Stengel Solutions: The Door to Business Growth


Honing Your Investor Presentation



Raising Money
- Today's Times
- Angel Investors

The Tools
- The Elevator Pitch
- Investor Presentation
- Business Plan
- Financials

Strategic Issues
- Challenging Times
- Competitive Barriers
- Measuring Performance
- Outsourcing
- Strategic Alliances
- Strategic Plannin

- Sustainable Growth

Sales & Marketing
- Better Branding
- Developing E-newsletters
- Online Feedback
Market Analysis
- The Plan

The Human Element
- Hiring/Keeping
- 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 investors.

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 you’ll need.
4. Provide Substance:
  • Define the Market and Its Potential: 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 don’t fund companies that provide nice-to-have products and services. They must believe the target market can’t 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 you’ll use to reach the target market – positioning, pricing, distribution channels, sales, advertising and publicity. Include strategic alliances that help you penetrate the market faster.
5. 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 management’s experience, industry knowledge and functional skills. (Educational background is rarely important.) Quickly mention your corporate and advisory boards.
6. 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 you’re going to make and when you will be profitable. Be sure to include the investor’s exit strategy.
7. 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 they’re also a way of excluding people who don’t happen to know the terms.
8. 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 don’t overload the slide.
9. 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 you’re presenting as a team, agree beforehand who will cover which topics and who is responsible for answering what types of questions. If you’re presenting alone but your management team is in the audience, let them answer detailed questions in their areas of expertise. Practice! Practice! Practice!
10. 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, it’s over. Also remember that you have to look like you enjoy and can handle the challenge. So mask your nerves by looking like you’re having fun during the presentation.
Prepared by:

Geri Stengel, president of Stengel Solutions, a business strategist.  She can be reached at 212-362-3088 or E-mail

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Contact Geri Stengel at
  212.362.3088 or E-mail

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