Seven ways for improving your pitch to investors as a startup founder
Writing for Business Advice, public speaking specialist Hanieh Vidmar offers startup founders seven pitching tips that could make the difference in front of investors.
Pitches are extremely important and can be a big part of raising investment or funds for your business or your new business idea. Pitches can come in all shapes and sizes – phone calls, videos, online conferences, meetings and the all important presentation.
This might come as a shocking comment to many, but I actually love pitching to investors and decision makers. I get such a buzz from it and Ive delivered a lot of successful pitches in the past and won various contracts and raised a lot of money. I enjoyed every single one even one particular one that went disastrously wrong. More on that in another article?
In this article, I want to share my seven top tips on how to make your investment pitch better. Please note, these tips won’t guarantee investment but by implementing these tips into your future pitches, you can maximise your chances of success.
Before we dive further, Id like to share a couple of statistics with you. An investor shared these statistics with me and they are eye opening stats! They are not to frighten you, but to help you understand why having a great pitch, personality and of course a great product, will help you stand out from the rest.
Out of 2000-3000 startups that approach this investment firm every year, they only invest in 10. They meet around 300-350 businesses per year. That means, they have a 10% chance of securing a meeting and from there, only a 3% chance of securing investment.
3% chance of securing investment after a 10% chance of securing a meeting! Very interesting statistics and very useful to know. Now you know why having a great pitch, personality and product is vital.
I will now share my top 7 tips on how to get the most out of your pitches.
Know who you’re talking to
You have many different types of investors and each come with their own terms and conditions and risk level tolerance. Every investor or investment firm are suited to different types of businesses so make sure you do your due diligence on who you’re approaching, who you’re talking to and what their expectations are.
don’t waste your time or the investors time by talking to the wrong firm. When you know youll be in front of the right investors, then you can start carving your pitch and message.
Know your business
Know your business inside out; know your financial forecast, know your
competitors, know your market; is it big enough and if it’s a new market, is it patented? Know your potential growth % month on month, know the objections too and potential issues you could face down the line, know your organisation chart. The investors will have a lot of questions and you must know the answers to all of them. Knowing the answers will demonstrate many things as we will find out more shortly.
Good ideas are everywhere. You can spot a gap in the market or come up with a really
useful product or app whilst having dinner with your friends. But if the passion isnt there, investors will pick up on this and wonder if youd get bored soon. Present businesses you’re passionate and excited about as being passionate about what you’re doing is one of the ways to reap the rewards.
Also, pitching to investors is a huge task it takes confidence, conviction, time, energy, focus, knowledge, and without the passion, you simply wouldnt put in the effort that the investors want to and need to see! If you’re shy and pitching scares you, focus on what you’re doing and believe in what you’re doing.
Conviction and confidence come through via your passion, so really believe in what you’re doing and go fully prepared.
Share your story
One thing investors would love to hear is your story. Why did you come up with this product? What’s your pain points? Why do you know this problem well? What success have you gained in the past? What’s the story behind your business? Be authentic in this. Share your story as investors look at spreadsheets, graphs, tables and numbers all day long.
Hearing your story is a breath of fresh air for them and it helps them understand, see and feel your passion better. Sharing your business story also helps you stand out from the rest of the fund seekers the ones that focus on numbers and stats which is important of course, but sharing your story gets you extra attention.
Something to remember when sharing your story or background is to only share what’s relevant. don’t go on and on about something personal if it has no relevance to the business, pitch or product. Keep it relevant and make sure everything is kept to the point.
Team work makes the dream work
When you’re ready to pitch to the investors, go with your team, if you have one. Investors look for a strong CEO. The CEO needs to lead the pitch , conversation and organise its delivery. If there’s only two of you, i.e. CEO and the CTO, then deliver the pitch together.
The CEO, for example, can introduce the CTO to the investors, ask them to step in and explain the technology and product set up further. This shows the investors that the CEO trusts the team and can rely on them in the business.
Hanieh Vidmar is a speaker, trainer and former TV Presenter. She's delivered pitches on behalf of other companies, won contracts and raised over ?1m in funds. Her goal is to help as many people overcome their fears of public speaking so they can achieve bigger and better goals with confidence.