FOR PROFIT TIPS
- Today's Times
- Angel Investors
- The Elevator Pitch
- Investor Presentation
- Business Plan
- Challenging Times
- Competitive Barriers
- Measuring Performance
- Strategic Alliances
- Strategic Planning
- Sustainable Growth
Sales & Marketing
- Better Branding
- Developing E-newsletters
- Online Feedback
- The Plan
The Human Element
- Advisory Boards
- Corporate Board
- Selling Your Business
|Pitching is an art, but there is
science to it, too.
The art is how you work the room, the way in which you convey your
enthusiasm and show your skill as a presenter. The science lies in the format of the
presentation and your use of PowerPoint/flip chart/slides, which is formulaic. These tips
are intended to provide insight into both the art and the science of presenting to
||Be Brief: Your overview presentation should
be no longer than 12 to 15 slides. Your prepared comments should take no more than 15 to
20 minutes to deliver. You may think it's impossible to condense your message. It's not
only possible it's critical.
||Be Organized: Divide your presentation into
sections. Open with a summary. Follow with the meat of the plan (the problem, the
solution, the market, etc.). Then, cover the management team. Conclude with the financials
and a call to action that states how much money you want.
||Arouse Interest Immediately: Because
investors make their decision in the first 30 seconds of your presentation, start your
pitch by telling them everything you are going to tell them. Make sure you cover the
market potential and the share of market you expect to capture; the need for your product
or service; the ways in which your business will transform that need into a business
opportunity; your competitive edge; and the amount of money youll need.
Investors want to know that you understand
the market and that the market has big potential. Describe its size, characteristics,
growth potential and trends.
Solve a Problem: Avoid sounding like a solution in search of a problem; you must
solve a serious business problem. Venture capitalists and angels dont fund companies
that provide nice-to-have products and services. They must believe the target market
cant live without you.
Turn the Problem into Opportunity:
Every problem offers the opportunity for a
solution. Once you've presented your prognosis, lay out your prescription. Boil down the
unique elements of your approach.
Analyze Your Competition and State Your Advantage: Nothing irritates an investor
more than hearing you say that you have no competition or discovering an unmentioned
competitor during due diligence. (Frankly, having no competition usually means that there
is no market.) Explain who your competitors are, explore their strengths and weaknesses
and detail your sustainable competitive edge. Describe your ownership of any patents,
copyrights, proprietary processes or technology, exclusive licenses or agreements. Discuss
core competencies that would be cost prohibitive for the competition to develop. If you
have a first-mover advantage, trumpet it.
Describe the business: Outline the features, capabilities and revenue streams of
your product or service.
Marketing Strategy: Describe the strategies youll use to reach the target
market positioning, pricing, distribution channels, sales, advertising and
publicity. Include strategic alliances that help you penetrate the market faster.
- Define the Market and Its Potential:
||Project Solid Management Expertise: The
strength of your management team is absolutely critical to your success and to your
ability to raise venture and angel financing. VCs and angels invest in people, not just
ideas on paper. They want to be sure that your team can deliver. Highlight
managements experience, industry knowledge and functional skills. (Educational
background is rarely important.) Quickly mention your corporate and advisory boards.
||Conclude with a Call to Action: Always end
your pitch with a call to action: the amount of money you want. You build to this
conclusion by telling investors how you plan on spending the money, how much money
youre going to make and when you will be profitable. Be sure to include the
investors exit strategy.
||Make Your Presentation Tangible: Throughout
your pitch, talk in specifics not abstractions. Keeping it tangible means using
plain English that the man on the street can understand. Avoid industry buzz words and
MBA- and tech-speak. They're useful as shorthand, but theyre also a way of excluding
people who dont happen to know the terms.
||Make Your Slides Readable: Use bullets. Make
your points concisely. The type size should be large enough to be read at the distance the
audience will be from the presentation. Use all upper case letters sparingly. For the most
part, use upper and lower case letters for easier readability, especially on the body text
of your slides. Use a type color that stands out from the background color to further
increase readability. Light type such as lemon yellow (not bright true yellow) on a dark
background such as midnight blue works well. Dark type on a light background can also look
good. Graphics can help make your slides more interesting, but dont overload the
||Prepare and Practice: Develop a list of
questions you might be asked and answer them in advance. Base your list on prior investor
presentations and other meetings and conversations you have had about your business. If
youre presenting as a team, agree beforehand who will cover which topics and who is
responsible for answering what types of questions. If youre presenting alone but
your management team is in the audience, let them answer detailed questions in their areas
of expertise. Practice! Practice! Practice!
||Show Your Passion: A good presentation
excites and energizes the audience. Of course the financials, the competitive advantage,
the market potential and the idea are important, but you also must show that you have a
fire in your belly, a passion to succeed at something that's never been done before. That
passion must come across. If you can't get the audience charged about your plan, its
over. Also remember that you have to look like you enjoy and can handle the challenge. So
mask your nerves by looking like youre having fun during the presentation.