Pitching to investors can be scary, the York IE partners have been there. Especially when 29% of startups fail due to lack of funds. Thankfully, there are steps to take and plans to be made prior to the pitch. These are a few tips from people that have been pitched to countless times and always look out for the fellow entrepreneur.
Get to the meeting a few minutes early. Understand the connection issues if you’re presenting slides. Nothing worse than wasting 5-10 minutes getting set up. Also be prepared by knowing who you are in the room with. Know what investments they like. Know their investment ethos, etc. That will go a long way in instantly building your credibility.
Own the agenda.
You are here to pitch. Lead the meeting. Start with introductions to establish context but don’t let the investor ramble. This is an opportunity for you to show how you can command a room. But, of course, don’t be a jerk or a know-it-all.
Have a big vision.
But have a path to execution. Some entrepreneurs think too small. They have a great plan on how to execute the vision but if it is so small, why are they raising capital? Others have a massive vision but have literally know idea how to get there. Nail this and the rest of your pitch will be taken seriously.
Know your market!
Many founders know their product but they don’t understand the market they’re playing in. Only by knowing the rest of your market can you know where your profitable areas of growth are. Only then can you know what your differentiators are and the moat you need to build.
Know what you’re going to do with the money.
There is a reason why you’re raising money. Articulate what you’ll do with it and how far it will take you. Will you need to raise again in 12 months? Is this the last time you’ll need to raise, as in 6 months you’ll be cash flow positive? Those answers lead to you knowing what kind of business you’re building.
Listen and take feedback.
At an early stage investment pitch, the investor is investing as much in you as they are the startup. You need to convince them that there is a large enough market opportunity to go after and that you are the one who is the right person to lead the company to the promised land.
Remember, this is a two-way pitch.
There is a lot of money out there. You need to make sure you’re getting the right money. So just as much as the investor is evaluating you, evaluate them. Beyond a check, what other value do they offer? Network? Experience? Complementary skill set? Too often new entrepreneurs forget that they have leverage and power too.