Unless you can finance your startup from your own pocket, you will need to look for an investor. There are newbies with business ideas emerging from every corner, and most of them don’t know how to successfully articulate their idea to a potential investor. The angel investor you are trying to reach out to has probably gone through hundreds of propositions before, so he’s bound to have a critical eye when looking at your idea. With that said, there are ways to improve your approach and overall presentation, in order to receive the necessary funding.
1. Research the investor
Most of the investors you’ll meet used to be like you – an inspired individual with a dream. Before approaching one, do your research. How did he get his start? How much does he know about the subject I’m presenting? How much time can he dedicate to hearing me out? You can play that to your strengths and modify the presentation to a particular person.
2. Know the statistics
Investing in a startup is uncertain as it is, so you have to know all the data that has to do with your idea. Learn the numbers beforehand. Doing your research on the budget, the market, competitors and everything else that is important will show investors that you know what you’re talking about. It makes you seem responsible, reliable and confident.
3. Break it down in a simple way
A great indicator of success is the ability to take a complex idea and simplify it, so that everyone is able to understand it. Often, your idea won’t be in the investor’s area of expertise, so avoid using too many technical terms – you could lose interest of the investor. You should highlight the main problem of your future customers and explain how you intend to fix it; in other words, what value you will create for the client.
4. Don’t drag on your presentation
In the first few minutes, you will either intrigue the investor or not, so an effective initial approach is key. The most important facts and information should come first. With that in mind, don’t prolong the presentation if it’s not necessary; that way, you avoid the chance of your potential investor getting bored. Your pitch should be long enough that you can say all the significant things, but always keep it clear and concise.
5. Give investors a reason to finance your startup
Explaining everything and expecting them to draw their conclusions won’t cut it. It’s better to explicitly say why they should invest, what makes your company stand out amongst competitors and why it’s a smart choice.
6. Make your story relatable
In a way, you have to take an abstract concept and explain its use in real environment. The supporting data that you are presenting are the logical part, but you need to include the emotional part of the brain, too. Or, in the wise words of Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
7. Avoid presenting the obvious
A lot of entrepreneurs will state well-known facts when pitching their startup. This is not only somewhat condescending (because essentially, you are saying, “You are not familiar with something everyone knows”), but it will also bore the investor. Emphasize what makes you different, not what the common issue is.
8. Present a solid team
Angel investors like seeing that there is a good working environment at your startup. Not only that, but what you’re really showing is that there are promising individuals who believe in your vision enough that they would invest their time in making it a reality. With your limited budget, the ability to assemble a strong team that will back you up speaks volumes to investors.
9. Have a good stage presence
On a more personal side of things, your stage presence will greatly determine the outcome. Think of yourself as a performer that has to entertain the audience and keep the momentum going. Even if you have the most ground-breaking idea in history, if your presentation is unexciting and dull, a positive response is unlikely.
10. Watch your body language
Body language will initially leave a bigger impact on the investor than what you are saying to him. Subconsciously, he will judge you based on how you’re behaving, so make sure to keep eye contact, smile, not pose your body in a defensive way and be polite.
11. Keep calm
Meeting with an investor is unnerving, yes, but try to be as relaxed as possible. I know that’s easier said than done, but if you’re composed, you are a lot less likely to make a mistake or leave an important piece of information out. It just creates a better impression of you. Don’t try to pretend to be something you’re not, because it will make you seem nervous and completely out of your comfort zone. Just be who you are and act as if it’s just another day at the office.
12. Keep a positive attitude
Positivity is almost contagious, so have an optimistic and confident approach. Not every day will be a good one when you’re running a business, so it’s valuable to show financiers that you have the right mindset to go through the bad times and not be easily discouraged.
13. Be passionate
At the end of the day, investors are giving their money to finance a vision, so if you don’t believe in it, how do you expect them to do so? Being genuinely passionate about what you do is what might seal the deal. But be honest with yourself – if you don’t believe in it, if you have to fake confidence in your product, you might want to rethink your career choice. It’s as simple as that.
Delivering a strong pitch is a learning process, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it right on the first try. Implement these 13 tips in your presentation strategy, continue to improve and, last but not least, remember to have fun. Eventually, a door will open.