When pitching your new start-up idea you should always be dressed in business formal clothes, with an appropriately professional haircut, and no distracting accessories. A business pitch is one of the most formal and important occasions in business and needs to be treated with care. Since your first impression will be based on appearance, it’s very important to make sure that this impression is a good one. However, you also need to be aware that business conventions do differ in different areas of the world, and there are even some industries such as the IT industry that are more casual than others.
2. Come Prepared
Your pitch should cover every aspect of your start-up. Investors are very skilled in asking questions and prying deeply, so you should anticipate all of their questions and formulate your responses. A pitch meeting is a lot like being on trial or in an interrogation. You should never approach investors before your business plan has been fully thought out, because they are both unlikely to invest and unlikely to give you the time to revise your pitch later.
3. Know Your Audience
Investors are aware that they are often not investing in a company, but rather in a person. During an investment pitch the investors will be scrutinizing you as a person and trying to decide whether they trust you enough to do business with you. This means that building up an individual rapport with each potential investor is extremely important. You should learn as much as you can about your audience and find unique ways to engage them on a personal level, such as shared hobbies or opinions. Finding a way to reach the investor in an unconventional way will pay off when they’re trying to make their decisions.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Just like during an interview process you should run practice drills before your pitch meeting. You should run through your presentation in full multiple times. Not only will this give you the confidence that you’ll need to sway the investors, but it will also make it easier to recover if something unexpected happens like a technical issue. You should also have a partner or just a friend play the role of an investor and ask you critical questions about the business. Your practice investor may come up with some questions that you yourself may have never thought of.
5. Never Give Up
Many start-up companies have to go through many waves of investor meetings before they’re able to secure funding. It’s very possible that the first few meetings will not go well, but that doesn’t mean they were all for nothing. As you pitch your business to different investors you will gain confidence and skills. You will also build a network of connections. Just because an investor doesn’t want to invest in this particular project doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t want to invest in one of your future projects. Every investment meeting is important, and many companies simply have to keep pitching until they find interested investors to finance them.
Kevin Shaw is a small business owner who recently secured significant funding to commercialize his business concept. He uses the services of a virtual phone number to ensure that he conveys a professional image to his potential clients and encourages other people starting out in business to do the same.