I’ve worked with many start-ups and as an angel investor myself, I have experienced first hand the strategies that impress investors and know what it takes to get investors to lean into your business idea and give you the green light.
Read on to find out more, or watch the video below for more information.
Becoming a master at pitching to investors is as important as acing your Pitch Deck. So is a killer business plan, and investor strategy.
I’ve helped secure millions of dollars in equity for my clients and told them the same thing I’m about to tell you, you need to do your homework if you are going to improve your odds of an investor choosing to fund your business idea.
Here are five tips that will shouldn’t be overlooked if you are pitching for funding...
1. CONSIDER YOUR GAME PLAN
Finding the right investor is about far more than how much money they can provide to support your business idea. You also need to be a good team and a good fit and that involves compromise.
So before you start pitching, make sure you know your own boundaries. Ask yourself these important business questions:
- What kind of skills would you like your investor to bring to the table?
- Do you want a silent partner or co-partner?
- How much ownership or control are you willing to give up and how many changes are you willing to make in order to secure your start-up funding?
Be clear about this going in so that you can make quick decisions and know your non-negotiables. Investors are still going to throw you some curveballs and you will have to think on your feet so it makes sense to be prepared.
2. THROW YOUR NET WIDE
As well as investigating the obvious avenues such as venture capital firms and angel investors, take time to pitch to incubators, accelerators and selected banks. It’s a common misconception that start-up founders don’t know any investors.
Sometimes great contacts can be right under your nose, such as your accountant or your neighbour who is a corporate lawyer. These key people may have great contacts who would love to invest in your idea.
And don’t forget about family and friends. You may not want to ask them directly to invest, but you can ask them if they could network on your behalf. You might soon find yourself face-to-face with a friend of a friend who loves your idea. Even if they can’t fund your entire enterprise they might be keen to contribute some critical funds.
3. CREATE A SHORT LIST OF SPECIFIC INVESTORS
Once you’ve done a big sweep of the scene to identify all potential investors, start to weed some out. This may seem counterintuitive but it will ensure you don't waste time and lower your morale pitching to people who are unlikely to warm to your idea.
For example, if you have a great fitness business idea, you will reduce your chances of success if you pitch to investors who usually fund medical technology businesses. So make sure you and your potential investor are a good fit before you pitch to them.
Also look at successful organisations and entrepreneurs that might be passionate about your idea and put them on your shortlist. If you don’t know these investors or their representatives personally, put out your feelers. You might find that someone you know has helpful connections so put your networks to full use. LinkedIn is great for seeing if your network is connected to potential investors.
And remember, people you meet at industry and business events, such as board members or consultants could become potential points of contact to investors too.
Once you’ve used your network to get access to an investor, make a soft call. Instead of making a cold call asking them to fund your start-up, approach the investor and ask their advice. This has two benefits. Firstly, it changes the power dynamic; instead of you sounding desperate or begging for support, you are more likely to appear confident and savvy.
By putting your potential investor in the role of mentor, you immediately develop a collaborative relationship with them. If they can give you a few pointers on any flaws they see in your business idea, then you have learned something. And if you find ways to fix these issues then come back to them, you might just find you have locked in an investor. Or they might refer you on to a more appropriate investor option.
4. PRACTICE AND PREPARE
This applies to every layer of your business. And it particularly applies to your Pitch Deck. There is no point having a golden opportunity to pitch your business idea and then completely blowing the moment by freezing up or fumbling your way through it.
If you can’t deliver your Pitch Deck with confidence and professionalism, why would investors have confidence in you? What they are looking for is not just a great business idea – they also want to know if you can execute it. So make sure you have a polished and well prepared investor deck, pitch deck and elevator pitch; and answers to a wide range of questions that potential investors may ask.
When you are centre stage presenting your pitch deck, make sure you are so well rehearsed that the presentation feels as natural as breathing. Don’t just practice your pitch deck; practice how you will converse with potential investors if they approach you. Anticipate points of discussion or questions and make sure you’ve got plenty of responses at the ready. The more prepared you are, the more confident, in control and bankable you will seem.
5. REMEMBER YOU ARE PART OF THE BRAND
Investors are not just investing in your idea, they are also investing in you. So they want to see that you have a wide range of abilities to make your business idea a success. This means your delivery and personality are just as important as your business idea and pitch deck.
So be a people person. Know how to connect with everyone you meet, especially potential investors. When you talk to investors and their representatives, make eye contact, smile and look confident and positive. At the same time, be authentic. This will ensure that you seem like the full package - trustworthy, good at networking and a consummate business professional: a winning combination for any investor.
Finding investors can be daunting and can take many years but don’t forget, you are following your dreams so keep on pitching with passion.
You’re just one pitch away from success!
get your free pitch deck content guide
If you want a great road map to what the slides you should include in your pitch deck, download my pdf guide. It has the key points investors are looking for and some great tips on how to expand on those points.
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