One way your business can secure funds is to pitch viable ideas to potential investors. However, pitching an idea can be a nerve-racking process. It takes a lot of skill, facts and convincing skills to influence an experienced investor to commit funds to your business. Many others have succeeded, especially as 56% of UK SMEs have received external financing since 2020. Hopefully, with the tips below, you can learn essential skills to secure that much-needed funding for your business’s growth.
1. Start with a clear and concise elevator pitch
The secret to pitching your business idea is clear and concise language. A long-winded pitch can cause a lack of interest in potential investors, and before you know it, beating about the bush will cost you the financial support your business needs. That is why delivering a clear and concise elevator pitch is important. The truth is that the investors you are likely to meet have listened to several other pitches during the day. Naturally, if nothing stands out, that pitch goes out the window, and that is something you want to avoid. Making a strong impression in the first five minutes of your pitch will depend on how you make your delivery. Experts say the first thing to do is go straight to the point after the initial pleasantries. Do not waste time talking about your business sector or why you have gathered in the conference room—instead, focus on what you want and why you need investor support. As the saying goes, time is money, so make efficient use of it in the limited period you have with the investors. You can have the opportunity to elaborate further when they ask questions.
2. Demonstrate a strong understanding of your target market
One critical thing investors look out for is a strong understanding of your target market. What main elements do you consider in your target market? Secondly, how did you settle on your audience, and what are the plans to keep them loyal to your product or service? You must also have handy information on strategies employed so far that have contributed to the growth of your target audience since you started your business. More importantly, having a convincing explanation of the problem your product or service solves in the market is vital. Still on the target audience subject, potential investors also want to know about your competitors and how you continue to keep them at bay. Demonstrating an irrefutable understanding of the market would have proven to potential investors that you and your business are worth the risk. The truth, however, is that you can understand the market better through prior research. That is the only way to communicate to investors how you align your unique selling points with the target audience. Investors understand this as having superior market knowledge, boosting their confidence in your business.
3. Have a clear business plan and financial projections
What convincing points do you have if investors ask about your financial projections and continuous business plan? You risk losing investor support if you don’t have clear-cut answers. This question aims to find out how you intend to use funds for the long term. Many startups have received investor support only for the funds to be misused or diverted to other purposes unrelated to the core business. It’s important to base your answers on your business’s cash flow statements, balance sheets and profit and loss statements to ace this question from potential investors. You will find explaining this part of your pitch easier with a PowerPoint presentation. In that case, a PowerPoint presentation agency will be useful to provide a detailed and memorable explanation to your potential investors. This presentation style can indicate to investors how you have planned and used monies for business-related expenses. Many investors want a clear demonstration of how close you stayed to your budget and yet made impressive progress for your business. In effect, they want proof of realistic and well-researched information on how you can steer the business to generate more returns. Investors want to recoup with interest, which must be your guiding point.
4. Show investors you have an experienced team with relevant experience
When you’re seeking investor support, it is crucial to do so by talking about your team or employees. These are the same people you rely on to help bring your business vision to life. How have you invested in them and aligned their skills to the business? That is an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership and people skills to your investors. Sometimes, it may be important to summarise your team’s education, work experience and relevant professional accomplishments. The latter may not necessarily be with your business establishment; instead, you can aim for any other professional achievements that project them in a positive light. By mentioning their strengths and expertise, potential investors can be convinced about the team support you have surrounded yourself with. After all, you need team help to grow the business, and an investor wants to know that employees are up to the task.
5. Be passionate and confident in your vision
How confident are you about your business vision? Believe it or not, experienced investors can see this easily during your pitch. That is where you must employ deliberate verbal and non-verbal actions to convey passion and confidence. If you naturally struggle with showing enthusiasm for anything, it would be a good idea to test your delivery many times until you can exude these two things investors are looking for. However, you must avoid being arrogant or overconfident, which may put potential investors off. You can prevent this by balancing your passionate delivery with a great sense of realism. You don’t want to be talking about your vision for your business while being oblivious to real-life market challenges. This way, you’ll inspire potential investors and convince them your business is worth the risk.
Building a successful business involves having enough finances to keep things running, especially at the initial stages. Applying the above tips will help you pitch your business idea to potential investors and yield excellent results for your startup.