Writing for Business Advice, James Oakes, director at ZEAL Investments, offers five lessons to help entrepreneurs approach a funding pitch confidently, arming them with the techniques neededto impress investors.
Getting a business off the ground isnt purely a matter of having a great idea and the vision to implement it. These things are necessary, but they’re not sufficient. No matter how game-changing your idea is, or how much money it stands to make, without cash reserves or an extremely lean business model, youll need money and that means youll need to court and impress investors.
In the early stages, the pitch is everything. The trouble, of course, is that it’s far from simple. Making sure your pitch captures the imagination of would-be investors requires significant effort, preparation, and foresight.
Here are my five tips to wow and impress investors:
Articulate your vision
Help them see, how your idea will change the world.
But, before you can do that, you need to thoroughly audit your idea and your business model. You must poke holes in it wherever possible: why might it not work? What kind of customer doesnt it serve? What potential issues might be immediately identifiable to a seasoned investor?
This may sound unduly negative, and that’s because it’s supposed to. Investors are always looking for reasons to not give entrepreneurs money. Everyone has different levels of acceptable risk, so all you can do is minimise them.
Criticising yourself and working out ways to fix any potential issues in advance of your pitch will make your vision much more appealing.
When you’ve dealt with these problems, the next step is to practice the arguments?for?your business idea.
don’t get bogged down in minutiae here: this needs to be a showy, big-picture presentation on the myriad virtues of your product or service why it works, what it does, who it’s for, and how it’s going to shake up the market. Have an answer to any question your investors might have, and give them every reason to believe that your company?has?to exist.
Stay on track
Excitement is the default mode for many entrepreneurs, but don’t get carried away. When you lose sight of the details, you lose track of the business.
A persuasive pitch must be controlled as well as creative. If you are to persuade investors to give you money, you should be able to persuade them that you will use it wisely and judiciously.
So, if you have ideas for expansion in the distant future, several offshoot companies, or 32 new product lines, keep them in your head. Entrepreneurship is about managing priorities. Show them that you can.
That said, in maintaining a strict focus, you should never give off the impression that you’re unwilling to change. Market-dominating products don’t emerge fully formed: they react and adapt to the will of consumers.
Investors need to know that if the first version of your idea doesnt work, youll do whatever you can to change it until it does. Embed contingencies into your initial pitch: think of parallel universes and alternate scenarios, and demonstrate a willingness to pursue any profitable and legal avenue that appears before you.
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