You’ve assembled your dream team, have a solid business plan, and are ready to take your business to the next level. But first, you’ll need to convince potential investors that your business is worth their time and money. Now, this is where the pitch meeting comes in.
According to Forbes, “nine out of 10 startups fail.” Ouch. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Running an effective pitch meeting is critical to the success of your startup. Also known as a “demo day” or ” investor presentation,” a pitch meeting is an opportunity for you to present your business idea to potential investors in the hopes of securing funding.
However, not all pitch meetings are created equal. An effective pitch meeting is a well-oiled machine, with each component working together to create a cohesive and convincing presentation. In this guide, we’ll show you how to run an effective pitch meeting that is sure to impress potential investors.
1. Do your homework
Investors always receive pitches, so you must ensure that yours is original and tailored to their specific interests. It means doing your homework on the investor beforehand. Find out what kinds of companies they typically invest in and what their investment priorities are. It will give you a good idea of what to highlight in your pitch. You should also be familiar with the investor’s background and track record. It will help you gauge their level of interest and expertise.
Once you’ve researched, you should understand what the investor is looking for. It will help you determine what to include (and what to leave out) in your pitch. Meanwhile, you can use an office space to practice your presentation or coordinate and collaborate with your teammates.
2. Keep it short and sweet
Your pitch should be no more than 10 minutes long. It may seem like a short time, but remember that you’re not presenting your entire business plan. Instead, you’re simply giving the investor a taste of what your business is all about. It’s important to be clear and concise in your presentation. Don’t try to cram too much information into your pitch. Instead, focus on the key points you want the investor to remember.
3. Tell a story
People are naturally drawn to stories, so make sure to weave one into your presentation. A good story will help the investor connect with your business on an emotional level and remember your pitch long after the meeting is over.
Your story doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Simply start with what inspired you to start your business and end with where you see it going in the future. Along the way, be sure to highlight any challenges and successes that you’ve experienced.
4. Make it visual
Investors are bombarded with information daily, so making your pitch visually appealing is important. It doesn’t mean you need to have a slide deck with fancy graphics (although it certainly doesn’t hurt). Even something as simple as bullet points and charts can make a big difference. Also, practice your delivery, so you come across as confident and polished. And don’t forget to dress the part!
5. Practice, practice, practice
You only have one chance to make a good impression, so you must ensure that your pitch is polished and professional. It means practicing your presentation until you have it down pat.
You can practice by yourself or with a group of friends. If you’re feeling nervous, you can hire a professional coach to help you prepare. Interestingly, even the best pitchers still get butterflies before a big meeting. The key is not letting your nerves get the best of you and focusing on delivering your pitch confidently.
6. Be prepared for questions
After your presentation, the investor will likely have some questions for you. It is your opportunity to sell your business further and demonstrate your industry knowledge. Be sure to take some time to prepare for questions in advance. This way, you’ll be able to answer them confidently and without hesitation. However, don’t try to memorize your answers. Instead, focus on understanding the investor’s concerns and how you can address them.
7. Follow up
The pitch meeting is just the beginning of your relationship with the investor. To secure their investment, you need to continue to nurture the relationship. Be sure to send a thank-you note after the meeting and keep the investor updated on your progress. If you have any new developments or milestones, let them know. More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. And if the investor ultimately decides not to invest, don’t take it personally. Just use it as an opportunity to learn and improve for your next meeting.
8. Have realistic expectations
It’s important to have realistic expectations when pitching your business to investors. Remember that not every meeting will result in an investment, and that’s okay. The key is to keep trying and to learn from your mistakes. Each meeting will bring you one step closer to achieving your goals. Also, don’t be discouraged if an investor passes on your business. It’s not personal. They might not be a good fit for your company.
9. Be persistent
The path to success is often long and winding. There will be times when it feels like you’re never going to achieve your goals. But if you’re persistent, you will eventually find the success you’re looking for. So don’t give up, even if the going gets tough. With a little hard work and determination, you will reach your goals. The reason for this is that success seldom comes easy. You have to work for it, and that’s exactly what you should do.
10. Have fun
Running a business can be a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun. So make sure to enjoy the ride. After all, if you’re not having fun, what’s the point? Remember, this is your business, and you should do something you love.
The Bottom Line
Pitching your business to investors can be daunting, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to success. Just remember to be clear, concise, and confident in your presentation. And most importantly, have fun! Yet, simultaneously, be prepared for questions, follow up after the meeting, and have realistic expectations.