Once you have created your business plan and your business plan, funding is required to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. It’s easy for you to feel anxious when your ability to raise funds is reduced to a 10-20 minute pitch to potential investors. This is a stressful moment and you must be your best.
How can you overcome your anxiety and impress potential investors?
Pitchusspoke to a few experts, including an ex-member of ABC’s Shark Tank, about how to Pitch Us potential investors.
Tell a story.
Experts agreed that it was important to be approachable and tell a story. Although facts and figures are important, it is also crucial to use these numbers to tell a story. Your passion for your business can be expressed by framing it as a story.
Michael Simonetta, CEO at Kibii said that investors should be motivated to work with you in order to buy into your business plan with confidence. Show them why you are working towards your goal and not just how. You’ll be more likely to win them over if you can explain why you are motivated to solve a problem.
Erin Beck is the CEO and founder of Wana family network. She believes storytelling sets her presentations apart. Beck created an online platform for family-to–family babysitting exchange and says that she speaks frequently with potential investors who aren’t parents. She creates an emotional connection with her audience by engaging in a The Pitch Deck Book that appeals to their lack of emotional attachment.
Beck said, “Make your story more important than the product you are selling.” Beck placed second at Glendale Tech Week 2017 Pitchfest.
Define the problem.
Your business idea might have you smitten. You’re excited about your business plan and have created a number of prototypes. Investors won’t share your enthusiasm if your product isn’t solving a problem or filling a customer need.
“Start with the problem,” stated Donna Griffit a corporate storyteller for startup companies. “Do you have a clear understanding of the current market need? Are you able to prove it?
These questions are crucial to be able to answer when you meet with investors. A thorough market research, customer surveys and interviews are all necessary to determine if your product is required. It’s hard to convince the public that your idea solves a problem if you don’t have the data. Investors may not be able to fund your project if this is the case.
Griffit stated, “I have seen startups attempt to cut corners on this and end-up with glazed over eyes in their audience.”
Do as many as possible.
There is no need to be timid in the weeks and days that lead up to your pitch to potential investors. Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who is interested to hear your pitch. Practice helps you relax and allows you to see where you can improve.
David Ciccarelli is the founder and CEO at Voices.com. You can now tell it hundreds of times more. I told the story 200 times during our capital raise. It may be old news for you but it is new to the investor. Keep it positive and share it with enthusiasm.
Do not hesitate to pitch multiple potential investors. Ciccarelli traveled with his team across the country to meet with investors in different cities. His group was able to practice their business ideas and it allowed them to reach more people.
Once you feel comfortable with your pitch, focus on the details.
Ciccarelli stated, “Use your privacy to go through your Forecastr and work on it flowing well.” Don’t be afraid of recording your pitch (both audio and video) and to review it with a critical ear to ensure you have nailed every sentence.
Proper body language and correcting mistakes in speech can make the difference between success and failure. Ciccarelli suggests planning your pauses when you are going over minor details. This will allow you to make even the most well-rehearsed speech sound natural.
He said, “Plan your dramatic pauses to make your pitch sound natural.” The pause gives the impression you are creating the material from scratch. You’ll also have time to gather your thoughts and prepare for the next part.
Although practicing your pitch is important, it’s not always possible to get everything just right. When you prepare, it is important to have realistic expectations. Erika Ashley is a social media marketing consultant. She says that it’s important practice to have a realistic experience with presenting.
Ashley stated that while we often hear the advice to “practice your pitch” as a common one, most investors will interrupt you during your presentation several times to clarify their understanding or offer their feedback. This can make a presenter lose their way in a presentation if they haven’t practiced their presentation with smooth, uninterrupted flow. It’s much easier to practice with interruptions than it is in real life.
It’s important to see the presentation from the perspective of the audience, in addition to anticipating disruptions. Brian Lim is a serial entrepreneur and owns three ecommerce businesses (EmazingLights.iHeartRaves.and INTO THE AM). He pitched his business on Shark Tank 2015. He was offered by all five judges and signed a deal with Daymond John and Mark Cuban. Lim attributes his success to proof-of-concept: Lim entered the show with $13million in sales and was able to see his business from a new perspective.