“It is much easier to put existing resources to better use, than to develop resources where they do not exist.” – , business magnate, investor, political activist and author
Raising funds for a business is possibly the single biggest stressor for any wise entrepreneur. On the other hand, many entrepreneurs feel that they know their business inside out and that the pitch will be a cakewalk. The same people then end up fumbling in the board room. To an investor expecting a solid pitch, nothing can be more frustrating than being stuck listening to a person without a plan. Here are a few things you should take care of before you enter into a discussion with a potential investor:
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Your body language speaks louder than you. Your walking style, the way you greet the person, your hand shake and hand gestures while you talk, all this should exude confidence. Let’s not forget how you lean from your chair and rest your back on the wall too. Such actions can be interpreted in many ways. Assume you are in a discussion and have your arms crossed. This could imply that you are a closed person who might be less inclined to new ideas or opinions. Remember, every action and every movement that you make is being judged.
Dress to the occasion
No one, in any part of the world, shows up to a meeting in casual slippers and shorts. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your presentation is the first half of your game; the rest of it involves how you look. A crisp shirt, a pair of good trousers and a tie is the ideal attire for men. Women, keep it simple and conservative with modest clothing. However, do take care that you dress to the occasion and also depending on the people you are about to meet. If you happen to be travelling to a different country or region that is culturally very different, understand the dos and don’ts before you proceed.
Walk the talk
Many people still seem to believe that the archaic method of storytelling can secure funds. Let’s get clear about this: your investors don’t care about your story. They only care about the product, who is going to buy it and how are you going to make money out of it.
Understand that you’re running on limited time and you have to push everything important purely from a business point of view. Remember, investors only fund 7 percent of the projects that come to them. Sometimes, the shortest and most concise pitch can work wonders for you. Ensure that your pitch covers the following:
- Target market
- Customer acquisition strategy
- Revenue model
- Competition and differentiation
- Challenges and solutions of industry and your business
- Historical figures for revenues. In case you are at the ideation stage, potential revenues.
- Marketing plan
- Funding needs
- Exit plan
You final gateway to success is your presentation. Ensure that it’s crisp and that everything that you want your audience to see and remember is mentioned. Take care of the following:
- Limit your presentation to 10 slides.
- Be tacit and use visuals to represent data.
- Ensure the fonts and colours used represent your brand.
- Be clutter free and keep your slides clean.
The purpose of a pitch is to present your potential investor with something they’d like to see. Once you have all the above mentioned factors in order, they’re sure to do so. Do you have any points to add to this list? Mention them in the comments section below.
Who is this. Always, always, always attribute quotes. Unless it is someone like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa or Barack Obama, do not assume that your reader will know him/her.