Pitching a start up to investors can be an intimidating prospect even for the most confident of entrepreneurs. You are standing in front of a group of people who are going to decide if they are going to provide the financial support acting as a fertilizer to your business sapling.
They are going to make the decision on the basis of your pitch. The fate of your business rests in your hands, which means your pitch needs to be perfect. How long should you take? What details to include? What should your PowerPoint presentation be like? We are going to give the answers.
The Elevator Pitch
The goal is to describe your business in a concise yet compelling way. The idea behind this that if you coincidentally meet a possible investor in an elevator and have only 30 seconds to pitch your business, how will you go about it?
You want to have a maximum impact before the elevator ride ends. The fact is that the investors are going to give you attention for the shortest period of time. You have to keep your pitch short, simple and specific: communicating key information in such a way that it has the desired effect. This is how you do it;
- Catch their attention: Either begin with an interesting story that they can relate to or a rhetorical question which stirs interest. You must connect this to a problem that you are aiming to address.
- Describe your company: Keep it precise. Tell your mission statement and target market. Don’t be vague about who your target customer is. Relate the customer’s pain to the problem you already mentioned.
- Solution: Tell them what is unique about your solution/product. Highlight how this will solve the problem. Don’t go into details, keep it short and easy to grasp.
- Personal track record: You need to build credibility and give the impression that you have what’s needed to make the business a success. Describe yours and your team’s experience/expertise which give you an advantage over your competition.
- Revenue model and funding: This is the key. Tell them how you will make money; why the problem identified is profitable, specifying the pricing of products and how you will manage the targeted market size. Then, how much money has already been invested, how much you need, why, what will it be used for and the desired outcome.
Pitch on PowerPoint Slides
Now that you know what to include in your pitch, you need to know how to display it. Both your pitch and your presentation should complement each other. Again, be specific and straightforward. The best way to do that is;
- Include only 8 to 10 slides: PowerPoint presentation is there to support your pitch, not the other way round. If you use more than 10 slides to explain, you will not only lose their interest but it will defy the concept of an elevator pitch.
- Make it last 15 to 20 minutes: You won’t literally have only 30 seconds, but it will be close. They don’t need you wasting their time, and there needs to be enough time left for discussion.
- Thirty point font: You and your audience need to be in sync and that will not happen if you use a small font and they don’t follow your train of thought.
- Be concise: The information on the slides should not be comprehensive. It is advisable to use infographics or to the point sentences which substantiate your talk.
- Don’t stare at the screen: You need to connect to the investors, not the slides. Look them in the eye and use your body language to show you are passionate about what you are saying.
- Don’t end with a generic Q/A slide: End with something that you want on screen while you are answering their questions and help build your case. It should be something that needs to be in front of them for a long time – it can be your selling point.
Your pitch needs to exude confidence and clarity. It requires your integrity and passion on display. The key to getting it perfect is to practice it over and over again to make it smooth and well-rehearsed. It is the single most important tool you are using to convey the brilliance of your idea and this is how you can make the most of it!