Nail that pitch and persuade an investor
What to include and how to convince
You are the most important part of your presentation
An investor pitch has to convince the listener that you and your team can deliver. Whether you pitch to friends and family or professional investors, investors will be taking a risk that you can grow something big and create a return on their investment. Your investor pitch is a well-organized and memorable sequence of information that builds a bridge between you and someone who believes in you. You have to appear to be a reliable leader. Your passion, energy and focus will get others to believe in your business idea and your ability to go the distance – come what may.
Must-haves your investor pitch needs
Here’s how to create a compelling case for your business:
Solve a problem
Explain the specific pain point your product or service addresses. Make sure the investor understands how your business solves this problem. Be realistic and resourceful. Indicate what the plan is for future growth and opportunity, the potential to expand to additional products, customer categories, etc. over time.
State your value proposition
Describe the value of your solution. Why does your product or solution matter to the buyer? Does it help them achieve a goal? Does it save them money? Investors want to know that you understand what the customer needs.
This will convince them that you can drive the evolution of the product. They need to believe you will be able to transform your business model when necessary.
Show your profitability and financial projections
Be upfront about money. Investors have to know how you generate cash. Otherwise, you’re wasting their time. Go into detail about your business model and pricing structure. A simple graph or chart can help an investor see at a glance how growth drives profitability and margins.
Put together a three-year financial projection with projected revenue growth. You must have a plan to break even (when cost and income are equal). Explain the key drivers and major expenditures necessary to achieve profit and growth. An interested investor will follow-up to request your full financial report, so be prepared.
Explain your market strategy
Articulate where you are now, and where you hope to be in the future. How will you position your business in the market and target customers? Describe the market you’re selling to and the size and look of your target population.
What is your market strategy to grow? Cover prospects for expansion, transformation, or progression.
Show off your business team
Detail the expertise of management and any key advisors. Focus on the skills, talent, and accomplishments that will make this business successful. Convince investors that you’ve assembled a team that will help you achieve your goals.
Go over the milestones
List the notable milestones you’ve achieved and those you’re driving towards. Come prepared with a set of goals or key performance indicators (KPIs) that signal the business is moving in the right direction.
Explain how you’ll use the funds
When asking for backing, have a precise dollar amount. Know how much money you need and what you’re going to use it for. Divide the funds you need into three to five broad categories, such as staffing, equipment, or marketing services.
Do your homework
When looking for a professional investor, you want the right fit based on their interests in similar types of businesses. It’s also important to ensure that their typical investment size fits your needs. For example, if you’re looking for $1 million, you wouldn’t talk to someone whose minimum investment size is $5 million.
Information about a legitimate investor will be on their website. Make sure to check an investor’s ability to raise the dollar amount you need. It’s also important to find out how and when they’ve gotten involved in businesses previously. Look for investors who typically invest in your type of company and at your stage of development.
This research is very worthwhile. You’ll also learn about other companies that your target investor funded, which may lead to other investors, networks, and valuable information.
Research your investor’s background. Read their blogs or interviews. You want to know their views on the industry, particular areas of knowledge, and what they’re looking for. This will help you warm up your introduction with a customized pitch.
Perfect your pitch with these power tips
- Communication is key! Make sure you deliver that pitch well — in person or in writing, and no matter what type of document you use.
- Get to the point and be clear, regardless of the format. Your presentation has to work with you and without you, since many times you will be emailing it ahead of time. Don’t make it hard for investors to get your point by using a lot of buzzwords and distracting information. Prioritize the points you need to make and devote one slide to each point. Your presentation should be so clear that even if someone is distracted, they won’t miss anything.
- The in-person presentation allows you to react, underscore, and emphasize points. Use this opportunity to demonstrate the depth of your understanding. This is also an opportunity to provide data points and anecdotes. Don’t forget to show your commitment and enthusiasm.
- Chances are that the investor has heard a similar pitch so focus on what sets you apart from your competitors.
Getting an investor interested takes time
A pitch is the start of an important relationship so it’s not limited to one presentation. You may need to pitch in person, over the phone, in a PDF or email before you get a spark of interest. After you have an investor listening, you will need to continue to convince them that you’ve thought through the opportunity from many angles. Keep the conversation going. Your investor is a long-term partner and if they’re interested in the potential of your business idea, they may share precious advice on how to grow the business into a success.
Want to learn more about developing your pitch for customers and clients? Read our blogs about pitching solutions instead of selling and taking off with a bullet pitch.
Carolyn Katz, Public Company Director, Startup Advisor & Consultant
Aileen Ghee, NYWIB Director of Digital Marketing
Macollvie J. Neel, NYWIB Senior Editor
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