When exactly does pitching your business start? The moment you decide to start your company! By now, you may have already pitched your network. The moment you get your idea and call your family and friends to tell them about your concept, and potentially ask for funding, that is when you started pitching your business. However, have you found the perfect investor pitch yet?
Funding your business can be an intimidating stage for new entrepreneurs. As you gain confidence, you begin to identify investors and even explore small business loans options. During this stage most entrepreneurs experience anxiety of having left their secure day job, and trying to overcome the ever common “impostor syndrome.” Once you can squash the self-doubt and start looking for investments from strangers, you begin to navigate the foreign language of startup financing terminology. Between bootstrapping, crowdfunding, angels, incubators, accelerators, venture capitalists, seed stage, series A-C, it is no wonder some entrepreneurs limit themselves to two familiar extremes – friends and family or Shark Tank.
One of the best ways to become acquainted with the startup financing space quickly is to build a pitch deck. Drafting a pitch deck will force you to fully organize your business idea, study the category you are entering (or creating), tease your brand concept, build a plan and, most importantly, think about your most fitting investor types. To get started, here are our top tips:
Make your deck easy to understand and follow. Your pitch deck is not your business plan. Avoid over-explaining or complicating your pitch with too many charts and graphs. Most investors spend seconds (if any) looking at a deck and you will want them to grasp these specific points quickly – concept, uniqueness, and progress. Applying one-sentence summaries as taglines to each slide is one way of ensuring your pitch deck has an effective narrative flow and conclusive impact.
Design matters. Your pitch deck is typically your first and primary marketing tool. Yes, substance and content matter most, but you would not want to lose a funding opportunity simply due to poor presentation. Unless you have expert level experience with presentation modules, a homemade PowerPoint or Keynote doc on one of their easily recognizable stock templates is not recommended. Search for pitch deck examples and find an experienced marketer or agency to pump out the best product for you. It will be well worth the minimal investment in building your primary fundraising tool.
Consider your audience when including sample transactions. Focus on companies in your industry that have either received major funding, announced a newly acquired stake in their business by a major corporation, or sold for an amount way above their actual revenues and somewhere around their assessed valuation for a noteworthy multiple. By including these types of transactions will place confidence in your product or service.
Substantiate your projections. Do not underestimate this part of your pitch process as most investors have a background in finance. Produce some real calculations and do not exaggerate your growth. A huge aspirational projection may look sexy on a graph, but to some, it is not the most promising for long-term stability and growth. Most experienced investors would prefer to see a steadily accelerating business and avoid a plunge a devastating plunge. Simply put, do your diligence, and stay realistic when forecasting.
Position your innovation pipeline effectively. Innovation includes any new product or service you are looking to sell after you have launched your initial offerings. Having more customers is great, but Investors need to know you are looking ahead for tangible growth means and contributing to your sales projections. To truly optimize innovation plans within your revenue goals, think about how it can affect your entire customer lifecycle -acquisition, engagement, loyalty, growth, and retention. This way, it becomes clear how innovation can increase your revenues and you will produce enough context to showcase it prominently and do it justice within your pitch.
Like interviewing, prepare yourself for rejection until you get a “yes” when it comes to looking for investments. Rejection from once potential investor should not lead you to take their feedback and amend your business plan and pitch to the point at which your original concept is lost. Continue to focus on your overall plan and stay on course.
For help with drafting the perfect pitch deck, give us a call!