Pitching your venture idea to potential investors can be one of the most stressful parts of attempting to build your business. There are several opinions out there in the business world on how to nail an investor pitch, and many focus on the same ideas: sound financials, a solid business plan, as well as a memorable and informative pitch deck.
Gaining funding for your business can be the culmination of years of dreaming and work. By focusing on how to nail your pitch meeting, that dream can become a reality for your venture.
It starts with a great idea
Hedge fund investors and venture capitalists hear thousands of ideas, all from business owners with a passion for what they do and wholeheartedly believe that their idea should be worthy of funding. So, how do you get your idea to the top of the heap?
The first step should be a good, thorough business plan. “You don’t need a long business plan, but you will need some financial modeling to show how you’ll scale with the new investment,” says Jorge Olson, founder and CMO of two publicly traded companies — Hempacco and Green Global International.
Investors want to know that you have all your proverbial ducks in a row. They need to see that you have thought about the financial sustainability of your business idea and that you have a plan in place to see the idea come to fruition. Investors will also want a well-researched evaluation of your company.
In addition to a good amount of financial information, potential investors will want information on potential products or services, staffing plans, KPIs, and other data pertaining to the deal you are pitching. All this information is vital to investors and should be included in your pitch deck.
The importance of the pitch deck
Your pitch deck is the presentation you prepare for the investors and, according to Forbes, is one of the most important aspects of your pitch. The pitch deck should not only look nice, but it should also be informative and succinct. There is a myriad of great examples of effective pitch decks on the internet, but yours should be unique to your business and memorable above a sea of other startups vying for the attention of investors.
The slides within your pitch deck should focus on delivering key points about the business. You should tell the story of your company, especially if it is a unique tale. Furthermore, you want to let investors know that this idea will make money and how quickly that is bound to happen. Investors work in a fast-paced world, and they will want to know when they should receive a return on their investment.
It is imperative that your pitch deck is short, sweet, and to the point — this is not the time to create a long-winded magnum opus. The average investor spends just three minutes and forty-four seconds with any given pitch deck, so you’ll only have about the same amount of time as the length of your average pop song to hook an investor.
“I was able to secure funding for my two companies and send them both public using only a 10-slide pitch deck,” Olson says. “All the main points I knew investors were looking for were included, which left more time afterward for questions and negotiation.”
Think outside the box
Because there are so many startups on the prowl for investors, it often takes more than simply an incredible pitch deck to garner attention. Olson knows the hurdles of getting eyes on one’s venture well, having started one business amid the pandemic. When he found himself unable to get face-to-face meetings with potential investors, Olson took the internet.
“For us, we started online video marketing, and I recorded daily videos of manufacturing and product development. My main platforms were YouTube and LinkedIn — I used YouTube because of the Google keywords and ranking, and LinkedIn because C-level decision makers are active on LinkedIn,” he told Medium. The gamble paid off, with investors from all over the United States wanting to meet with the “crazy video guys” who were creating quirky content about their business idea.
In such a cutthroat world, it takes creative forethought to stand out and get attention. You want to tell your story in an honest, but interesting way. You want investors to remember you long after you’ve left the boardroom or they’ve clicked away from your video.
Setting out to find capital for your startup can be an overwhelming task. Your business idea is something you’ve likely poured weeks, months, or even years into cultivating and refining. But now, it’s time for that idea to shine and be noticed. Nailing a pitch comes with practice — and a lot of grace with yourself if things don’t work out in your favor.
Most successful entrepreneurs are built to withstand the hard road of scaling a startup. With solid, well-compiled data, a great pitch deck, and creativity, your business can catch the attention of just the right investors.
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