Launching a successful startup tends to require a lot of funds, making the goal of attracting investors one of the most important tasks for any startup founder. When you only have minutes to sell a vision that has taken you a lifetime to develop, though, convincing investors to part with their hard-earned money can often be a tall order. In this article, we’ll take a look at several helpful tips that you can use to overcome this challenge and successfully pitch your startup to investors.
Create a Pitch Deck
It isn’t enough to get up in front of investors and explain the vision of your startup using your words alone. Experienced investors expect a certain level of professionalism and attention to detail that is difficult to reach when all you have to show is yourself and a pre-prepared speech. Instead, every startup pitch should include a well-prepared pitch deck that will serve as a supplemental source of key information and a display of your company’s commitment to professionalism. A good pitch deck can include a number of different elements, from videos and animations to graphs and data and beyond. If you aren’t sure how to get started creating a pitch deck for your startup pitch, examining pitch deck examples of successful companies is a great place to start.
Manage Your Time Well
The only thing worse than a startup pitch that runs too long is a startup pitch that is entirely too brief. Investors are busy people, and wasting their time by rambling on isn’t likely to win you any points. At the same time, though, it’s also important to ensure that you make the most of the time you have available and avoid presenting a pitch that is so brief that investors view it as lacking. Your investors may determine for you how much time you are allotted for your pitch. If not, it’s a good rule of thumb to create a pitch that is no more than twenty minutes long. However much time you have available, manage your time wisely and make sure that you develop a pitch that is long enough to cover all relevant points without venturing into excess.
Provide Your Investors With a White Paper Explaining Key Points and Data
Investors often need a little time before they are able to make a decision, and providing them with a white paper that they will be able to reference long after your pitch has concluded is an excellent way to ensure that they have all of the information you want them to know. To create a white paper that will be as effective as possible when it comes to selling investors on the potential of your startup, you don’t necessarily want to just create a written copy of your pitch. Instead, try to present the information and data from a fresh and interesting angle that will give investors a reason to want to read through it.
Tell the Story of Your Startup
Presenting investors with important data regarding your startup is certainly important, but keeping them entertained and engaged is equally vital. You don’t want to get so bogged down in facts and figures that you risk boring your audience. Instead, use your pitch as an opportunity to tell the story of your startup, sprinkling in relevant points of data along the way in the places where it is appropriate to do so. Investors may not attend startup pitches for the purpose of being entertained, but if they aren’t entertained then they aren’t very likely to become enthused about what it is that you are offering them. Structuring your pitch in the format of a story is a great way to ensure that your investors are engaged and paying attention throughout your entire pitch.
Focus on the Unique Value of Your Product or Service
Most investors have no interest in investing in a company that offers products or services that are indistinguishable from everything else that is already on the market. If you are passionate about what it is that your startup offers then you obviously feel that it is unique and set apart from what is already available. Now it’s your job to convince investors of the same. Make sure that your pitch emphasizes the unique value proposition of whatever product or service that your startup provides in order to excite investors and convince them that your company is one that is actually worth supporting. Also, you can create a differentiation between your startup and a small business to provide clarity about how your startup is better than a small business.
Display Your Passion and Enthusiasm
If you aren’t passionate and enthusiastic about your startup then investors aren’t going to be either. Keep in mind that investors are investing in you as much as they are your company. They want to see that you have the energy, drive, and passion to power through whatever obstacles your startup will inevitably face. This doesn’t mean that you should fake over-the-top enthusiasm in your pitch. Rather, you should avoid these pitch deck mistakes and present your pitch in a way that allows your natural enthusiasm to shine and in a way that lets investors get to know you a little bit as a person.
Develop a Strong Closing Statement
Keep in mind that the words you leave your investors with as your pitch comes to a close will be the ones that they remember the most. The end of your pitch should include a brief yet compelling summary of why your startup is a company worth investing in. You certainly don’t want to stumble through the end of your pitch or conclude it in a way that is unsatisfying. Once you’ve conveyed the entire story of your startup, covered all of the relevant information that needed to be covered, and filled the time that you have been allotted, drive your point home one final time with a strong closing statement that summarizes the most impactful arguments for why your startup is a worthwhile investment opportunity.