10 Tips For An effective Pitch
1. Introduce everyone in the room: Make sure that you are familiar with each investor’s bio, especially if it is easily-accessible on the web. Ask the investors and the people sitting in on the pitch to introduce themselves. It helps to establish who is the most important to make eye contact with and what style of pitch to focus on.
2. Don’t act like a visionary: Feel-good visionary statements in your overview slide are never taken well. Instead of giving a mission statement, give a precise and clear value proposition when pitching to investors.
3. Name drop: If possible, name drop brands and people that are involved with your company—customers, partners, and members of the team. The investor needs to know who is involved from the very beginning of the pitch. This increases your credibility quickly and early on. If you do decide to name drop, warn each of the people that an investor may be contacting them in the near future. And of course, don’t make up names.
4. Keep it short: If your pitch exceeds twenty minutes, your investors will get extremely fidgety and bored. In fact, it has been found that most VCs zone out after ten slides. Fifteen to twenty minutes is the perfect pitch length. Be sure to leave time for investor questions after and during the presentation.
5. Provide examples: Examples are one of the best ways to get your investors to listen. Provide concrete, impressive examples during your pitch. Include stats, graphs, and facts. Explain to investors how customers can actually use your product or service.
6. Make it flow: An awkward pitch is a death sentence to your potential company. Make sure that your presentation flows smoothly throughout. The audience’s body language and questions will tell you what direction the pitch is going within the first three minutes. Make sure you are in charge of the flow, not the audience.
7. Be realistic: Be realistic in terms of how long a business takes to get off the ground. Don’t be too optimistic when presenting a timeline, but also do not over exaggerate the time frame. In order to be realistic, compare your timeline to that of other businesses’.
8. Keep it simple, stupid: KISS, one of the main principles for all presentations. Provide content-rich bullets and simple words when presenting. Slides and pages with too much text is a total turn-off to investors.
9. Don’t lie: It’s as easy as that. Just don’t do it.
10. Your presentation should not stand alone: Finally, be sure that your presentation needs YOU in order to make it understandable. The point of a pitch is to explain to investors with your own words, not give them a document to read. If your investors want a document with all of the explanations, hand them your business plan, not your presentation outline.
Pitching to investors is a nerve-racking time for many entrepreneurs. But do it correctly, and use these 10 tips, and you will be well on your way to receiving funding!
Written by Allison Way. Allison is a writer for Think Big Partners, Kansas City’s mentorship-based business incubator and startup accelerator. To read more of Allison’s work, check out the Think Big Kansas City blog, the Kansas City Entrepreneurship Examiner and her articles on eZine and Helium. Follow Allison!
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