Pitching Your Idea
HOW TO PITCH YOUR IDEAS TO A VENTURE CAPITAL FIRM OR ANGEL INVESTOR
The doors of the elevator opens, you get in, and, to your surprise, so does the investor that you’ve been trying to get hold of for months. Now you have your chance to tell him about your idea, but you only have as long as the elevator-ride lasts to impress him.
Just how important is a pitch when seeking financing from VC firm or Angel investors? Think that there are millions of other entrepreneurs seeking the same financing as you are. And your pitch is your first step to convincing the investor to pick you.
Of course, an elevator pitch is not limited to elevators. Rather, it is a handy reminder that the presentation to investors should be a concise introduction of the business. Nowadays it is possible for entrepreneurs to upload their pitches to the website Monbi.com where investors from all over the world can see them.
As an entrepreneur, it is inevitable that you will have to sell your business idea to investors, suppliers, customers and, for some, even to potential employees. One competency an entrepreneur needs to learn is how to talk about his new business in a coherent and convincing way that will excite others. You must learn to talk about your business in a way that will make others interested enough to become a part of it. In pitching the highlights of your business to executives, you should be able to immediately capture their interest and take no longer than an average elevator ride.
WHAT ARE THE DOs AND DONTs OF AN ELEVATOR PITCH?
DO: KEEP IT SHORT
When preparing for a pitch, remember to keep it short. One experts rule of 10/20/30 when pitching using presentations is still effective today. The expert says that a pitch should have no more than 10 slides, should not last more than 20 minutes and should not have a font smaller than 30 points. Any person can only concentrate on a task for a short time without being distracted. As an entrepreneur seeking financing, you only have a few seconds or a couple of sentences to capture your investor’s attention and sell your business idea.
DO NOT: USE JARGONS AND TECHNICAL TERMS
Aside from keeping your pitch short, you must also remember to keep it simple. Do not fill up your pitch with technical jargons that are difficult to understand and remember. If you are making a presentation, do not make it too text- heavy. Use video, pictures or images to convey ideas. Capture their interests so that they will be asking questions that will supplement your presentation. An ideal pitch is simple and easy to understand.
DO: ANSWER IMPORTANT POINTS
Always remember these basic elements that must be answered by your pitch: What is your product and what problem or need does it answer? What is your market and how big is it? How do you expect to generate revenue? How is your business better than the competition? Don’t forget to mention, what is the pitch for? Do you want their business card, a schedule for a full presentation, or financing?
DO NOT: FAKE YOUR MARKET’S TRUE SIZE
Do not create fake traction. Creating false profiles or making false positive reviews can eventually create problems for you and your investors. A VC Expert shares a story about an entrepreneur who started several online dating sites with 80-90% of the profiles in the sites were by dummy users. After a year, the dating site received a VC funding. In a span of two years the entrepreneur spent the money on salaries, advertisers and designers. However, the real users would drop off the site quickly because the fake users weren’t engaging them. Thus the dating site whose business model was to gain revenues from paid memberships barely brings in 100k annually.
DO:RESEARCH ON THE VENTURE CAPITAL FIRM OR ANGEL INVESTOR THAT YOU ARE PITCHING TO
Before doing a pitch to a VC or Angel Investor, do your research first about your potential investors. Know more about their history, track record and portfolio. Do not go into the meeting blind.Most investors only invest in a specific industry—healthcare, information technology, etc. Some invest only in companies during a specific stage of its life cycle. When preparing for a pitch, you don’t need to define introductory IT terms to a firm that has been investing in IT start-ups. Also, you are not likely to get financing for a restaurant chain from a firm that has only been investing in healthcare. A simple visit to the VC’s website could save you much time and effort. Monbi.com , on the other hand, lets you upload your pitches in their website where Angel and Venture firms from all over the world can check it out.
DO: SELL NOT JUST YOUR IDEA BUT ALSO YOUR TEAM
When making a pitch you are not just selling the business, you are also selling yourself and the people who will be behind your business. So, it’s important to tell your investors about your skills, expertise and accomplishments. Take note of the important tasks that need to be accomplished and how each member of the team can contribute in making it happen. Self-awareness is an important trait among leaders.
DO NOT: COME TO THE PITCH UNREHEARSED
If you are feeling the jitters and feel that you can’t deliver the pitch smoothly then the only solution is for you to practice, practice, and practice. Practice in front of a mirror so you’d know how you look while doing your pitch. Your facial expressions and hand gestures can help you make your pitch more enthusiastic and convincing. Once you are more comfortable, find a family member, friend or co-worker that you can rehearse your pitch with.
DO NOT: BE AFRAID TO MAKE CHANGES IN YOUR PITCH
Do not be afraid to make revisions. As your start-up grows and goes through various stages, you must keep your pitch updated to reflect the company’s current situation.
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