To successfully secure investment you need to follow a set of golden rules – the main one being crafting a perfect pitch. A compelling pitch not only communicates your business idea effectively but also demonstrates your commitment, vision, and potential for growth. Here are my top tips so you can achieve your funding dreams.
Lead with a solution
My first tip is to lead with a solution. This means outlining the problem you are trying to solve and making that the premise of your pitch. To win over investors you want to instil confidence and show your pragmatism and ability to recognise problems and rectify them on a large scale. By clearly setting out your mission, how you are going to achieve it, what projects you are supporting, any sustainability goals you are meeting or are incorporating into your plan, will ensure you captivate their attention.
Expose your potential
Next, you need to expose your potential. Demonstrating your entrepreneurial skills is great, but to establish a good rapport and crucially secure that investment you need to show you are a well-rounded individual. Talk about your interests outside of business. Your hobbies, your past work experience, any voluntary projects you have been involved in to emphasise your qualities and why you can be trusted to deliver on their investment. You need to cover all bases if you want to have a positive conversation with potential investors and that means highlighting your potential and what you can contribute to business and society.
Establish a narrative
Following my first point, you need to have a narrative to carry the conversation and make your pitch as smooth and interesting as possible. You can lead with a story or just provide some context to help investors envision your proposal and how it can be realised. This needs to be backed up with evidence so come prepared with lots of statistics, forecasts, and customer feedback to increase your chances. Investors will want to see growth and if it can be scaled and acquired in the future.
Introduce your team
Before firing away with your pitch, you need to introduce your team! However, this can’t be name-based only. Spend a moment to explain each member’s background, their experience, education, and accomplishments. The conversations don’t purely need to be based on capital but on what you can all bring to the table in terms of vision and execution. Trust is integral, so if you have a solid and diverse team assembled you will be in a much better position to gain investment.
Substance over style
Having a visually appealing pitch deck is great but without the fundamentals, it will be lacklustre and confusing for investors. To get your foot in the door you need to display facts and figures throughout the presentation and be clear about your aims and accomplishments. Don’t try to lie or exaggerate numbers as this will only hurt your chances long-term.
Stick to the plan
When you were preparing for your pitch, you may have had lots of ideas thrown around. Stick to the same plan and don’t drift too much as it may put off investors and lose their interest. If you find you and your team are not finding common ground, you can compromise on certain areas. As long as it flows well and is cohesive there is nothing wrong with suggesting different ideas in front of investors so they can get a flavour of what your team can create and how innovative you can be.
To end, for a perfect pitch there are a lot of components that go into it, but you need to find a balance of what is important, what can be added and what’s not necessary. A pitch is the first step towards investment, but it is also a chance to build on those relationships and strengthen them. By understanding your audience, starting with a strong hook, clearly defining the problem and solution, proving traction, addressing risks and showcasing your team you can significantly improve your chances of winning over investors.
Shalini Khemka (CBE) founded E2E (www.e2exchange.com) in 2011, where she is the Chief Executive and serves on its Board. E2E has developed into an exciting and ground-breaking powerhouse of entrepreneurs, investors, non-execs, and SME-focused corporate organisations. Its mission is to develop the largest and most active entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UK to enable extraordinary entrepreneurship. E2E’s current community consists of 24K SMEs who contribute £230bn in turnover to the UK economy and employ 1.15 million people.