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