If you’ve been an entrepreneur for any length of time, you’ve likely discovered that figuring out how to pitch to investors can be a challenge.
Remember the time that you reached out to an investor and heard nothing? You know — when you left them a message on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn and told them you have a great business idea. And then you asked how to pitch it to them….only to be met with crickets.
If that scenario sounds familiar, it’s important to not take it personally. It takes a very specific strategy and the right approach to actually cut through the noise and get to investors’ ears.
What does it take to effectively pitch to investors?
As part of my role here at Written Success, I’m often asked to help entrepreneurs with their pitches. Having assisted with this more times than I can count, I’ve come to the conclusion there are a number of specific things you can do to make your pitch the best it can be.
Let’s take a look at some tips that will help you actually engage attention and capture that investor’s interest. They can find out more about your pitch, listen to the whole thing, and then decide if they’re interested in your idea.
Know What NOT To Do
A recent client of mine, Keith Gober, experienced these challenges first hand. I worked with him on his pitch consult and he ended up landing an investment deal. He made the deal with Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, thanks to the awesome online platform PITCH Investors Live, where I help entrepreneurs get ready to pitch high profile investors.
In Keith’s pitch, there were three issues that we corrected that helped him move forward. These are extremely common problem areas and Keith handled them perfectly in his final pitch. To help him transform these three concerns into a more positive direction, we focused on these three tips:
- Tip #1: Narrow Your Focus and Target Audience
- Tip #2: Clearly Explain Market Entry Plans
- Tip #3: Do Not Mention Your Failures During Your Pitch!
Tip #1: Narrow Your Focus and Target Audience
When you’re pitching it can be tempting to want to tell the investor every single thing you can think of. Yet, it is critical to narrow your focus. You usually have a finite amount of time to pitch to investors. Your goal is to avoid being too broad with what you’re trying to cover.
You’ll be best served to hone in on the top revenue-driving markets you’re pursuing. Provide an overview of the top three, in order. Then you’ll want to provide concrete information about the size of the market, who makes up the audience, and any other pertinent details.
Tip #2: Clearly Explain Market Entry Plans
Investors want to know you have realistic, solid plans for market entry. When you map out your business plan, your market entry section will include timelines. You should share these with investors.
When you pitch to investors, you’ll want to map out the steps you’ll take over the next 12 months to achieve your goals for growth. Be sure to include the specific milestone steps and how long you’ve forecasted each one to take.
Tip #3: Do Not Mention Your Failures During Your Pitch!
Failure rates for new businesses generally sit around 50%. It’s assumed that the majority of entrepreneurs have had a failed venture or two in the past. Unless an investor specifically asks you about failed ventures, this isn’t something you need to bring up.
Even if they do happen to ask, you can focus on what you learned from those failures. At that time, share how you’ve carried those lessons into your new business plans.
Find the Help You Need For a Successful Pitch
By getting feedback on his pitch and avoiding the common errors that many entrepreneurs make when they pitch to investors, Keith was able to have a successful pitch.
Says Keith: “Our deal was pretty much consummated at the end of that 30-minute phone call. And I’ll tell you why. Because I had the data. I had everything to support my idea. I was able to clearly show the vision that I had.”
Do you have a business idea you’d like to pitch to investors but aren’t sure how to craft a pitch that gets results?