They say for every 1,000 pitches an investor hears, only 100 of them get funded. The stats for success are not great, however, you can increase your odds by crafting a killer pitch that turns heads and is far more likely to secure the funding you need.
Here are some tips for making a stand-out, ultra-compelling, irresistible, outstanding, and unforgettable pitch.
The less time your pitch takes, the better. Ten minutes is a good rule of thumb.
Your brilliant idea means nothing unless you deliver it right. The more concise you can be, the more effective you will be. Here are a few timing pointers:
The best thing about taking ten minutes? If the investors are really interested, they’ll ask questions. If they’re not interested, then you will have saved them (and yourself) some time.
Storytelling captures your listener’s attention and holds it. And it will make your pitch unforgettable.
Investors are bored with spreadsheets, valuations and numbers. If they want that information, they can get it. What you can offer is the story and emotion behind your business. Everyone loves a good story, even the most data-driven investor.
So, tell your story and tell it right. You’re bound to gain attention and the funding will follow.
Investors’ time is their most valuable asset. Show respect for their time, they will interpret that respect as your ability to treat their funding with respect.
Enthusiasm for a business idea is contagious. You need to show energy and spirit about your business, investors will pick on this. You can’t fake passion.
To quote Peter Jones from Dragon’s Den “Believe in yourself, never give up and go about your business with passion drive and enthusiasm”
Increase your energy level by 50 percent more than you feel comfortable with. As an entrepreneur you need to move out of your comfort zone.
You are judged by the way you look. This might be unfair, but you’re not going to overcome this natural human tendency.
The money you spend on that new suit will pay for itself a thousand times over when you secure the funding you need. So, don’t skimp.
And then practise it again. And again. And again. In front of the mirror, in front of your family, in front of friends.
An interested investor will ask more questions. Be ready for these questions.
As you practise your pitch (see above), encourage difficult questions from your audience. This will help you at the actual pitch and you will already have skillful and persuasive answers to the tough questions.
Here’s the clincher on a killer pitch: an exit plan. This is sometimes completely overlooked. Some people concentrate so much on their all-singing all-dancing product that they cannot imagine there will ever be an exit.
Investors want to make a lot of money in a short amount of time. A five year benchmark is a safe time frame. Your plan and pitch should explicitly answer the investor’s unstated question, ‘How will this make me a lot of money in five years?’
And the answer is in your exit strategy. Is it an IPO? An acquisition? Franchise? Investors want big payoffs, not marginal returns. They want to retire comfortably on a big yacht, not just get their money back in a little equity package.
Ideally a successful pitch will have investors begging to invest in your business. Sure, that sounds too good to be true, but it is possible. When you successfully deliver on what an investor wants, you will have a truly irresistible pitch.