The entrepreneurial pitch is one of the most difficult presentations to give. If you are a business owner with a great idea, you probably want someone to provide you with funds; however, going to venture capitalists, angel investors, and even rich uncles is unlikely. How come? Due to the fact that 95% of pitches they hear sound like a prescription to lose money!
In order to pitch investors for funding, you must adhere to the following rules:
- Within the first thirty seconds, describe your business in detail. It is common for entrepreneurs to spend too much time providing data, background information, etc. while investors are left scratching their heads wondering, “What does this business do?”
- Describe who your customers will be. Describe them in vivid detail.
- Let your customers know why they should hand over their hard-earned dollars to you.
- Indicate who your competitors are. (And if you say you don’t have any competitors, then you are unsophisticated and shouldn’t be given investment money!)
- Let me know why you are the ONE who can make this happen.
- Don’t be afraid to speak confidently and enthusiastically in your Entrepreneurial Pitch. Founders/CEOs need to be chief salespeople; investors need to see that they can convince the world of their dream, not just themselves.
- You will be able to hitch a ride to this star. Are you discussing distribution with a reputable firm? Having an established distribution partner makes investors feel more comfortable.
- Decide how much you will ask for. As long as you don’t do anything but ask for money, it doesn’t make any sense to complain if you get $3.25 for a cup of coffee.
- Describe how the money will be spent (hint: a trip to Maui for you and your friends won’t impress).
- Don’t try to beg for money in your Entrepreneurial Pitch, but act as if you would be willing to accept it if they would bring enough to the table to be a strategic partner. Dress well, act confident, and portray the sense of not really needing their money. Unfortunately, human nature dictates that people are more likely to give you money if they don’t feel that you need it.
Last but not least, let each Entrepreneurial Pitch presentation serve as an input for the next one. You should write down all of the questions you are asked by an investor group and make sure most of them are answered in your next pitch so the next group does not have to ask the same questions. Be consistent with your pitches and you may be able to get funded.
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