Pitch meetings for start-ups are a great way to find the perfect investor for your new company. Getting them right can be the difference between seeing a huge influx of much needed seed money or going home empty handed.
Here are a few things to remember when going into that pitch meeting…
Be clear and confident
You’ll only have a short time to impress, and while your product or company is key you’ve also got to sell yourself.
This means keeping calm, being clear and exuding confidence. Try not to ‘um’ and ‘ah’ when you arrive. Just take a second or two to gather yourself and then slowly tell them about why they should invest in you.
Show them what it can do
It’s a fine balance between showing you’re a person worth investing in and that you’ve got a product worth putting their money into. While being confident is a good start, don’t wait around too long to get to what your product can do.
And if at all possible, give them a live demonstration. This means making sure it’s 100% working. A prototype that isn’t fully functional will just give a bad impression.
Solve a problem
While showing your product in working order is fine, what you’re really trying to prove is that your company can solve a problem.
This might mean creating a problem for the potential investors to solve using your product. This kind of hands-on role play gives them an insight into the user journey.
Know your stuff
Pitching sessions involve more than just you telling them what you can do – at some point the investors are going to start asking questions.
These questions could cover anything from technical aspects of the product to the finances of your business. You’ve got to know your stuff. Have your key account details on hand to refer to.
If you’ve employed technicians or other specialists, get them to brief you beforehand. And if you don’t know the answer, say so. It’s not worth trying to lie to them – you’ll soon be found out. How many aspiring candidates have fallen over in the ‘Den’ when quizzed by the ‘Dragons’ on the finer details of their business plan.
Once the meeting is over, try and get some feedback, whether it’s on the product itself or your presentation skills. This probably won’t be your last pitching session and if you’re not successful this time it’s worth finding out why.
It could be something as simple as the people couldn’t understand you, or it might be that your product needs seriously redesigning.
A few days after the event, even if you didn’t get any interest on the day, it’s worth following up.
It could be that the potential investors wanted to hear other pitches before they made their decision, so a follow up email or phone call could jog their memory.
Posted by Ashleigh Sharp