Pitching investors is an important part of entrepreneurs’ lives. Although each startup story is different, there are some basics that each pitch deck, and the presentation of it, needs to include. It might be little challenging to put your business idea into just a few slides, so here are some do’s and don’ts – to guide you through the process.
- Do tell a story – Captivate the audience. Include an interesting personal story to get the attention of the investors or ask a question everyone is having. Your story should convey the value of what you do, why you do it, and why anyone should care. They will be curious to know more.
- Do know your audience – For a good pitching, explore your audience. To make the most of it, do some research on the investors that you are pitching to and adapt your strategy accordingly.
- Do keep it simple – Keep it short and concrete. Giving a lot of information may have an opposite effect and leave the audience confused and overwhelmed. Try to focus on the problem-solution relationship, competitive advantage and team.
- Do have data to back your claims – Whatever you say must be supported by numbers or data. Add testimonials, research data, surveys, statistics, anything you need to prove the viability of the product.
- Do show passion and competence – Passion is the driving force in entrepreneurs. As a CEO, you have to prove that you have the experience, industry knowledge, business skills, technical know-how, all that it takes, to turn the idea into a success story.
- Do brag about your team – Investors are investing in both the idea and the people behind it. Emphasize the strength of your team and present a well-balanced educational and professional mix.
- Do have a plan – Talk about your upcoming goals and when you plan to achieve them. Provide a timeframe with milestones and a clear vision of a world with your company. Also be prepared to answer how you’ll spend the funding you’re looking to raise.
- Have a big vision – Having a bold mission for where you want to take your startup is important, especially if you want to secure venture capital, and most first-time entrepreneurs think too small.
- Don’t waste time on the obvious issues – If the problem is clearly visible or understood, don’t waste time explaining it. Instead, address the need precisely, and then introduce the most important part of the pitch, the solution.
- Don’t ignore competitors – The more you know your market, the better. Presenting a clear differentiation in comparison to your competitors will help clearly communicate why your service, product or idea is superior.
- Don’t go into details – Avoid too many technical details or numbers that the listeners may find boring or non-related. Instead, be short and precise and link your data and statistics to the value your business idea delivers.
- Don’t oversell it – Presenting it like a game changer may be too early. The more realistic the pitch is, the higher the chance for success. Overselling the benefits of your product may leave an impression of a dreamlike product.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for money – Talk realistic figures that match your startup needs. Don’t ask for a really big number, unless you really need it. But also don’t ask for too little, as it could be interpreted as lack of knowledge about your business and market. In addition, raising to less could lead to the situation that you run out of money too quickly and have to enter fundraising soon again.
- Don’t ignore key risks – Identify the key risks your business will face. If you present a clear strategy how to handle the identified risks upfront, it leaves an impression that you are prepared for the challenges ahead.
- Don’t be afraid if you don’t have all the answers – An entrepreneurial journey is one long experience. It is only by living it that you will find some answers. As for the rest, you can always hire advisors.