When it comes to pitching potential investors, time and room for error are in short supply. The startup pitch presents an ideal opportunity to separate yourself from the competition, whether your biggest competitors are present or not. To help you succeed, we’ve put together five tips to make the most of your startup pitch presentation and turn a few short minutes with investors into a lasting and profitable relationship.
1. Before A Pitch, Research Your Investors
You can’t satisfy the needs of your investors if you aren’t aware of them. The more educated you are, the better your chances of connecting with your audience. Have they previously invested in your industry, or is this their first time investing in something even remotely close to what you’re
offering? Are you simply pitching them your product, or are you selling them your industry as a whole? With effective research, you can prevent time wasted on the wrong audiences and correctly address the right ones.
2. Be Accurate About the Competition
You’ll have no chance to gain investor support if you come across as dishonest during your pitch, and addressing your competition is no exception. Any smart investor will research your competitors on their own, so your failure to address them comprehensively affects you in multiple ways. Not only does it give the impression you’re trying to avoid competitors because you’re afraid to admit they have a better product, but it also deprives you of an opportunity to convince investors you have the best, or soon to be best, product in the market.
Inform your potential investors of competitors big and small. Whether you’re in front of or behind the competition, show your investors why their support will enable you to stay ahead of, or surge past, your competitors. If you’re not able to honestly compare your product to the competition without turning off investors, maybe you’re not ready to take the next step. And if you aren’t, investors most definitely won’t be.
3. Ease Risk-Related Apprehension
In addition to your honesty about the competition, you should also be open and honest when it comes to risk. Every investor assumes some risk in order to potentially reap a future reward, but you’ve also had to make numerous leaps of faith to get this far. An honest assessment of their risk begins with sharing your own. Addressing the apprehension of potential investors is the perfect opportunity to share how you’ve overcome obstacles in the past, as well as how you’ll approach them in the future.
In addition to addressing risk, take advantage of opportunities to introduce the entrepreneurs behind your product. Allowing investors to get to know your executives or other team members offers an aspect of comfort seldom experienced in the digital age of investing and could be a tipping point for hesitant investors looking for a personable touch.
4. Give Them a Headline, not a Newspaper
The pitch is your initial chance to inform investors of a great opportunity, but it isn’t your only window for communication. If you succeed in grabbing their attention now, there will be many more touch points to inform investors of everything they want and need to know.
Be bold, but concise. Even though you could write a book on reasons to invest in your company, investors are usually only willing to give you enough of their time to deliver a few short, but powerful messages. Investors have a finite attention span just like everyone else, so keep it short but gripping for now and you’ll increase the likelihood they come back for more.
5. End on a High Note
Make sure your pitch ends by leaving a sense of awe and excitement instead of causing investors to wonder why they gave you the time of day. With the short amount of time you’ve got to pitch, you’re not giving investors complete insight into your product, but giving them a reason to learn more. Your pitch most likely won’t lead to immediate financial support, but leaving investors with a positive feeling about your team and your product is a crucial first step in creating a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.
Final thoughts on pitching your startup
Overall, remember: don’t forget to introduce yourself, be clear and concise and speak slowly—talking too fast won’t make the presentation end any faster and investors will likely lose you along the way. Happy Pitching!