Presenting can be very stressful and pitching to investors who have the means to make your business continue and prosper can be very unnerving. Presenting the key facts about your venture to get an Investor to write a large cheque is not easy. It is a skill that is developed over time, with repetition and learning from your mistakes. Please find below 10 tips on presenting.
It is NOT a corporate presentation. It is not a time to be clever. Time is limited and if you do not get the audience’s attention within the first three slides then forget it.
2 Get to the point
- What does your product do?
- What do you need regarding financing?
- Why might this be interesting to them?
Present the opportunity as well as the product. This should be instantly clear. The best pictures are those that the Investors know more about the company (and the opportunity) within five minutes than the entrepreneurs have told them. They take the clear facts presented to them and connect the dots with the thousands of other start-ups they have seen. You would be amazed how confusing presenters can sound when they are talking about their product does. It helps if you take the position .would a 16-year-old understand what my explanation was and remember use more picture than words.
3 Story Telling
Don’t tell a story – describe a journey and weave into it the vision but with reality stitched in about the strengths and weakness, the threats and opportunities and show you recognise where the risks will pinch. Tell it in a way that is natural to you not how you think they want to hear it – they will work that out. It is unlikely you will know about their experience, what they like and dislike, what they’ve invested in previously, and what their first three questions will be. You can try to anticipate the key questions but remember to cover:-
- The problem
- Your solution
- Your route to market and the validation of that route, g. early sales, and/or comments from early adopters
- Your competition and where you sit vis-a-vis them and your USP
- The financial predictions – sales/profit/growth/valuation/% of the company on offer
- What you want the money for
- Your team
- Exit strategy and examples of similar exits
And it’s always worth checking any related posts made by others that might be out there on the internet as the investors will and saves any last minute surprises or embarrassment if they are not very positive.
4 Stay on course – don’t wander off
Show both your passion but also your understanding of how you will deliver the plan don’t tell a long story with no clear actions and activities and by whom.
5 Be Prepared
Be confident, but careful and well-prepared. It is common for entrepreneurs to try to talk up the technology, the idea and avoid their (and their venture’s) shortcomings and stay in their comfort zone – investors will work that out quite quickly. On the other hand, it has been proven that investors like to see confident people when communicating about their business – it shows they have done the hard work and knew the detail….and will also probably know it when you talk to customers!
It is a peoples’ business, and they are fundamentally investing in the team, and due diligence can be limited. The principal reference, therefore, is you
Sometimes it’s useful to do some backup slides – ones with more detail about some of those key questions
In thinking about your venture’s future, where you hope to be in three years, deconstruct backwards. If you want to reach the optimal place in three years, what needs to happen along the way? And then make sure this is part of the story that you tell to the investors. They need to know that you have a path to profitability and/or liquidity. Remember to explain their exit in your pitch too.
7 Investors may persistent
This is not an adversarial meeting. You will be stressed, and they may appear aggressive, but this is about getting to the facts, and if you are not capable of communicating those facts well then the investors will ask his or her question again and again, and eventually, the stress and tempers will rise. Most investors do not try to make you look bad (normally); the just need to know if this is a story that warrants their financial investment.
8 Tell them about your expectations
Why are you standing in front of them pitching! If what you are trying to do is radical, stand up and be confident but keep your feet on the ground and let the investor dream about the big possibilities, not you.
9 Keep it simple
Keep it simple, especially your execution plans. The focus is the key, and complexity will cause red warning lights to go off all over the place. Multiple product areas, simultaneous channel launches, complicated ownership structures, tiered pricing twelve stage development plans and unclear team responsibilities all need to be removed from your presentation and business plan.
10 Answer the questions
When you get a question from the audience, listen! Listen and make sure you have understood the question, and then respond clearly, factually and honestly to the question being asked, not to the question that you want to be asked. “I do not know, and I will get back to you on that,” is fine for some questions, but not the key ones.
- Get into a verbal fight with an investor, the investor always win.
- Make sure your demonstration of the products works.
- Never arrive late. Get there an hour before and prepare.
- You may get more than one shot at it; some do reasonably well – the first time and get better as they go on – a few will do a great job, try to be one of the few.
- Your objective – is to sell the sizzle and done enough for an investor to want to meet up with you again!
- If you are seeking to build a lifestyle business, this is not the route for you, and if you are a family business, you will need to convince the Angels you a not this.