Guest post by Innovate UK
When funding is the only thing standing in the way of bringing your business dreams to life, your pitch really is the be all and end all. The success or otherwise of your pitch will determine whether or not your vision stands any real chance of becoming a reality – quite the pressure-cooker scenario, to say the least!
On the plus side, there are certain important rules which if followed to the letter can increase your chances of success immensely. So prior to even thinking about going ahead with a pitch, take heed of the follow four golden rules and modify your approach accordingly:
Rule 1 – Target the Right Investors
First of all, don’t bother wasting any time or effort on investors that aren’t right for you. Instead, focus your efforts on those that bring to the table far more than a handful of cash alone. Capital is one thing, but it’s not nearly as valuable as the involvement of a dedicated, experienced, passionate and well-connected investor. You are essentially looking for a critically important business partner or stakeholder – one that should be just as interested and enthused about the business as you are. Try to remember that in this instance, cash really isn’t everything – it’s only one piece of a much larger puzzle.
Rule 2 – Plan Your Deck Wisely
With only a few minutes or so to play with, you need to have your deck very much in order before getting started. Getting across the entirety of your vision, your business plan and your long-term projections in the shortest of allotted times really isn’t an easy job. The gap in the market, the way you intend to fill it, how your business solves a problem, your target audience, the competition and so on – all points that need to be covered comprehensively and quickly. Feel free to use as many visual aids, charts and images as necessary, while at the same time being ready to answer a world of questions. Long story short, the whole thing will be dissected and scrutinised, so be prepared!
Rule 3 – Sell Your Personality and the ROI
Never forget that investors are primarily or exclusively interested in what they will get out of the deal. Which is why you should be focusing primarily on the kind of ROI and upside they can expect, both short and long-term. Investors respond to big returns, minimised risks, stability, uniqueness, market demand, research and so on. In addition, they also respond to chemistry and personality. If they simply do not like you, no business idea in the world will convince them. If they really click with you, a business idea that’s almost there but still slightly in need of work might win them over.
Rule 4 – Mandatory Follow Ups
Last but not least, you simply MUST follow up each and every pitch you present – regardless of how you believe it to have gone. If they were impressed, a strong follow up could seal the deal. If they weren’t interested, this is your opportunity to obtain critically useful feedback and advice for next time. You can also use follow ups to communicate any updates, new information or important clarifications. It’s always possible that the follow up alone could be what tips the balance in your favour – something that happens with surprising frequency.
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