So, you have a fantastic business idea that you have spent a considerable amount of time nurturing. You’ve done a lot of research regarding what you see as a great opportunity, and after countless hours, you have developed a detailed business plan for your business idea. Naturally, your next step would be to pitch your business idea to potential partners and investors, right?
A great business pitch highlights all the essential details that would transform a business idea into a reality, in a compressed, yet attractive format.
The business plan you are pitching needs to provide relevant information such as your target market, the problem(s) your business will be solving, your business model, financial projections, and a thorough presentation on the business’ competitors.
Without further ado, here are the mistakes you should avoid when pitching to investors:
1. Not providing a gripping story
While time is of the essence when pitching, it is crucial to start right. Begin with a gripping story relative to your new business. This could stem from how you realized the problem you are trying to solve and how you figured out that your product or service could make things better; this can draw people in within the first few seconds. The objective of providing a gripping backstory is to invoke human elements.
Highlight how life would be with your business idea and how it would be negatively impacted without your product or service.
2. Having different team members pitching together
It is advisable for only one person to deliver a pitch. Planning to have your co-founder or other team members speak during a pitch might waste time and distract the audience from the main points of your presentation. This is because each person would want to explain their understanding of the business, and this might turn out to be incohesive to potential investors.
3. Not utilizing enough visuals
Your pitch doesn’t have to be all words. Using lots of visuals can make the difference and help your presentation stick with your audience for longer. Canva, PowerPoints, and infographics could help your potential investors better understand what you are pitching to them.
4. Presenting too much information
Entrepreneurs are usually proud and excited to share as much information as possible about their brilliant ideas. Without a doubt, it is essential for business owners to have a detailed understanding of their innovations and the future of their companies, however, going into too much detail might confuse potential investors. The key is to present a clear picture of the business in a short space of time. Keeping it short and simple would prove to your audience that you know the core of the business and can easily attract people.
5. Using a lot of jargon
While pitching, it is very important not to overshadow the business plan with technicalities and buzzwords, especially for tech-focused products. You should explain how your invention operates and its benefits to users in plain, easy-to-understand terms so as not to confuse potential investors.
6. Dodging hard questions
Prepare, because you’re not going to be the only one talking. You’re not going to deliver a monologue and get a billion dollars afterwards. Potential investors would have lots of questions; they could be difficult or tricky but don’t panic. If you know the nitty-gritty of your business plan, it should be easy. The questions are basically to help the investors evaluate how well you know what you are telling them. Remember that they are taking a risk, and it’s only normal for them to understand what they are getting into. You don’t have to react negatively to questions or avoid them as you may come across as unprepared. Try to answer tough questions as transparently as possible.
7. Showing up without a demo
If your business model allows for a demo, then opt for it – especially if it’s a technology-focused product.
A demo helps investors to visualize concepts that may sound abstract in theory. Also, it shows that you already have a capable team and that you mean business. With your demo, you can stand out from the crowd.
8. Not closing strong
The end of your pitch is as important as the beginning. You should leave investors thinking about your pitch even after you are done. This can be achieved by emphasizing the urgency and importance of the solution you’re looking to provide to your target audience and why it is better than its competitors. Play with humour, repetition, emphasis and other relevant elements in your closing. Make it remarkable!
9. Not following up
Do not forget to follow up after the pitch. You can send a personalized follow-up email to the investors, thanking them for their time. It goes a long way!
10. Practice, practice
Practise your pitch. Do it in front of a mirror, or with friends and family. Go out and network with more people, and talk to strangers. This will help you boost your confidence during the actual pitch.
Now that you know some of the mistakes to avoid when pitching, it is also smart to do your research to know more about the investors that you are pitching to. Arm yourself with some useful information about their background and the businesses they have invested in in the past and why. With this, you will have a deeper knowledge of how best to approach them when the moment comes. Good luck!