Pitching Your Business Idea to Investors

One of the most exasperating meetings a business owner will have in his professional career is when they have to pitch a business plan to potential lenders. Standing by yourself, in front of a team of suited-up, fast-paced professionals that could very well smash you with their wallet, can be a bit disheartening. Although, with an effectively pitch decks, you’ll be at a world of ease by increasing the chance that you’ll get the panel to fork over the money — at least as opposed to not having a well-versed plan or nothing at all.

Include charts and graphs

It’s important to have many efficient professional and informational data displays, such as tables, charts, or graphics, to present to investors. Lenders are usually extremely pre-occupied, so anything with information that can be absorbed quickly as opposed to reading a few paragraphs is very helpful. To put in perspective of how much you should hone your business plan in general, you should already have a series of data displays in your financial and industry analysis sections. If you still haven’t compiled a business plan, a business plan consulting company can assist you in developing visually appealing visuals that are based on actual professional research.

Practice

If you’re a person that’s not used to speaking publicly on any scale, you should try recording yourself with some type of video recording device. Though you might not be completely comfortable doing this, it gives you a chance to analyze, not just your speech, but your body language as well. “The reality is that people do judge a book by its cover,” explains Barbara Corcoran, real estate aficionado and known investor on Shark Tank, “A certain level of nervousness is expected but if you constantly shift on your feet this sends a signal that you aren’t trustworthy, maybe you are hiding something.” To better amplify the process, you should try speaking front of family or friends who can symbolize your prospective lenders. This may not accurately reflect the tension of speaking in front of a high-profile group of investors, but speaking in front of any body of people can certainly warm you up to the idea. We suggest further that you have them ask questions or even interrupt your speech, while staying in character and giving you advice on your technique.

 

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Engage

Simply reading slides out loud, especially monotone, for three-quarters of an hour or more is sure to send your audience snoozing. It’s very important for you to be actively engaged and ask the panel of lenders several questions while you present. Additionally, it’s also necessary show to promote effective body language, be into your presentation, and give a sample of your product or service if it’s an option.

Present facts

Investors love to hear exquisitely-researched presentations. Go into any business presentation with the notion that you will back up all your facts, regardless of size or shape. So, you think that your idea for a health food restaurant will work very well in your target area? Prove it. Well-prepared and well-researched business pitches tend to stamp out investor doubts before they have the chance to refute them. Data that you use to develop your business plan should be information you also present to your panel of financial lenders. For example, investors might discover that only 4% of restaurants in the area use healthy dining as a selling point, while there are 60% of residents that own a gym membership or regularly enjoy sports. By researching and including this kind of data with the panel of lenders, you can display confidence in your idea.

Lenders will be prepared for your pitch, so should you

Make sure to expect an onslaught of questions. Don’t let yourself get shaken up if things the board brings up seem negative. You’re there to prove why you deserve the funding and they are there to make sure you deserve it as well. Asking things that counteract your confidence, such as why customers wouldn’t go to a cheaper revenue nearby, how other similar businesses have failed in less than a year before, or why customers would even be willing to pay your prices for that service.

 

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Investors want to see how well you do your research and how realistic the outlook of your business is, but they also want to see how well you think on your feet. Thinking on your feet factors in to your ability, as a business owner, to take the right kinds of risks. If you can’t muster an appropriate answer or if you take their questions as personal attacks, chances are that they’ll take their money to the next start-up business. Referencing back to the point about effectively interpreting your research, if you share accurate data that counteracts the negative comments in a polite, yet confident, manner, you’ll earn some serious brownie points with your listeners.

Be prepared to deliver a solid-structured business pitch if you’re looking for any kind of financial backing. These lenders don’t have time to waste and expect you to bring a certain level of professional thoroughness when they spend time analyzing your business strategy and pitch. You must be capable of answering questions quickly and directly by using well-researched facts as it involves your listeners. With enough time to prepare yourself, you are sure to be more confident and tackle your next business pitch.

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About the author

Matthew Khalili – MBA Business Consultant

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