All businesses need investors, especially when they’re just starting out. Some investors will be content to solely provide funds whereas others will want more of a say in how their money will be spent, and what kind of return on investment they will see.
Whatever type or size of investment you are looking for, the best way to impress potential investors is with a well-delivered pitch. This blog breaks down what investors look for in a pitch so that you can go into your pitch meetings with confidence that you’ve covered all the bases and done your due diligence.
Have a professional pitch deck
Pitches need a visual element. No matter how convincingly you talk or how charismatic you are, the people you are presenting to need something else to look at as well. The pitch deck provides an overview of your business and should be made using professional presentation software.
The pitch deck should include details of who the people behind your business are, the problem you are trying to solve, your product or service which acts as the solution to that problem, traction, the current market and your competitors, as well as details of your business model and how any successful investment will be used. Remember to include your contact details on the final slide which can be left on the screen.
Explain the problem you are trying to solve with your business
A problem needs to exist for your business to be the solution. This is where the value and market credibility of your business are demonstrated. Who is your target audience and what are their pain points? If your product is niche, your potential investors may not be aware of the problem you are trying to solve, so you should provide data or evidence that supports it.
Outline your USP
What makes your business different? You need to be crystal clear on what your business’s USP is and be able to communicate it in your pitch. Since the beginning of the internet age, the number of active companies has grown exponentially and the markets for most products are saturated. This means you need to identify what makes your product or service unique from or better than what is currently available.
It’s often not enough to just improve the specs of a competitor’s existing product, as they will likely do that on their own in the near future. They have the advantage of already being established, whereas new businesses are a gamble for investors. Investors need to be sure your business has found a real gap in the market that can be capitalised upon.
Show your dedication and determination
It has been said that investors invest in people as much as they do products, so one thing investors are looking for in your pitch is to understand the type of person they will be doing business with. This doesn’t mean you need to be the most charismatic person in the room, but you do need to demonstrate that you possess the type of work ethic necessary to make a new business succeed.
Anyone can say that they are dedicated or determined to make their business work, but do you have anecdotal evidence you can back that up with? Think about the sacrifices you have made to get to this point, such as working towards getting extra qualifications or money you have invested from your personal finances.
If you can show that you are willing to put yourself on the line for your business, investors will be confident that you are equipped for the challenges that a new business faces. This assures them that you will not become complacent once you are stable – investors want to know that the business will continue to grow.
Demonstrate knowledge of your product and industry
You will likely be asked technical questions in your pitch, for example those concerning the logistics of your industry, the science behind your product, or the current research surrounding the problem you are trying to solve. Answering these questions with confidence shows your expertise and that you have thoroughly researched the current market.
Even if you are breaking into a new market that you don’t have any first-hand experience in, it’s worth mentioning how you have addressed that problem. For example, you may have hired someone with experience to manage a certain part of the business, or you are currently undertaking a qualification to better understand the market.
Explain your intended marketing strategy
So much of modern business relies on marketing. In an increasingly interconnected world with saturated markets, your marketing strategy is how you will attract business, whether that’s customers or clients. Put simply, your marketing strategy is how you get noticed.
Most successful marketing strategies are multifaceted and will have plans for how to approach marketing across different platforms, such as social media, print advertising, and live promotions. You should also include a timeline of when different phases of the strategy will be rolled out.
Your marketing strategy hinges on who your target audience is and where they are most likely to see and respond to your message. If you are not confident in your ability to devise a marketing strategy, then you should consult with a marketing expert before your pitch to get some additional insights.
If you keep these areas in mind when preparing for your pitch, you are sure to impress your potential investors and hopefully get that much-needed funding for your business.
If you would like more guidance on writing your pitch deck, take a look at our dedicated business guide.