I’ve seen many entrepreneurs’ crash when delivering their investor pitch—and ramble on and on. There’s nothing more frustrating for investors when told, “I only need 10 minutes of your time,” and then 20 minutes later you’re still on slide #5.
Additionally, investors will want you to be able to back-up your claims. Have a well thought out business plan on-hand to share, so investors can read more if they’d like to. The intention, after all, is that you deliver a powerful pitch, and that their hands are out with their business cards asking for your complete presentation and a one-on-one meeting asap.
These are the most important things to keep in mind when you prepare your pitch:
1. Tell a Story
Begin your pitch with a compelling story. This will engage your audience as soon as you start talking. And if you can relate your story to your audience, even better! Your story should address the problem you’re solving in the marketplace.
2. Your Solution
Share what’s unique about your product and how it will solve the issue you shared in the previous slide. Keep it short, concise, and easy for the investor to explain to others.
3. Your Successes
Early in the presentation you want to build some credibility. Take some time to share the relevant traction you’ve had. This is your opportunity to impress the investors with what you and your team have accomplished to date (sales, contracts, key hires, product launches, etc.).
4. Your Target Market
Be realistic about who you’re building your product for, it will help you think more strategically about your roll-out plan.
5. Customer Acquisition
This is usually one of the most skipped sections of an investor pitch and a full business plan. How will you reach your customers? How much will it cost? How will you measure success? Your financials should easily allow you to calculate your customer acquisition costs.
6. Your Competition
Again, a VERY important part of your pitch, and many people omit this section or don’t provide enough detail about why they’re so different from their competitors.
7. Your Revenue Model
Investors tend to care about this slide the most. How will you make money? Be very specific about your products and pricing and emphasize again how your market is anxiously awaiting your arrival.
8. Your Financial Projections
Show what you’re projecting in revenue (per product) over the next three to five years. You MUST back-up your numbers by sharing your assumptions. You’ll see investors taking out their smartphone calculators to make sure your numbers make sense, so give them the information they need to see that your calculations are accurate
9. Your Team
Investors invest in people first and ideas second, so be sure to share details about your rock star team and why they are the right people to lead this company. Also be sure to share what skill-sets you may be missing on your team. Most start-up teams are missing some key talent – be it marketing, management expertise, programmers, sales, operations, financial management, etc. Let them know that you know what you don’t know!
10. Your Funding Needs
Clearly spell-out how much money has already been invested in your company, by whom, ownership percentages, and how much more you need to go to the next level (and be clear about what level that is). Will you need to raise multiple rounds of financing? Is the investment you’re seeking a convertible note, equity round, etc.? Remind the audience why your management team is capable of managing their investment for growth.
11. Your Exit Strategy
If you’re seeking large sums of investment capital (over $1M), most investors will want to know what your exit strategy is. Are you planning on getting acquired, going public, or something else? Show you’ve done some due diligence on this exit strategy, including the companies you’re targeting, and why it would make sense 3, 5, or 10 years down the road.
One VERY important aspect to pitching your business—HAVE FUN!
Vanessa Abi-Rached – The Little Red Book of IR