Pitching to investors can be exciting as it’s often an essential step in the successful launch of a business. When the opportunity to present your company to an investor arises, you had better be prepared! This is the time to put doubt to the side and create an exemplary story of your product or service offering, and how it will necessarily make life easier for your customers. It’s not uncommon for presentations to be too “salesy” or not have enough “meat” to the story to win investors over. We’ve crafted several do’s and don’ts to help you navigate preparing for your next big win.
Do provide clarity on why you’re in business
Easily captivate your audience by telling a compelling story. Make it clear as to why your company came to life, and make sure the story is easily digestible. This is your opportunity to focus on the problem and communicate your company’s value and how it will affect the lives of your customers.
Do make sure your technology is seamless and user-friendly
More than likely, your presentation will be in some form of technology – like a PowerPoint slide deck, or a template. Before presenting, you’ll want to make sure there are no signs of technology problems. You should also consider the possibility of investors requesting a copy of your presentation, so the display should be easy to navigate and read.
Do anticipate feedback and questions
With every excellent presentation, there are going to be questions, feedback, and comments as a follow-up. Have data readily available to support the claims made throughout your presentation. Walk through your presentation with a colleague (or three…) before the big day and ask them to come up with a list of questions that you may not have considered. Then make sure you’re thoroughly prepared to answer those and similar questions during the presentation.
Don’t ignore your competitors
This is a big no-no. Acknowledging your competition points out that there is a market for your solution. It allows you the opportunity to point out what differentiates your business. This is not the time to talk poorly about your competition; this is an opportunity to make investors aware of the market.
Don’t forget to do your research
Assuming you’ve already done this (which is why your business is in play today,) walk into the meeting knowledgeable. Understand your product, the problem you’re solving, and the history of the market. And know your numbers…from market size through financial projections you need to know your numbers cold!
Don’t be sloppy
Make absolute, 100% sure that there are no flaws in your presentation. Spelling mistakes, clear grammar errors, typos and text misalignment are inexcusable. It shows an inattention to detail and a general sloppiness (or even laziness in the case of misspellings…. spell check is a 2-minute automatic electronic exercise!). Investors are looking for reasons to disqualify you, and a sloppy investor presentation is a proxy for how much care you will take pitching customers. Or in this case, lack of care!
Incorporating these do’s and don’ts into your pitching “plan of action” will help position you for success with potential investors. Remember to emphasize the “why” and “how” your business creates value for customers, and remember to not go into full sales mode. Even though pitching investors is a sales situation, the investor is a different kind of customer and much more interested in your ability to act as a general manager and business owner than if you can merely close a deal. Focus on presenting a holistic view of the opportunity your business brings, and how it will generate an appropriate return on an investor’s capital. At the end of the day, it’s all about making money!