Small Business Capital – The Four Steps to Successful Pitching
If you’re somewhat intimidated by the idea of pitching your new business idea in the hope of securing investment capital…well, let’s just say you’re far from in the minority. Armed with a killer business idea and the drive to bring it to life, the only piece of the puzzle missing is the cash required to make it happen. It’s money you don’t have, which means you need to convince someone else to hand it over – no easy job at the best of times.
Nevertheless, success will often be determined as much by the pitch itself as the viability and appeal of the business idea. So rather than jumping in blindly at the deep end, bear the following expert tips in mind along the way and you could do your chances of success a big favour:
1) Find the Right Investor
If you thought any investor willing to provide you with the capital needed is the right investor for your business, you were wrong. Cash is one thing, but what if they have no relevant experience? Or aren’t really up to speed in your chosen area? Or have no business contacts of any real use to you? Or intend to just sit back silently and offer no further support or advice along the way? Capital is important, but not as important as having the support and backing of an investor with the same passion, drive and long-term interests as you.
2) Get Your Deck in Order
When time comes to lay your cards out on the table, you will have very limited time in which to convince them you’re the real deal. Visuals and charts can be great at getting plenty if information across in a short period of time – ideally suited to this part of the process. In a handful of minutes at the very most, you’ll need to clarify the problem you’ve pinpointed, how you plan to solve it, who you are solving it for, the value of solving it and why it’s a good idea in general. It’s like presenting a condensed business plan and set of financial projections with no time at all to play with while at the same time having questions fired out at you pretty relentlessly. Suffice to say, preparation is key.
3) Sell the Plus Points and Your Passion
There are two things the investor needs to believe in – the idea that they will benefit from the deal and you. Highlighting the plus points for the prospective investor is of critical importance, but so too is getting across the fact that your passion, drive, determination and personality are all genuine. Chemistry can be a real deal-breaker, so it’s important to inject character and personality into every element f the pitch. They may like your idea and believe it has legs – if they take a distaste to you, however, you’ve no chance.
4) Follow Up After Your Pitch
Lastly, don’t be afraid to follow up each pitch you make as soon as realistically possible after the actual meeting itself. This is a great opportunity to enrich and enhance certain areas of your pitch, while at the same time reinforce your passion and commitment to the idea you’re seeking help with. Even if your pitch was unsuccessful, it’s still important to follow it up. They might change their minds, and even if they don’t, the feedback and guidance they can offer you is absolutely priceless. If you ensure that every single pitch you make is slightly more refined and effective than the last, you are more or less guaranteed to succeed, sooner or later.