As well all know, first impressions really do count, especially when it comes to business so if you’ve got a meeting with a potential investor in the pipeline, you need to know how to make an immediate impact. Nerves, lack of practice and gaps in your knowledge are all issues that could stand in the way of securing the support of an important investor, so we’ve put together some expert tips on how to prepare for a winning pitch.
Over the next few years, the economic business landscape in Britain is expected to be largely supported by the modern phenomenon known as alternative funding. At one point, chasing funding meant a trip to the bank in the hope of securing a loan but with the rise of concepts like crowdfunding, traditional forms of lending are becoming redundant. This means that the types of pitches businesses are delivering and the kinds of people offering investment are becoming more varied, so it’s more crucial than ever to be well-versed in communicating your business ideas, plans and numbers.
Practice makes perfect
The biggest tip we can give you is to not only pay attention to the advice we are about to give you but also to invest a sufficient amount of time into the preparation process. As the saying goes, practice really does make perfect so it’s vital that you dedicate a fair few hours to going through your pitch with a fine tooth comb and rehearsing religiously. Doing this type of preparation and practicing until you’re blue in the face will help to calm any nerves and ensure that you know and understand all aspects of the pitch you are about to deliver. If you aren’t confident in yourself then how would you expect anybody else to be?
Make putting together the solid foundations of a general presentation high on the list of your agenda and then it will always be there to edit and tailor whenever it’s time to meet with a new investor. It’s also a great idea to come up with a script for your presentation that you can learn beforehand to avoid becoming tongue-tied or going off on a tangent. Include some answers to likely questions so you aren’t caught off-guard when the investors go about their inevitable inquisition. Be careful not to sound too robotic though, you still want the script to be natural and relaxed.
Do your research
There are two types of research that you need to dedicate some time to when preparing for your pitch and they are general market research and specific background research into the investors themselves. Anybody looking to have some involvement in your business is going to need to know that you have secure knowledge about your market, great awareness of your target demographic and a close eye on your competition. As a business owner, this is likely something that you’re doing on a regularly basis anywhere but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give it an extra push in preparation for your pitch.
While market research demonstrates entrepreneurial competency, background knowledge about the investors shows dedication, eagerness and initiative, which are all qualities that they will be looking for in a business owner. This type of preparation will not only impress your audience and connect with them on a human level, it will also enable you to feel more confident when delivering your pitch and during the subsequent discussions.
Showing interest in who they are, what they do and the types of businesses they are involved with shows an interest that goes beyond their financial potential. Just be wary of how you bring this knowledge into conversation, you don’t want to go full throttle by reeling off every single fact you there is to know about them.
Keep it natural and subtle or you’re more likely to secure a restraining order than investment in your business.
Check in with your accountant
Another thing we would highly recommend you add to your to-do list in the preparation process is scheduling in an appointment with your trusty accountant. As well as gathering some relevant information about the investors and knowing your market inside out, you also need to become thoroughly acquainted with your financial accounts and ‘the numbers’.
Investors are going to want to know every last detail about your previous financial performances as well as your future predictions and forecasts so it’s paramount that you know these in intimate detail. Checking in with your accountant will ensure that you’re accounts are up to date and that you have a sound knowledge of all things monetary. Investors will want to see where your money comes from and where you plan to use it before they pump in any of their own cash so now’s your chance to get clued up.
Check out our freelancer accountant page for more information.
Do some forward-planning
Although you’re essentially reaching out to these investors because you need support in driving your business forward, one of the worst things you can do is go into a pitch with no plan of action. Standing in front of your audience and saying “this is where we are now and we need your help before we can step up a level” will almost definitely work against you and project a sense of panic that will set alarm bells ringing in the investors’ heads.
Showing some sign of forward plans such as budgeting, an updated business plan or potential marketing campaign ideas will demonstrate determination, commitment and motivation to make your business a success.
It will also create a subtle sense of urgency that will make the investors see that you really do have your head screwed on and this is a promising opportunity that they would benefit from being a part of.