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.
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