With high unemployment rates and economic insecurity reaching more than 1 in 5 Americans, many people are turning their sights to self-employment and small businesses. When starting a small business you need to convince investors that funding you is the start of a beneficial relationship. The following will help you with getting past your nerves and some guidelines for making the best pitch possible and winning your investors.
One of the hardest things to do is tell people you need them and why. Add money into the equation and it’s even worse. However, almost every company must raise capital, which means investors. A lot of amazing ideas don’t get funding due to a stumble during the pitch and through lack of efficient communication. The only way to change that is to practice.
Recently the Initiative for Competitive Inner City teamed up with the Bank of America and the U.S. Small Business Administration in an attempt to make a launching point for small business owners which allows them to practice presenting. They do so at events hosted by Fortune magazine.
In the panel the practicing participants learned a few things:
Investors want answers to key questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- How is what you do different from others in your industry?
- Why do you need this money?
- How will you turn our money into more?
- Figure out how to explain your company and complex processes without extra fluff
- Don’t talk to investors as if to people in your industry, but as if to a client
- Meet with your long shot investors first to practice your presentation
“Getting a meeting is so important,” March Reich, President of Ironwood Capital, told participants. He also cautioned “don’t fail to exploit that meeting fully.”