#1 Get To Know Your Investor Ahead of Time
You walk into the boardroom, introduce yourself, and start setting up. *Buzzer sound* Stop.
If that’s where you’re starting, you’re already missing several steps. Pitching begins way before the actual presentation, and we probably already have an impression of you and your business before you’ve clicked ‘Present’ on your laptop.
Ideally, you should have a friendly relationship with your investor before the pitch meeting.
Take every opportunity to connect, whether it’s over coffee or a casual lunch. Get a good sense of who they are, the verticals or ideas they are interested in, what they’ve done for their portfolio and why they’re in the firm. Do your due diligence and check if they can make investments in your stage and sector.
This is also an excellent opportunity to assess the chemistry between you and your investor. The term ‘chemistry’ might be an oversimplification, but essentially both sides are looking to envision a future relationship where both parties enjoy working with each other.
You don’t want to arrive at the pitch meeting and find that communication styles, values and expectations are misaligned.
#2 Articulate The Problem and Your Solution – and Back It Up
Have the following information ready in a 15-20 page deck:
- The problem and why it’s ripe for solving
- The solution
- Your product and any product demos
- Target audience
- Business model
- Your financials
- Your team and credentials
What are the key metrics in your industry? Whether it is unit economics, cost retention, renewal rate, referral rate, or LTV – come prepared to prove your point. This will demonstrate to investors that you understand your priorities, you know how to allocate resources to achieve those KPIs, and what’s needed to reach those goals in the future.
#3 Share Your Journey
Share with investors your journey as a founder and the successes or setbacks you’ve encountered. What were some milestones or challenges that defined or changed the course of your company?
You might think it’s too personal or inconsequential, but sharing this has benefits. It adds colour to you as a founder and shapes an investor’s impression of your character. It also communicates passion and drive – which is much-needed when you need to get a startup off the ground!
#4 Sell Your Team
Because you’re not just a founder, you’re also a leader.
Devote a slide and some time in your pitch to talk about the executive team in your company. What credentials do they have? What skills do they bring? How does each person’s experience strengthen the breadth and depth of talent in your business? Did you make a strategic key hire to take the company further? Talk about that to demonstrate how you conduct long-term planning for your business.
#5 Prepare For Q&A
Lastly, always come prepared for a Q&A. Investors will always have questions, and knowing how to address them will demonstrate credibility and confidence in your business. No one feels safe with a stuttering, nervous presenter!
Step into their shoes and anticipate their concerns. Were there some slides where details are a bit vague? Prepare information on that. Investors might have questions on risks (every business has them), and so you should be ready to field questions on how you plan to mitigate them.
With some good preparation in place, you can go into your pitches with confidence. Keep positive, believe in yourself, and go for it!