Congratulations! You have started a new business! You have reached the point where you have enough solid footing that you can start looking for investments from outside sources. No matter who your potential investors are, you will need a well-prepared presentation to show them the merits of your product. This presentation can come in several different forms such as an elevator pitch, a product pitch or a business pitch (to name a few). Although all of these types of pitches are important and have their place when speaking with investors, for now, we will assume that you have gotten the meeting and are preparing your business pitch. The following are some key aspects to consider when you are creating your presentation.
Create a presentation
First things first, you need to create a presentation. Please do not “wing” your big important presentation. I know that you have been putting countless hours, blood, sweat and tears into this company. I am sure that you think about it so much that you have actually started dreaming about it! You could talk about your company for hours. For that very reason, you need to prepare exactly what you are going to say. When you set up a meeting you are promising only to take a set amount of time to speak about your company. No one wants to sit in a room for hours listening to every detail of the company. You need to streamline the information. I want you to be efficient. Even more than that, you need to show that you are organized and capable of succinctly passing crucial information to your investors.
Now that you have decided to create a presentation, what the heck do you put in it?
Tell a story
The way that you will initially grab the attention of your investors is by telling your company story. You want to start with the problem that you noticed in the world. Next, tell the person listening to your pitch why it matters. Once you have established your problem as relevant and urgent you will give your solution. Here you introduce your product/idea/app/whatever it may be that you are pitching.
Show the numbers
Once you have established that there is a need for your company intuitively, you need to back up your claims with real information. In this section, you will define your target market, give your revenue or business model, show what you have accomplished so far and your marketing and sales strategy. These sections should be relatively straightforward. You are explaining who would be interested in your product, the way in which your company will thrive, how successful you have been thus far and how you plan to continue growing.
If you recall from previous articles that we have posted on this blog, you should have created your business plan almost as soon as your company was conceived. This business plan should be guided by research that you conducted on the current market situation, your competition, and other financial details. After presenting your marketing and sales strategy you will need to present your potential investors with your financial projections. These projections are an estimate of how your company will fare in the market. Your projections should be based on your research and what you have accomplished so far.
The Final Stretch
At this point, you have shown the potential investors what your plans are for your company and the evidence supporting why you will be able to do it. Now that you have demonstrated value you will finish your pitch with a final push for your company. This final push should mention your competition and specifically, how you are different from them. What are you bringing to the table that has never been seen before? This is a great segway into talking about your team. There is a good chance that the reason your company is uniquely positioned to be successful is because you have assembled a stellar team who get things done and does them well. It’s okay to be proud of the people who you have recruited. It’s also great to talk about who else might join the company someday.
Of course, when all is said and done, the reason that you are having this meeting is because you want the people who you are pitching to, to invest in your company. Now that you have created the best case for your company is it time to talk about your funding needs. Tell the investors exactly what you are looking for and what level of returns they can expect from their investments. Here you also want to include your exit strategy. Do you plan on going public? Selling to another company? How will you make sure that everyone involved is getting the most out of their investments?
A Few Final Pieces of Advice:
I want to leave you with a few final pieces of advice. Make sure you practice your pitch constantly. A good speaker can speak about the same subject for 3-5 minutes or 30-50 minutes depending on the situation. Do not get too upset if you do not get the investments that you are looking for right away. These things take time and patience. Most of the time when you give a pitch the answer will be no, so you need to get used to rejection. Instead of getting down on yourself, make sure that you continue to have a good relationship with whoever said no to you this time. If your idea is successful enough they may come back and want to invest later. With that, my final piece of advice is: Go get ‘em, tiger!