Is your business on track to become a hit? Maybe you have a brilliant idea but need to rally funds to bring it to life. New businesses sprout up every day — there were 800k startups in 2020 — and raising capital is crucial. But how will you garner funds? It sounds like you need to learn how to make a great business pitch.
A successful pitch illuminates the market demand and your solution in an authentic way. How will you prove the business is viable?
Keep reading for the best strategies for creating a business pitch investors can’t resist.
1) Write a compelling story
A story moves people more than numbers and cold hard data. So, instead of leading with digits, tell a compelling story that moves them emotionally.
First, introduce yourself and share your background. How did you get started, and what was the “ah-ha” moment when you came up with the business concept?
Build credibility by way of industry expertise, prior startups, or leadership roles that led you here. Tell your story to lead into the business proposition. And then draw from a customer or friend to craft a realistic narrative.
In your business story, address the following talking points:
- Your background: the who, what, and why that makes you who you are.
- The market gap: explain what problem your target demographic is currently facing.
- Include data to support the need for this new business offering
- Outline the demographics that’ll benefit most from your product or service
2) Then provide your solution
You’ve led with your background, highlighted a consumer problem, and now it’s time for you to share your solution. At this point, you’re presenting your business model and the essence of its potentiality.
Oddly, the solution is often the shortest part of your business pitch, but ultimately, the most vital.
Tell them exactly how you plan to solve your target demographic’s problem. Suppose the problem was that local automotive businesses struggle to keep costs low amidst significant overhead. In that case, the solution could be a budget-friendly, high-quality product line designed for mechanics, car washes, and auto detailers.
Keep it short, get to the point, and most importantly, leave them wanting more.
3) Keep your business pitch brief
You could talk about your new business all day, right? Well, save that for friends and family because investors are busy, so keep your pitch brief. The last thing you want is potential investors to get bored or lose interest as you conduct your presentation.
And that’s why it’s essential to have a pitch deck (more on that later) because it forces you to stick to the point and move through your presentation quickly. Think of the TV series Shark Tank: all of the bright minds pitching their business concepts knew how to get to the goods quickly.
And if they didn’t? Well, sharks (investors) aren’t known for letting you down easily.
If people are unclear about your idea from the second you start talking, you’ll have difficulty keeping their attention.
To stay on track, use Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule for presentations. Kawasaki is a venture capitalist who, after hearing hundreds of pitches from entrepreneurs, suggested a simple, new approach to capture investors’ interest:
- 10 slides total
- Less than 20 minutes
- No smaller than 30 size font
Sticking to this rule creates a direct, concise, eye-clean presentation, enabling your prospective leads to get a full scope of your business without falling asleep. Yes, it happens, but you can dodge losing them by sticking to the 10-20-30 rule.
4) Use a pitch deck
Ok, I briefly alluded to a pitch deck, so what is it? If you’re gearing up to pound the pavement en route to capital, you’ll need a pitch deck.
A pitch deck is a visual presentation assembled with all of the essential details of your business proposition.
Creating a pitch deck for your new business is vital because it streamlines your pitching process to yield better results.
Additionally, a pitch deck shows your business’s big picture, the story behind it, and data that support its viability.
Here are some answers to pitch deck FAQs:
- How do you structure a pitch deck? Create slides for key elements of your pitch, including the story, value proposition, problem, target demographics, solution, business model, traction roadmap, marketing strategy, team members, financials, competitor analysis, and finally, investment needs and distribution of funds.
- How many slides should your pitch deck have? Depending on your talking points, you should have about ten slides to keep it short, engaging, and to the point.
- Are there pitch deck templates? Absolutely, and it’s smart to work from a pre-designed template from SlidesGo or PiktoChart to easily craft a professional, high-quality pitch deck.
5) Conduct competitive market research
In your mind, your startup may be the most innovative idea out there, but that doesn’t mean you’re the first head it has popped into. So, it’s time to conduct some thorough market research and analysis for your business pitch.
- Acknowledge and address your competition: How do you plan to deal with competitors? Is your product better than the competition? If so, outline precisely why and how.
- Include market analysis: what statistics and data support the need for your new business? How big is your target demographic? Are they actively seeking solutions similar to yours?
- What’s your competitive edge? Say you’re starting an athletic apparel brand, well, what sets you apart from Nike, Adidas, or New Balance?
- Address potential risks: Every new venture has risks, so address them head-on and let investors know how you plan to tackle and overcome these inevitable obstacles.
- Include data, charts, and studies. Keep it short and punchy though. Use engaging media like video guides, infographics, and interactive media to illuminate these key figures.
Your investors don’t expect you to present a 100% original idea, but they will expect you to explain why yours is unique and investment-worthy.
6) Outline Your financial needs
You’ve worked hard to generate interest, outline your business proposition, and secure funding from investors. Now it’s time to ask for investment capital.
Anytime you’re asking for funding, you should confidently present your needs and be painfully specific. In other words, cut straight to the point.
- Explain the business’s projected revenue and provide estimated dates for these projections.
- Do you have existing investors? Include the current capital you’ve garnered, which shows investors that others are already supporting your venture.
- Ask for an exact amount. Don’t ball-park it; get down to the nuts and bolts, and deliver a legitimate figure for them to grasp.
- Tell them how you plan to return their investment. How much will you pay investors back? Will it be an IPO (initial public offering), or will they get their investment back plus interest or profit?
- Answer all of their questions: Bottom line: investors are pros at this, and they’ll know what to ask. They have more experience investing, so be prepared to answer all of their logistical questions.
7) Leave a parting gift to remember you by
Your business is your baby, but investors get pitched to all the time. Chances are, they may forget about your company a few days after your pitch. Don’t take it personally; instead, create a strategy to stay fresh in their minds. How?
Gift them a brochure!
Create a brochure that includes a summary of your pitch’s essential details. Be sure to include the talking points mentioned here so they won’t forget the essence of your new business.
If you need a starting point, work from a trifold brochure design template from PosterMyWall. You can easily design a brochure that illustrates your business model, goals, and story. The best part is, investors will have a tangible reminder of your pitch to mull over in days following your presentation.