Pitching your new start up to potential investors can seem like a daunting task. It’s often difficult to know where to begin but with careful consideration and planning, you can ensure that your idea reaches the right people. Before you go into a pitch, consider these five pieces of advice to see if there are any ways you can strengthen what you have on offer.
Is it short?
The first thing you want to be sure of when getting ready to deliver your pitch to investors is whether or not it is short enough. You might have a lot to say but potential investors will not always be interested in your back story. Your pitch needs to sound interesting and exciting but it also needs to display its profitability. Keeping your pitch succinct but not robotic will serve you well, especially if you’re not the only one pitching to the investor that day.
Have you considered all the questions?
When pitching your start up, you need to know the answers to all the most pressing questions. So many start-ups never make it past their pitch, because they have failed to give a reasonable and rational answer to an important question.
- Who is your customer?
- What makes your product unique?
- Can it be copied?
- What issue are you solving within your market?
- What are the marketing opportunities?
- Is there room for profitability and expansion?
You might not have the answers to every question an investor throws your way but by making sure you have a response that is short and easy to understand, you’ll be guaranteed to have a smoother, more successful pitch.
Do you know your investors?
How well do you know the people you are pitching your start up too? They might be leaders in your current field or perhaps even investors from elsewhere, interested in a possible expansion into other areas. Whoever they may be, knowing who you want to pitch to and why will help you to refine your ideas more effectively, in turn saving you time and even money.
Top down or bottom up?
Continuing on from investor knowledge, it’s also advisable to consider which approach you are going to take when pitching your start up. The top down model involves pitching your start up to investors with the opportunity, rather than the product first. This allows you to woo potential investors with profitability and market size first, and then move through to the customer and product after this.
The bottom up model is, as you would expect, the opposite of this. This style of pitch allows you to build a story around your product to hook in an investor, whilst inspiring them to see how your product could work in the real world. Once you have their attention, you can then move on to the buyer and the marketability of the product.
So, which one is best? Both of these models appear to work but the top down pitch is better suited to financially motivated investors, whilst bottom up tends to work best with early stage investors. Therefore, whilst both of these models could secure your success, the latter is more suited to young start-ups.
Where are you headed?
Finally, you’ll want to be sure that you know where your product is going in the future. Ask yourself, how it is going to change the market and how it is going to continue to make you and your investor’s profit in the long term? Focusing on the here and now is important but without a step by step plan for growth, you’ll never be able to pitch your start up successfully. Investors like to see where a product is headed so they know that five, ten or even twenty years down the line they will still be able to make money from it.