How To Get Investors And Bankers To Part With Their Money For Your Business
Time and time again entrepreneurs are losing out on getting the capital they need because of making basic mistakes in their pitch. It's great to have a magic product and tons of enthusiasm, but it's not enough. Follow these five rules and see your success rate climb.
1. Look like someone who can make money.
At the start of the presentation walk in vigorously and shake hands. Look them in the eye. Look at all people on a panel. Dress formally - dark suit, white shirt/blouse, black clean good-quality shoes and smart accessories. For men a yellow/red tie with no patterns and women - good quality jewellery - not overdone. Forget the crap about being yourself. You may be a creative or software or artistic genius and work in your shorts and t-shirt. If you dress like this in the presentation you'll loose.
2. Show tons of energy and excitement.
It's not naive or stupid to show excitement - you must. First of all investors are buying you and your belief that the venture will work. They're looking for passion - that burning desire that will carry you through when times get tough. Do not memorise a set speech. Talk from the heart - explain why you love what you're doing. Talk quickly and loudly (but not too quickly and loudly). Gesticulate and smile. Move about a bit. Take the time to set up your display, visual aids - don't rush. If you're afraid of presenting get help.
3. Tell and show exactly what your product/service is.
Explain clearly what your product/service is or does in one sentence. More importantly, explain exactly in one sentence why people will buy it. What benefits does it give purchasers? Use samples - give them something to see/touch. Do not use jargon, acronyms or technical terms. Keep slides and posters simple and limit to three. Give some numbers regarding market size and expected sales.
4. Listen, listen and listen and be polite
During question time show you are listening. Acknowledge good points/comments and show you can take criticism. You're asking people for money so be polite. Do not interrupt. Don't show them you think they're stupid. Avoid responses like You are entitled to your view. Investors are looking to see if you can take advice.
5. Give confidence by explaining away problems.
Every new venture will have problems. Prepare by thinking of all the things that could go wrong or could hinder progress. Have answers/solutions. Pick the top three problems and raise these in your talk. Investors want to know you have your head screwed on and feet on the ground.