A pitch can make or break your business.
Hit all the right notes and you could bring in the investment you need to take your start-up to the next level.
But if your pitch falls flat you could fail to convince investors that your venture is worth the risk.
In this short guide, we’ll walk you through the seven simple steps you need to take to perfect your pitch and give yourself the best possible chances of bringing an investor on board.
The best pitches get straight to the point.
They clearly and concisely outline the opportunity you’ve identified and how you’re planning on building a profitable business on it.
And while there are a few things investors will want to see before they part with their cash – we’ll go into those later – you’ll lose their interest if you take ten minutes to get to them.
So, be sure to cut the fluff and get straight to the point for the best chances of success.
If your pitch is too long, you’ll lose your audience.
If it’s too short, you won’t give them enough information and could come across underprepared.
So, how long should your pitch be?
According to venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki, the best start-up pitches stick to the 10-20-30 rule: the presentation has ten slides, lasts twenty minutes, and contains no font smaller than thirty points.
Why just twenty minutes when investors will usually give you an hour to pitch? Kawasaki says this gives you plenty of time to deal with any technical difficulties that crop up. And if everything goes perfectly, it leaves forty minutes for discussion.
So, stick to Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule to make sure your pitch is the perfect length.
The best pitches are tailored to their audience.
So, do your homework on which businesses the people you’re pitching to have previously invested in.
Are there parallels between those businesses and your own? Do you have a similar business model or operate in a similar space?
And if you’re pitching to an investor that has a track record of investing in companies that aren’t like yours, you’ll have the best chances of success if you answer the reservations you expect them to have within your pitch.
It’s also well worth reaching out to the founders of the businesses they have invested in to get some insider information.
You really can’t be too prepared when the future of your business is on the line.
Investors receive dozens of pitches every week.
To make sure yours stands out from the crowd, bring your opportunity to life by showcasing your product.
If it’s a physical item, create a display that shows it off. If it’s an app, load a smartphone with it for investors to get hands-on with what they would be investing in.
Investors want to be sure you’ll deliver on the promises you’re making in your pitch. If you can wow them with a demonstration of your product, app, or service, you’ll go a long way to getting them on board.
If an investor is going to part with their money, it will only be to a business that has mapped out exactly how they plan to succeed in their sector and how they plan on spending every penny.
That means you need a thorough business plan to have any chance of convincing an investor to part with their cash.
Don’t already have a business plan? Follow the government’s guide to writing one to make sure yours ticks all the boxes an investor is looking for during your pitch.
Every business has competitors.
Even if you’ve come up with a completely innovative idea and no one offers the exact same product or service as you, you’ll still have to tear your target customers away from the solution they’re currently using.
An investor will want to see you address your competition before they gamble on your business.
Fail to do so and they’re unlikely to part with their cash.
But how do you talk about the competition in your pitch?
We recommend that you highlight your competitor’s shortcomings before you reveal your product or service to investors.
You might highlight that their application is hard to use, customers have to wait an age on the phone to get through to customer support, or their product lacks key features that consumers would love.
Then, introduce your product or service, showcasing how you’ve taken the competition’s shortcomings and turned them into your strengths.
This will give investors the confidence that you’ve assessed the competition and fully understand the market and how you are going to come out on top of it.
Finally, make sure to include plenty of facts and figures in your pitch.
Investors aren’t going to put money into a hunch. They want to see the data behind your decisions: the size of the market, whether it’s shrinking or growing, and how recent technology, legislation, or global events have affected the sector.
Prove the opportunity you’ve spotted is backed by data and you’re sure to win the confidence of investors.
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