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Pitch Perfect: How to Pitch Your Start-up to Investors
Raising capital to start or expand your
business can be challenging. Not all great entrepreneurs are sales people by
nature, and presentations to potential investors can be nerve-wracking even if
you are highly skilled. Whether you are trying to raise thousands or millions,
getting your pitch perfect will help you to hit the right note with investors.
Here are a few simple tips to help you prepare:
What type of investor?
Most entrepreneurs generally start with “love money” from friends and family. However, the type of investment that is right for you will depend on a number of factors, such as the industry you’re in, the size of your business now ―where you want to be in the future― and the stage of your business. Determine what type of investor you want to approach. Angel investors, for example, are more likely to invest in a start-up whereas venture capitalists might be a better match for an existing business. Beyond traditional approaches to raising capital, crowd funding has emerged as a major trend. Entrepreneurs raised an estimated 10 billion dollars in investments through crowd funding last year.
Once you know who you will pitch to, you need to tailor your presentation for each investor. Start with a standard presentation on key components of your company and adapt it for each potential investor. When designing your presentation you want to be informative, concise, and engaging.
Take out the jargon.
Speak in clear and simple terms. When you have been working in, and are passionate about, a specific industry it can be hard to remember that your “common knowledge” may not be all that common. Try to avoid acronyms when possible or explain them clearly when they first appear in your presentation. Unless you know an investor’s background very well, don’t assume that their interest in your sector or business type means they know all the terminology.
Speak with passion.
Root your pitch, or crowd funding video, in the ethos that drove you to create your business in the first place. By the time you get on the road to pitch to investors, or in front of the camera to pitch to the crowd, you can be so caught up in the details and sales figures that it is easy to forget to connect with your audience. Your energy and connection with your audience is as essential as the information you are sharing.
If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
Remember, there is no substitution for being well prepared. If something does come up that you can’t address on the spot, jot down the question and the name of the person who asked, and offer to provide the information at a later time via phone or email. Going over your presentation in advance with a business coach can help you to identify any information gaps in advance and make sure that your presentation is clear, well delivered, and addresses the most common concerns of investors.
If you need help identifying an investment strategy or preparing your pitch, the business coaches at YES can help. YES is a Quebec non-profit organization, providing job search and entrepreneurship support in person at their centre in downtown Montreal, and online across Quebec. To learn more visit www.yesmontreal.ca.
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