On any given day, investors and venture capitalists hear numerous pitches from a variety of startups and young entrepreneurs hoping to get the funding they need to launch their ideas or expand their business.
You may have an ingenious idea that can change the game in your industry or community, but without a good pitch, it might just fly over your potential investor’s head. You only have one chance to make a first impression with an investor, that’s why it’s extremely important to be prepared.
Here are seven tips to help you get ready for that all-important meeting:
Use Your Network
Cold calling, or cold emailing, is more or less a guarantee for any investor to not take you seriously, or even want to meet with you. You want your introduction to come from a credible source that can give further legitimacy to your business, even before the meeting is set. Do your research and be creative in how you can connect with potential investors and put your network and contacts to good use.
You Are the First Impression
Whether we like it or not, our physical appearance is the first thing people will judge us on, and could very well set the tone for their opinion on us for the rest of the meeting. You don’t need to be decked out in designer items, but at least make sure that you look clean and prepared.
Don’t Waste Their Time
Speaking with investors is not the time to try to establish rapport by making small talk. You’re there for business so get right down to it. In many cases, you’ll only get a few minutes of their time so don’t waste any talking about the weather or anything that doesn’t involve your venture.
Practice Makes Perfect
Pitching to an investor is the worst time to try and wing it. Again, you only get a few minutes for your pitch so make every second count. Run through your presentation with your colleagues so you can make sure you have all the important points down and deliver it with confidence and conviction.
Know Your Business In and Out
Just because you’re pressed for time, don’t think that your investors won’t have any questions. You don’t want to answer any potential questions with uncertain terms like “Maybe”, “I think” or “Around this x number”. It’s important that you know absolute details about your business, even the parts you don’t directly deal with. Otherwise, it would seem like you’re unprepared or not thoroughly invested. If there is a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t make something up on the spot. Just say you’ll park the question and get back to them.
Show Them How Your Product or Service Works
Don’t just tell them what your product or service is when you present it, make sure they understand it, and why it’s unique and valuable. If you have a product, have them on hand, if it’s a service, make sure to explain it in an easily digestible and succinct way.
Show Them the Money
At the end of the day, an investor wants to know that they will make money off your business. When you’re preparing your pitch, make sure to showcase both your market and your market size and what you plan to do to capture your audience. Make sure they know how they will make money off your business.
If pitching isn´t your strong point, ask for help! Rise & Lead Women are launching the Founders Table series in 2020 to support you on your entrepreneurial journey and to help you build your network. Join us!
Ebere Akadiri is an accomplished entrepreneur and an advocate for women in leadership. Her passion to inspire others to achieve their goals drove her to found Rise and Lead Women along with her co-founder, Poonam Barua. Their mission is to inspire women to take the lead in closing the gender gap in workplaces and in business.