Maybe you’re still immersed in the dating scene. Perhaps you haven’t ventured into that realm for more than 20 years. Either way, if you’re getting ready to pitch investors on your company, you need to practice your wooing skills.
Linking up with investors requires you to impress, and there isn’t much difference between a bad pickup line and a poorly formulated investment pitch. Here’s how to make your pitch perfectly irresistible.
Make Sure You’re Ready for the Relationship
When you walk into a pitch — similar to approaching someone at a bar — both sides know you want something. At the bar, you’re looking for companionship; during a pitch, you’re looking for money. In either case, if you don’t have anything to offer, you’re going to get rejected.
Before making a pitch, you have to be sure you’re clear about what your business has to offer investors. What is your company’s growth potential within your industry? Is it likely to be acquired? Who are your competitors?
Outline the overall growth of the market, as well as its future potential. Have a firm understanding of not just what problem you are solving, but also the opportunities in your industry. You should prove that your focus is not limited to just your product or service. Demonstrate that you’re considering every stage of growth.
Once you have a solid knowledge of everything pertaining to your business, its place in the industry, and the benefits of investment, it’s time to start building your pitch.
Building a Great Pitch
You’ll only have one shot to make a great impression, so you need to present a pitch that resonates. There are three things you can do to make your pitch and product shine:
- Practice more than you think is reasonable. Present your pitch to as many people as possible — family, friends, colleagues, or whoever else will listen and provide feedback. Do it so many times that everyone is sick of hearing it. Eliminate unnecessary mannerisms and fidgets. Decide where you’ll move and how you’ll gesture. Ask yourself what you’ll do if they hand you a microphone. Every aspect of your pitch should be so thoroughly planned and practiced that it becomes engrained in your mind.
- Do your homework. Who are the investors you’ll be pitching? What kinds of companies do they usually invest in? What types of questions are they likely to ask? Are you able to connect with any of them before the pitch in order to build a relationship? Find out as much as possible to develop a highly compelling case.
- Get creative. Think of methods of communicating the creativity of your team through an interesting and unique presentation. Can you do something more intriguing than just another PowerPoint? What’s the most interesting way to experience your product or service? Investors listen to one pitch after another, so you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd and give them something to talk about. Their friends are likely investors as well.
Once you’ve prepared a solid presentation, it’s time to deliver.
Delivering a Pitch That Inspires Confidence
Your product might be revolutionary, but truthfully, investors are more concerned with how your product will change the current landscape of the market. As an entrepreneur, it’s up to you to inspire confidence in investors that your business will do just that.
You should never seem ambivalent nor insincerely enthusiastic, and your goal should be to produce a sense of excitement that makes VCs not only want to invest, but also share information with their contacts about the great new business they’ve discovered.
The biggest mistake you can make, just like in dating, is to focus entirely on how great you are. Your presentation should showcase how great you and the investor would be together. What changes and improvements can an investor influence? Showcase how the investor would make a difference in your business, now and in the future.
It’s possible to pitch effectively as long as you’re thoughtful about what benefits you can provide investors. Communicate your enthusiasm and dedication. By learning everything you can about your industry and the investors who are likely to be interested in it — and finding a creative way to talk about your business — you’ll be prepared to deliver an exciting pitch that will inspire confidence in your investors.
Finding “The One” can be challenging, but in the end, it’s worth the effort.
Wheeler del Torro is an entrepreneurial consultant and speaker. He has also made a name for himself as a professional chef, starting his career by hosting pop-ups and dinner parties, which led him to invest in small companies. He currently spends most of his time traveling across the globe to host pop-up restaurants and workshops on how to start a business. He wants to educate entrepreneurs on all aspects of starting a business, from conceiving an idea to gaining funding.