There is a massive gap between coming up with an incredible business idea and having it reach its full potential. Often, that gap represents money. Sure, you can easily have plenty of cash and still not succeed - but more often than not, businesses are limping along in those early stages without the proper funding.
If you’re prepared to give up some of your equity and take on partners, seeking investment is one of the best ways to get your business from startup to established and scaling. If you’re going to seek funding and investment from outside sources, your pitch will be what makes or breaks the deal.
Here are some tips to help you nail that pitch and position your business as an investment-worthy opportunity.
Choose the right audience
If you’ve spent any amount of time watching Shark Tank, you get how crucial it is that you’re speaking to investors who would be interested and able to invest in your type of venture. You want to take the time to understand the background of your investors so that you understand what types of businesses they typically invest in, what their skill set is, and what requirements they have before they consider investing. You don’t want to waste your efforts pitching to the wrong people, so do the work ahead of time to ensure you’re getting in front of the right audience.
Tell your pitch like it’s a story
If you want to stand out, be memorable, and have an impact on your audience, turn your pitch into a story. Emotional storytelling has become the pillar of most marketing efforts today, and there’s a reason for that - it’s scientifically proven to work. Making an emotional connection with your audience through storytelling is the easiest and most impactful way to create a relationship with your audience, and that’s exactly what you need to accomplish if you want people to believe in your business, but most importantly, in you. Data and valuations are always beneficial of course, but they aren’t enough to captivate potential investors. Weave the crucial bits of information they need to know into your story and you’ll be able to get their attention, and hopefully, their money.
Keep your pitch simple, clear, and analytical
Don’t go overboard with fancy terminology or decades worth of research. Be clear, decisive, and strategic with the way you present your business case. Always remember that the point of what you’re doing is to simply demonstrate the business objectives, and show how funding will help you to execute. Anything that doesn’t support the main goal of your pitch will simply distract from it. Tell your story in a way that even a child could understand, and keep it straight to the point. Don’t let it drag on for too long, either - decide what the most important speaking points are and stick to them.
Don’t leave it open-ended
Pitching investors is theoretically along the same lines as a business promoting a sale. The opportunity can’t last forever - at some point, the offer has to be off the table. When pitching, it’s crucial that you include strict deadlines and timelines. It demonstrates that you’re serious about making things happen, and shows you’re confident you’ll be able to secure funding - whether it’s from the current audience or not. Lay out your time-sensitive plan in a way that includes your investors and shows them how you want this to work.
Don’t be shy about your accomplishments
If you’ve already got some sales under your belt, make sure that’s included early-on in your presentation. Include a sales graph that shows your sales over a specified period of time, and be prepared to explain how you drove those sales and what your plan is to continue that traction. Demonstrate specifically how the funding will be used to impact sales and scale the business.
Asking for money isn’t easy, but it’s often a necessary step if you want to get your startup off the ground. When you’ve got the ear of potential investors, ensure you make the most of it and go in with a plan.