The #1 Problem with Your Investor Pitch

When telling someone about your business idea, do you ever get a blank stare? A confused expression? Some other sign that shows you that they don’t quite “get it”?

I’ve had the honor of supporting hundreds of investor pitches. From those experiences, I’ve seen that some entrepreneurs have the gift of being really great salespeople. They can pitch a great idea — or a horrible idea — and people get excited either way.

However, these people are not the majority. If you are like most entrepreneurs, putting together an investor pitch for your idea may not be that easy.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. You have several business ideas that are somewhat intertwined — and you tend to mention all of them at once when you share with others — which can be confusing to people.
  2. You are sharing your vision from an insider’s perspective, but your audience is an outsider and is only hearing this for the first time. They can’t process the picture you’re painting.
  3. You are pitching an idea too broadly and aren’t explaining the specific value proposition or the problem your business solves for people.

This all boils down to the number one problem with most investor pitches: Entrepreneurs tend to become obsessed with their own ideas while pitching.

They should consider what the investor needs and wants to hear and understand instead.

But no worries if this is something you have struggled with. This mistake is common! It’s actually good news because you have 100% control over it and you can easily fix it, with a simple approach.

Just because people don’t “get it” doesn’t mean you have a bad idea.

As a Business Plan Consultant and Professional Pitch Consultant, I hear awesome business concepts all the time. Yet, it still amazes me when a business owner has doubt in their own idea based on shallow feedback from others.

It’s always a little bitter-sweet when I have to tell them: “Your business idea isn’t bad; you’re just bad at pitching it.” (Someone’s gotta say it.)

When people hear a new idea, it is easy for them to feel confused. Unfortunately, the natural reaction is to take the easy road and reject the concept, instead of trying to understand the business potential. They think: “I’m confused, so it must be a bad idea.” However, if you adjust your approach to the simplest form possible, this can be avoided. You will steer clear of overwhelming your listener and stand better chances for having a positive pitching experience.

How my Client Avoided Overwhelm by Adjusting the Approach

An example of this in action happened when one of my clients was looking to launch an indoor amusement park in Coney Island, New York. The project was massive, and the business plan was absolutely brilliant.

However, the whole concept had a ton of moving pieces. There were over 30 revenue streams, different angles to consider for the locals, and specific marketing tactics to contemplate for global tourists. The amusement park also had room for arcades and indoor basketball courts along with space for affordable condos to be added nearby, which created much-needed housing.

All in all, it was a great project, but when my client went to do his investor pitch for his idea, he tried covering everything at once. He couldn’t stay focused on the big picture of the project and was easily sidetracked by explaining the multiple components involved. All this information overwhelmed the investors, and my client was getting frustrated that no one seemed to understand his vision.

When I worked with him on his pitch and on simplifying his business plan, we boiled it down to the biggest two themes for the whole project: a revitalization of Coney Island and a theme park that would offer year-round entertainment for tourism activity.

Because we kept those things in focus and steered clear of the rabbit holes, the pitch went perfectly, and he was able to secure multiple investors. With the pitch being simplified, the investors were able to digest the concept and had enough interest to dive more into the details later.

So, dear entrepreneur, the good news is that your idea is probably a good one. You may just need to work on your pitch and your focus.

How to Get Started

Map out your business vision and break it down into components. What components are present on day 1? When you open your doors, what do you immediately want to be known for?

This one thing — maybe two things max — is what you need to focus on for your investor pitch. This is your real idea. Yes, there are other parts involved and other related ideas, but make sure your audience gets this one thing really clearly before you go into anything else.

how to write a business plan step by step

Need a visual? Click here to download my example Diagram. (Only pitch what’s in the green.)

Ashley Cheeks

Author Ashley Cheeks

Ashley Cheeks is a Business Plan Consultant. Her core business plan writer expertise is in designing business plans for bank and investor funding. She founded Written Success after years of being a professional business plan writer as a freelance consultant, and working for companies including GE and Fluor. She lives in Houston with her husband, daughter and son.

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