Pitching your idea and win over the business is incredibly hard-won. It is tough to get the knack of getting people to help you and also pitch in yourself.
As an entrepreneur you will never know when you have the opportunity to pitch your idea. It may be in front of the wealthy investors in the shark tank or a quick encounter with someone at a party or elevator. So you should always be up with a succinct pitch, all geared to convince your potential investors.
Whether a new startup or an established venture, all businesses arise over a stage where they need funds either to move forward with the business plan or make their venture grow. And a big part of the decision that investors make is based on the quality of your presentation and the people involved.
So here are few points about how to pitch your idea and make it off the ground.
Emphasize on your elevator speech
You need a short and crisp speech that will cover all the aspects about what you do. The motive of your elevator speech is to succinctly describe your idea and compel anyone who first meets you. The following three essentials should be well condensed in the speech:-
- What you do – Keep it concise and short. It could be as simple as “We are India’s first smart navigation helmet that helps…”
- What your product is– Again be short but describe well about the problem your product tends to solve for its target customer.
“80% of the presentations…you even don’t know what the problem is till 15 minutes into the presentation.”
– Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures
There are limits to the human attention span, you have to be concise, informative and yet interesting.
- What makes your product different– Tell about what makes your product unique and what differentiates it from its competitors- Why people should buy yours one over other competitors?
Turn your pitch into a rousing story
“People value you at the value you see in yourself.”- Clindy Gallop, Founder and CEO, Make Love Not Porn
Good stories flow like honey and can be absorbed on the first time of hearing. Thus, telling a story is a proven way to capture someone’s attention. Make yourself the hero of your story and tell the inspiration behind starting the project. It’s an awesome method to follow a narrative manner in your pitch to illustrate how your product works.
There’s no secret behind the success of storytelling and it never fails to contemplate even the most data driven investors. So tell your story well and inspire your investors to get you fund.
“Investors are pinched between two kinds of fears: Fear of investing in startups that fizzle, and Fear of missing out on startups that take off.”
– PUAL GRAHAM, FOUNDER Y COMBINATOR
Do research your investors
You should know about the audience you are pitching to. Knowing them well in advance and what they might be interested in will help you addressing them in an effective way.
You cannot go around tailoring a single pitch every time, so get improvisation to your pitch in accordance with the need and interest of the investors. Try to find out as much as you can find about your investors such as whom he/she has invested before or what they know about your industry?
Give realistic traction
Remember that the investors you are pitching to were once in your shoes and know all the tactics that need to get the funds for your ideas. What they are interested in is the profit that you can revert back to them. So do provide them a realistic data about what you have achieved till now and what you can offer them in future.
Be able to back it up with exact numbers, it helps in proving them your transparency and credibility. Don’t go like- ‘We are planning to hire more people to boost up the sales’, rather say how many.
Many advices to include market strategies early in the presentation deck so that you can directly nail the investors. Provide them the information regarding your current customers, growth strategy, return on investment etc. Make them believe in you that you can show progress towards your goal and the investor’s expectations.
Show a succession plan
Investors want to make profits in a short span of time. And what’s that span? You should have a clear plan as to where you want to see yourself after 5 to 7 years from now. Investors are very much interested in the exit strategy – you will go public? Or would go for franchise? Or it would be an acquisition?
Succession plan in your deck shows your passion towards your project and that you want to move ahead with it. Investors would be investing if they would see that you have future growth prospects and foreseeing them from now only.
Work on the revenue model
Be prepared for the question, “how your company will make me rich?”
The investors are interested in the return they will be getting by investing in your firm. So decide about a good revenue model and get it comprehended on your deck. Know the type of revenue model you would apprehend and how will you achieve it.
Prepare yourself not just the idea
Have a personality to kill and a dress to impress. The investors will invest in you first. So be thoughtful, fast and enthusiastic enough to turn the odds in your favor and to earn the trust of the investors in you!
As Sandy Koufax quotes, “Pitching is the art of instilling fear.” Getting funds is an inevitable at times one needs to stay afloat or to grow. Pitching an idea and get it funded is the inception of the change an entrepreneur have been working for so long. Investors are one of the great mentors. So make sure you learn from them every time you make it to the big shark’s table.
Be prepared for the objections and tough questions.
Have confidence and believe in yourself.
Pitch your idea and have fun.
The world is waiting for your good ideas!!