Proverbs say that first impressions are the most lasting and, while contrasting quotes tell us that first impressions can be unreliable, one encounter may be all you get when it comes to pitching to an investor.
Whether you are addressing a bank, an angel investor, peer-to-peer lenders, venture capitalists or personal investors, the approach should be the same: innovative, succinct, and precise.
In this article we explore how you can create a strong and persuasive pitch, and what support you can call on to significantly strengthen your chances of success.
Choosing Your Target Audience
Prior to making your pitch it is important that you choose the right investor for you and your product. This will depend on your product or service, and the stage that your business is at.
For entrepreneurs or start-ups it is most likely that you will be approaching an angel investor or venture capitalist. While this kind of investor may seem more likely to take a risk they still need to be converted to your way of thinking with regard the success of your proposal.
1. What You Can Bring to the Table
Preparation is key in any presentation, both for yourself and your data. You must be confident and informed. It is also advisable to exploit all media to full effect, as such if a graphics based presentation such as a slide show will strengthen your argument then use it. If you have a product that you can demo, bring it along and think about how you can create maximum impact.
The most important thing any business owner can ask themselves is ‘What problem am I solving for my client?’. Communicate the answer to this query to your prospective investor.
Your pitch should also be simple yet innovative. Use your own strengths to deliver this aspect. If you are a strong talker then tell a story; involve your audience in your vision. If your strengths lie elsewhere then let the facts speak for themselves. Choose the most hard hitting facts from your marketing strategy and present them in a clear way, indicating the journey you see your product making. All projections should reflect a practical timeframe for delivery.
2. Support Services
When it comes to selling a vision it is vital to be able to communicate financial data accurately. You need to know what information is expected and what might be requested. If you don’t take the finances seriously why should your investor? That is where utilising a Finance Director or CFO can help dramatically.
The pitch needs to communicate your expertise in both your product and your revenue model. While you may be familiar with the basics of financial projections you may not be prepared to deal with scrutiny.
Commissioning a finance director or CFO, even on a temporary basis as outsourced support, can significantly boost your pitch. A CFO will answer any finance questions, making the projections look their best while being attainable, and will make your pitch bullet proof.
Choosing this kind of support clearly demonstrates your commitment and professionalism to your audience and allows them to fully dissect your revenue model to their satisfaction.
Your Finance Director can also help you to prepare, ensuring that the pitch communicates the type and level of financial data that will be expected.
3. The Conclusion
Every aspect of your pitch should appear polished. As such once you have told your story and presented the facts, have a brief conclusion. One simple yet well thought out sentence can cement a deal. You should also take the time to briefly thank your audience for their time and consideration.
A Final Word
You have taken time and effort to create a product or service that you believe in. Do it the justice of taking the time to present it, in its best light. Ensure you convey the very crux of your vision in a thorough yet laconic manner. Arm yourself with all of the available tools at your disposal.
When pitching to an investor, utilising an outsourced Finance Director or CFO can significantly strengthen your success at raising investment funds. In addition to advising on the best type of investor for you, then can help you to plan and execute the financial aspects of your pitch, and indicate your commitment to realising your vision.