You’ll need several pitching hacks when presenting to investors. Pitching is a vital part of your startup life. It can also be a huge and lengthy learning curve. A luxury that many entrepreneurs don’t have.
As a startup or small business owner trying to attract investors, you have to be ready for every situation. You need to show the investors you have what it takes to grow big. Convincing them you can handle their money well will require proving your pitching skills are on point.
In this article, we will look at some of the hacks that you can use when pitching to investors, and accelerate your success.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Here is the content that we will cover in this post. Let’s get started.
- 1. Nail the introduction
- 2. Make your problem clear
- 3. Don’t aim to wow investors with your idea
- 4. Show you have a commercially viable idea
- 5. Anticipate your investors’ questions
- 6. Use a proven pitch deck template
- 7. Get the hard stuff out of the way before you present
- 8. Get to know your angels and VCs beforehand
- 9. Pay attention to where you are pitching
- 10. Focus on the lead investor
- 11. Skip the jargon
- 12. Focus on what success looks like for your startup and them
- 13. Demonstrate why now is the right time for your business
- 14. Be authentic and show passion
- 15. Close strong
- 16. Summary
Nail the introduction
One of the most important parts of your pitch is the introduction. It sets the tone for your entire presentation and can make or break whether or not investors are interested in hearing more.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your introduction is as effective as possible:
Get straight to the point. Investors don’t have time for long-winded warm-ups. They want to hear about what makes your product unique and why they should care about it.
Tell them how much money you need, how much profit they’ll make, and why you are better than everything else out there. Especially, why it will succeed where others haven’t.
Don’t be afraid to use a little humor, but don’t overdo it.
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Make your problem clear
The first thing you need to make clear is exactly what the problem is. Once you’ve done that, you can move on to explaining how your product or service will solve that problem.
Once you’ve made it clear what the problem is, try to provide some context around why the problem exists and who it affects. This helps investors understand whether or not they’re investing in a worthwhile cause, and one that you have really verified exists.
Even better if you can show that people are already paying money for a solution to this very urgent problem.
Next, explain your solution in as much detail as possible without getting too technical. You want to show investors that you know what you’re talking about without overwhelming them, or boring them to death. Understand these pitching hacks when presenting to investors.
Keep in mind that in fundraising, storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Don’t aim to wow investors with your idea
Experienced investors know that the idea you have now is going to come in a distant second or third when it comes to becoming a successful startup.
The idea and its timing do play their role. Though the problem you are tackling, and the team you have taken it on are far more influential.
- Highlight your team’s domain and business experience
- Show off other credible investors and board members or advisors you have
- Show the coverage you have on authoritative media sites and industry websites
- Demonstrate your grit and tenacity with examples of overcoming previous challenges
Show you have a commercially viable idea
If you’re looking to raise money, you’ll need to be able to explain how your business will make money. Investors want to know that they’ll get a return on their investment, and that means they need to know how much value the business can create.
You can begin by showing how large this market opportunity is. As well as how fast it is going to grow. If you are not talking about a business worth billions, and the chance to make 100x returns, it’s probably not worth their time.
After laying that foundation you have to show how you’ll actually make money. How you’ll secure customers, generate revenues, create enough cash flow, and be able to make profits. This is where even the most intelligent and talented technical founders often flounder when it comes to the reality of building a startup.
This will go even better if you can already show that you have customers, revenues, and strong unit economics.
Anticipate your investors’ questions
When you’re pitching to investors, one of the most important things you can do is to anticipate their questions.
Asking yourself what your investors might ask and having good answers prepared in advance will make you seem more professional and prepared, which is good for both you and them.
The first step is to think about what is most important to investors. Overcome as many of the most obvious questions and objections in your pitch and deck as you can.
Utilize an appendix to back up your bullet points, without being drawn into time-consuming rabbit holes.
Next list the questions you are most likely to get, and then prepare your rebuttals or answers and rehearse them. This way you can answer them confidently and clearly.
Don’t let investors interrupt you in the middle of your pitch. Keep control of the flow.
If you’re pitching an idea or product to investors, they’ll almost certainly have questions for you. This is normal, and it’s a good thing, they want to know more about the project so that they can decide whether or not it’s worth investing in.
Let them know they can ask questions at the end. Invite them to a second meeting if they are serious about investing, but need a lot more detail. Get these pitching hacks when presenting to investors lined up before you go in.
Use a proven pitch deck template
More entrepreneurs blow the presentation by having pitch decks that are too long or do not follow the right flow.
As an early-stage startup you only really need 10 slides. After that, you are probably decreasing your chances of funding with each additional slide you make an excuse to include.
After a couple of funding rounds, you may have enough going on to support a 12 or 16-slide pitch deck. Perhaps 20 slides if you have already acquired other startups, and have multiple product lines.
Get the hard stuff out of the way before you present
In some cases, when you are creating a whole new category that hasn’t been done before, it can take some education to get both customers and investors to get it.
Trying to educate them about this new industry, then why it is so important, the timing is right, and you are the right solution, all in a few minutes is near impossible.
Start dripping that education and information to them well before you present, so that they already get it when you are pitching.
Putting out regular investor updates on your progress is another way to do this. By the time you present you will already have shown them it is real, and that you can do what you say.
Get to know your angels and VCs beforehand
One of the most important things you can do is get to know your angels and VCs beforehand. It’s never too early to start networking and getting a feel for what kind of investors they are, and who they are as people.
This groundwork starts months, and sometimes years before you are actually ready to raise from that investor.
So, if you are raising a Seed round now, you should already be courting your Series A and B investors.
If you have failed to get ahead on this, the hack is to use those who already have those relationships, and get them to introduce you. Learn how to use this and other pitching hacks when presenting to investors.
Pay attention to where you are pitching
Pay attention to the event you’re attending and how it’s organized.
Is it a private meeting at their office? Is it on stage at a major event space? Or in a more boutique setting at a coworking space, or at your home via video chat?
Know the layout. Know who will be in attendance. Know the equipment.
If at all possible you want to have the opportunity to practice in that space, and with that equipment.
Focus on the lead investor
No one wants to be the first to bet on you. They will all want to know who has already committed to investing. You’ll be told to come back once you have a lead investor a lot.
So, focus on landing that lead investor. Once you have them, it will be far easier to fill up your round. Chances are high that they will make introductions to others to participate in this round, or following rounds as well.
Skip the jargon
When you’re pitching your business to investors, the last thing you want to do is get bogged down in jargon. You may just complicate your pitch and make it harder to understand.
Instead, focus on telling a clear and concise story that emphasizes your company’s mission and vision.
To do this successfully, you’ll need to practice your pitch beforehand so that it sounds natural when you deliver it. Be sure you’ve practiced several times and feel comfortable with your pitch, Get feedback and make changes as needed.
Even as you read through these valuable tips on how to raise startup capital for your company, check out this video I have created. Not only have I explained the process in more detail, but I have added more ideas you can use.
Focus on what success looks like for your startup and them
When pitching your startup to investors, it can be tempting to focus on the solution and product you are working on, and its features. Some investors may care about your mission. Though their interests are also tied to the financial performance of this investment, and what it is going to do to their career and reputation. What is investing in your startup going to do for them?
When you’re developing your pitch, think about how you’ll:
- Show off your key metrics
- Demonstrate your traction
- Give them confidence you can achieve your goals
- Show what’s in it for them
Demonstrate why now is the right time for your business
Many believe there is a lot of luck involved in startup success. A big part of this is picking the right time to launch. Being too early or too late can make it much harder. You should demonstrate why now is the right time for your business to succeed.
So, why is this the right time? Who else is doing this? Why have attempts at this failed in the past? How has the world changed since then? What is the outlook for this space going forward? Answering these questions is one of the most important pitching hacks when presenting to investors.
Be authentic and show passion
Passion persuades. Though you also have to be able to back that up with facts. Without great passion and grit, they are not going to believe you can stick with this long enough to generate the results they are looking for.
At the same time, while you should be optimistic and excited, they will know if you are being truthful and authentic.
There are many unknowns when it comes to building a startup. There are things you will need to come together to be able to make it. There will be things you will have to figure out as you go. Acknowledging these is not only important, but will give them more confidence that you understand this, and the opportunity to help with some of those needs. Even beyond the cash itself.
While your opening is important, how you finish your presentation will make or break you.
Finish strong. Make a clear call to action. Make a clear ask.
Be sure everyone has your contact information and knows the next steps to make that investment.
Pitching to investors is sometimes easier said than done. In fact, many have found they’ve needed to pitch hundreds of investors to get a single yes.
The better you can prepare for success, and hack your way through the learning curve the better.
Leverage these tips to get on the fast track to more yeses, so you can secure that funding and forge ahead with building your business. Learn how to use these pitching hacks when presenting to investors.
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