some other ways things can go wrong. Here’s what to avoid doing to help ensure that your pitch and presentation goes smoothly.
Pitching Every Investor
Making a pitch to investors isn’t the same thing as buying lottery tickets. Making more pitches doesn’t necessarily increase your chance of getting funding. In fact, pitching to the wrong investor can actually waste your time and the time of the person you’re pitching to.
Some investors are interested in giving money to certain companies, but not to others. It’s up to you to do your research in advance so that you know whether or not the company you’re pitching is one that would actually be willing to fund a business like yours.
Advance preparation can be the difference between getting a funding offer and not getting one. It’s not just a matter of preparing a decent looking presentation and knowing what you’re going to say. You also want to know the financial details of your company, what your market competition is like and who you’re targeting with your service or product. Hiring a virtual CFO can help if you aren’t sure how to analyze your finances or aren’t sure what sort of financial information investors would like to see.
Having a Boring Presentation
Investors don’t want to listen to you drone on and on for five to 10 minutes. A pitch that includes visual aids and that has some pep and pizzazz to it will stand out. Even if your business is going to do something ground-breaking, if you don’t wrap the pitch in something attention-grabbing, few are going to respond to your idea in a positive way.
Making Things Too Complicated
While you do want to avoid having a boring pitch, it’s also important to avoid going too far in the other direction. If you’re using PowerPoint, don’t cram the slides full of information or use lots of animations or sound effects on them. Limit the amount of text on each slide and make sure the text is large enough for everyone to see clearly.
If you’re using graphs or tables on your slides, label the axes of the graphs and limit the amount of information in the tables. A 20 row by 20 column table full of numbers can be pretty overwhelming to look at.
To make sure your pitch doesn’t get derailed by technical difficulties, limit your dependence on technology. The simpler your PowerPoint is, the less likely it will be that something will go wrong. Although using a video can seem like a great way to grab people’s attention, there’s a chance that it won’t play. Plus, the video takes up valuable time, which you could be using to make the pitch.
Taking Things Personally
It’s likely that investors will ask you some questions during your pitch or at the end of it. While some of the questions might seem as if they are attacking you personally or might make you feel upset, it’s important to keep your cool and not take the questioning personally. Remind yourself that it’s just part of doing business and that having investors ask questions means that they are at least somewhat interested in your idea.
Refusing to Negotiate
It would be amazing if you went into a pitch, asked for a certain amount of funding in exchange for a certain amount of equity, and got it. But that is unlikely to happen. If investors are interested in funding your business, they are most likely going to want to negotiate with you. If you refuse to negotiate, you risk walking away from a great funding opportunity. Listen to what the investors are offering and make a counter-offer if you want.
New Direction Capital is here to help you grow your business. If you are preparing to pitch to investors or need assistance deciding which investors are a good match for your company, we can help. Contact us today to learn more.
Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What’s the difference between getting the funding you need from an investor or group of investors and not getting the funding? Often times, it’s the pitch. How you present yourself, your company and your product to investors matters. It can be what makes them eager to contribute to your business or what makes them decide to take a hard pass. When preparing your pitch, here’s what you can do to help it go as smoothly as possible and to help it be as successful as possible.
Research the Investors
You want to know who you’re pitching before you start putting together the details of your pitch. That means more than knowing the name of the person or persons you’ll be addressing and the name of the firm. It means having an idea of what types of projects or businesses they’ve funded in the past and what they look for in a company or product.
Finding out small details about the investors, such as where they went to school, what professional groups they work with, and so on, can help you build a rapport with them at the start of the pitch. If a member of your company went to the same college as an investor, it can be helpful to bring that person into the pitch. If you have the same favorite sports team as an investor, bringing that up at some point can help build camaraderie.
Memorize Specific Details About Your Company
Before pitching, you need to have the details about your company completely memorized. Stumbling over questions about your audience or customer base, about financial details or about other funding your business has received won’t go over well.
Make a list of all the details of your company and memorize it before you pitch. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the list in your back pocket, so that you can reference it if you completely draw a blank during your pitch.
Create a Story
One generic piece of advice business owners get before pitching is to “stand out” or “grab the investor’s attention.” Great, but how exactly do you do that? One way to set yourself apart from the crowd and to sear your product or brand into an investor’s memory is to create a story to tell during your pitch. The human brain not only follows stories better than lists of information, it also releases certain hormones while hearing stories. Those hormones can influence whether or not an investor decides to fund a company.
Don’t just tell investors about your product, show it to them. If possible, have a sample of what you’re selling on hand for the investors to examine and play with. If you haven’t produced a prototype yet, have images and other visuals available, to give investors a clear idea of what it is you’re hoping to sell.
Keep it Short
The shorter your pitch, the better. Investors are busy people, and they might not have time in their schedules to listen to a 15 or 20 minute pitch. Try to make your pitch shorter than the maximum time allowed. If they give you 10 minutes, take five, for example. A short pitch will only contain the most pertinent information and will let investors know exactly what they want or need to know, without wasting any time.
Take Care of Yourself
Remember to take care of yourself before and during the pitch. It can be tempting to stay up all night the day before your pitch, preparing and fine tuning. But you’ll be more on the ball if you go to bed at a decent hour and get enough sleep the night before.
How you present yourself to investors reflects on your company. Don’t be the person who shows up in a hoodie and jeans. Wear a suit or other business formal clothing, make sure your hair is neatly styled, and try to avoid any accessories that could be construed as distracting or unusual.
You don’t have to prepare to pitch investors alone. With New Direction Capital, you get a virtual chief financial officer who can help you figure out who to pitch, what those investors want to hear and how to get ready for pitching. Contact us today to learn more.
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net