How to pitch to investors
Delivering the perfect pitch to investors can feel more like an art than anything else. The most important thing to know is that you should not be in this alone. There are people you can reach out to in order to gain the skills and tricks that help you deliver a message effectively. They will also help you highlight the key things to focus on when you first start out pitching your business idea.
Before you begin writing down a single word, here are the key ideas potential investors want to know about in an initial pitch:
- Is there a market for your service or product?
- What is your business model?
- What expected returns will they see on their investment?
Using these three key elements, you are now empowered to shape your pitch effectively and to suit your personality. With that in mind, here are some considerations to keep in mind for crafting and executing the perfect business pitch for investors.
Build different types of pitches
Does your investor have ten minutes to spare or two? If you have grabbed their attention with an elevator pitch and they want to sit down to explore your business further, you still have to present them with a pitch, but one that is much more detailed.
Your two-minute pitch must act in a similar way to how effective website content appears on a homepage. Contrasting with ‘branding’, homepage copy tells a visitor exactly what that business/website does and suggests the next step for that visitor. There can be no confusion and the process of comprehension for that visitor must be as seamless a user experience as the first iPod was. In a similar way, your elevator pitch must immediately explain the core of your business and do so in a way that invites the listener to learn more.
This may be in communicating the core of the business but hinting at the potential for the business to grow into different areas. If the listener is left wondering what other areas for growth you have in mind, they will listen to your longer pitch.
Plan and practice different pitch types – elevator pitches, 10-minute pitches and those that are a comprehensive run-through of your business plan for when you almost have your investor over the line and they want to know absolutely everything.
Work with a writer
Hunt out any copywriters you know to go over your entire messaging. The key benefit you want to get out of collaborating with a writer on your pitch is the development of a clear narrative for your pitch. This applies just as much for your elevator pitch as it does your ten-minute pitch, if not more so. People relate to narratives much more strongly to a breakdown of the facts or any other form of communication. A writer will be able to help turn your pitch into one that follows a narrative line and draws listeners in so that they feel both a part of the story and already invested intellectually with your business.
Learn how to be enthusiastic, not ecstatic
Business owners and entrepreneurs are often told to make sure they are enthusiastic throughout their pitches. Unfortunately, business people and innovators rarely make good actors, and can often over-sell their pitch, looking uncomfortably ecstatic rather than enthusiastic.
Practice how you will convey enthusiasm for your business idea. Consider working with a voice coach for one or two consulting sessions to give you tips on breathing and how to convey the right sort of energy during a pitch.
Just as an investor is trying to find out whether your business is the right fit for them, you need to know that they are the right kind of investor for your business.
Once you have moved beyond the elevator pitch and delivered a longer pitch of your business, it may be time to find out whether your listener is the sort of person who can back your business beyond monetarily, but be a champion for it at the same time. Do they have previous experience in your industry? If they have made the majority of their money on traditional forms of marketing, for instance, is this going to support your business model or will they struggle to understand your approach and potentially hinder your chances for success?
Don’t be afraid to find these things out about your investor. They will appreciate the attention you give towards their own interests and background. Even if they turn out to not be the right kind of investor, this attention may result in them helping you find other investors rather than simply saying no and leaving it there.