One of the hardest presentations to make is the entrepreneurial pitch. You have a great idea for a business, and you want someone to give you money to make it happen. The problem is getting over the predisposition against you by venture capitalists, angel investors, and even rich uncles. Why? Because 99% of the pitches they hear sound like sure-fire prescriptions to lose money!
If you are pitching investors to give you money for a new venture, you should subscribe to the following rules:
- Explain within 30 seconds precisely what your business is. Many entrepreneurs waste valuable time giving loads of data, background and other info—all the while investors are left scratching their heads thinking “What does this business DO?”
- Tell your audience who your customers will be. Paint a vivid, specific picture of these people.
- Explain why your customers are going to give you their hard-earned money.
- Explain who your competitors are. (And if you say you have no competitors, that is a sure sign you are unsophisticated and deserve no investment money!)
- Explain why you are the ONE to make this happen.
- Give your presentation with confidence and enthusiasm. Investors want a founder/CEO to be a chief salesperson; they want to see that you can convince the world of your dream—not just them.
- Hitch a ride to the moon, and you may land among the stars. Has Best Buy or Radio Shack agreed to distribute your new product? Investors feel much more comfortable knowing you have an established player willing to spread your wares.
- Ask for a specific amount of money. If all you do is ask for money, then you can’t complain if an investor gives you $3.25 for a cup of Starbucks coffee.
- Be specific when you tell prospects what you are going to spend the money on (hint: a trip to Maui for you and your friends will not impress)
- Dress well, act confident, and put on the air that you don’t need their money, but would be willing to accept it if they bring enough to the table to be a strategic partner for you. Sad but true regarding human nature, but people are much more likely to give you money if they feel you don’t need it.
Finally, make each pitch performance serve as a focus group for your next presentation. When one group of investors asks you a series of questions after you pitch, write down all those questions and make sure most of them are answered in your next pitch so that the next group doesn’t have to ask them. Keep pitching and keep improving your presentation and eventually, you may get funded.