Lesson 2: Before You Begin

Introduction

Selling your business idea to potential investors can be both exciting and nerve-wrecking. However, having a brilliant idea means nothing if you have a bad presentation – you need to convince people that your idea is something worth investing in. Preparation is the key to a successful pitch – know what you want, how much you need, and why you want to do it. It is also very beneficial to do your homework on the investor, so that you can position your pitch to maximise its effectiveness. Let’s look at where to start.

Preparation

Before developing your pitch and message, make sure you understand who your audience will be. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who will you be pitching to? Know who will be present and who might be absent. What roles do your audience members perform in the organisation you are pitching to?
  • What does the audience already know? What concepts need detailed explanation, and what can be briefly mentioned?
  • What are the potential conflicting goals and objections for an investor?
  • Where will the pitch be taking place? What time of day is your pitch?

Your role as an entrepreneur is to drum up as much support and interest in your business as possible. In most cases, you won’t close any deals after your first pitch. What you will do, however, is create interest around your business, which will hopefully lead to an invitation to a second meeting, and then a third! This process isn’t easy and takes a lot of time, patience, and persistence, but the reward is more than worth it.

Watch this video covering the important questions to ask while preparing your pitch.

Remember, your investors will want a  reward for their investment that at least matches what they put in. As such, your pitch needs to convince them that your business idea is viable, with a good potential ROI. During your pitch, the audience will be concerned with the following:

  • Profitability: Does your business have the potential to make money?
  • Market: Can you prove there is a need for your product or service?
  • Evidence: Does your business solve the problem?
  • Expertise: Does your team have the necessary skills to drive and build this business?
  • Clarity: Have you clearly communicated the nature of your business?
  • Passion: Is your team passionate, excited, and driven to succeed?
  • Presentation: Are you well prepared? 
     

Creating a strong introduction

Audiences usually decide fairly quickly whether or not a presentation is worth paying attention to. This means that you only have a moment to give a lasting first impression, so try to hook your audience within the first 30 seconds. Start with something that will catch their attention and interest. Scott Schwertly provides the following tips to create a powerful opening:

  • Quote someone
  • Share an interesting fact or something extraordinary
  • Tell a story
  • Refer your audience to the future or past
  • Use silence effectively

Check out this article for some explanation on each of those points.

Another way to convey a strong opening is to make sure you know the first four minutes of your pitch without needing to look at your computer screen or notes. Oren Klaff, a renowned investor and pitch expert, suggests writing out the first 500 words of your pitch and learning them off by heart. These 500 words are equivalent to about the first three minutes of your pitch, and this is when you need to make the biggest impact.

Watch this video to discover two more ways to start your presentation off with a bang.

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