Women In Business

How to craft the perfect pitch for investment

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Sooner or later you will find yourself having to pitch, and while this is always a high-pressure prospect, probably the worst is having to pitch to potential investors. So much could be riding on it, so how do you create the perfect pitch for investment…

Telling your story

Pitching for investment is a right of passage for almost every business owner. Whether it is to the bank or, in more recent years, sources of alternative finance like Angles or VCs. Yet, despite the changing nature of the funding landscape, one element that remains as relevant now as it ever was is the ability to capture the attention of your audience.

Telling your story is key because there is no one size fits all model for investment. Youll need to be clear with what you want and, similarly, have a clear ideas about what prospective investors can offer you and why you need them. When pitching for investment, there are many things to consider and there are many resources to help guide you on this, but in this piece, were going to look specifically at how you can bring your pitch to life. Namely, captivating the audience (the people with the money).

The key parts

The hallmark of any good story is an interested audience. Never jump into technical or financial details at the beginning the idea is to immediately engage your audience so they understand what you are talking about. If you can make investors understand why your business exists and what it is there to do, you are on the right track.

The audience also needs to be able to follow what is happening. Keep your pitch clear, concise and factual. Investors want to hear business ideas that excite them and they cant do that if they don’t clearly follow what you are saying. Theyre looking for the next big thingand dont want to listen to pitches that are all hot air with no real substance.

Towards the end, the audience should be hanging on your every word. But don’t ruin it with an unrealistic finish not in keeping with the rest of your pitch. When it comes to asking for the investment you want, keep it realistic and remember that your business doesnt need to go global overnight

What not to do

Like any story, your audience needs to be able to follow the plot. So never baffle them with numbers. Throwing in a few important figures into your pitch is sensible, as it shows you know what youre talking about. However, dont bamboozle investors with number after number.

Dont make overblown statements that you cant back up with evidence. Avoid bragging or sweeping generalisations. Keep your pitch continually fine-tuned towards the real picture, and if in doubt, remember that less is often more.

Make sure you convince them of your credentials. Its important to demonstrate that your understand the industry you’re going to and have necessary background and sufficient expertise within your team. Investors need to feel confident that they’ll get return on their investment.

They get pitched all the time. So, your story must be able to stand out. Never use buzzwords unless your investors are very familiar with your industry. Explain it in laymans terms. Your value proposition should be short, memorable, and easy for the investors to share with others.

Takeaways

Practice makes perfect. Make sure that this pitch is the performance of your life.  Get your story straight and clear and polish it by practicing it frequently before the big day. Ask friends and family to watch it and provide honest feedback. Prove market readiness and interest. Theyll need more than just your word that your businesses is worth investing in. Finally, do whatever you can to ensure that your presentation captures, and keeps the attention, of your audience.

About Arina Osiannaya

Arina Osiannaya is Director of the Business Funding Show - UK's first ever and only exhibition exclusively focused on SME Funding and Growth Support; to be held in London on the 2nd & 3rd of February 2016 at the iconic Old Billingsgate. The Show brings together businesses looking to scale and leading market-players (i.e. Paypal, NatWest, IPO, Experian and others) spread across three exhibiting zones: Lending, Investment and Growth Further expertise will be provided by celebrated entrepreneurs like Richard Reed (Innocent), Charlie Mullins (Pimlico Plumbers), Lord Bilimoria (Cobra Beer), Bill Morrow (Angels Den), just to name a few.

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