One thing nearly all start-ups have in common, is that sooner or later, they are going to need a cash injection and you are going to be the person who will need to do the asking!
So, if you’re not used to having to present yourself and your business ideas to a group of influential people – or maybe only one influential person – you will be in need of some good advice.
We asked a number of entrepreneurs, some big and others small, what their secrets were when it came to giving the right pitch and how to pull it off…here was their advice.
- BE PASSIONATE, MAKE YOUR LISTENER CARE
No matter what else you do in this presentation, you need to sound interested.
If you sound like robot, droning on in a monotone, then the only result you are likely to achieve in your audience is instant sleep!
One entrepreneur swears by recording themselves speaking and then playing it back. This doesn’t just help as an aide memoir to make memorizing the speech better, but it helps you hear exactly what your listener does.
Listen to your speech pattern, your pronunciation. Does it sound clear enough? Can you even be understood? Are you speaking too fast or too slow?
Better still, video your presentation on your phone so you can watch it back. What’s your body language doing in the presentation. What are your hands doing?
If you are nervous or clam up, don’t panic, but take the time to compose yourself and think about what you are saying.
- STICK TO THE FACTS
Enthusiasm is great whilst giving a pitch, but it should never spill over into make belief, wishful thinking or fantasy.
Your potential investors want to know the simple facts, thank you. They do not want to hear about some hopeful sounding figures you have plucked out of nowhere.
Yes, there is a place in your business plan for projected sales and you need to know these numbers.
But the chances are, they will be more interested in knowing about the sales you have already made. Likewise, if you have any other businesses currently in operation, you should make sure that you know all the facts and figures about them too.
Your investor is looking at you as a viable entity to invest in. They will want to know if you are trustworthy with their hard-earned cash. If you can prove that you have turned a profit in some other capacity, this would be a good time to mention it.
- DON’T EVER ARGUE BACK
We hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the chances are that your pitch will fail, at least initially, to get an investor.
If (or maybe should that be when) this happens, don’t despair. But also, resist the temptation to get drawn into an argument about the particulars.
Debating is fine, but know where to draw the line. Just because you are not getting the investment now, doesn’t mean that it will never happen and it is good business sense, as well as common courtesy to remain polite.