3 tips to follow when pitching to investors
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Do you know the secret of a good joke?
Naturally, this particular one-liner works better in verbal form than in writing, but while it’s less funny here, that doesn’t make it any less true. Timing is vital. It shows that you read the room – that you understand the inferences and implications of a speech. It also shows that you know how to tell a story, which is one of the oldest and most crucial skills a human being can have. This ability goes well beyond the communication of anecdotes; it’s how we share ideas and values… how we convey who we are.
And this is as true for businesses as it is for individuals. Storytelling is how a company communicates its purpose, both externally and internally. Its success is determined by the story it tells as much as by the product it sells. Entrepreneurs and founders need to be good at telling their stories, especially when they’re in the process of securing funding. Here are the key strategies to adopt when pitching to investors.
1. Know your numbers, but breathe your story
Any entrepreneur worth their salt will know important company numbers and statistics like the back of their hand, including growth goals, projections, and capital requirements. But these are only table stakes: such knowledge will not distinguish you from others.
Investors don’t just buy numbers. They invest in people, and people come to life through stories. The best storytelling will weave a business into the larger fabric of society – illustrating how it fits into and can shape the world of tomorrow. Their key is to illustrate that it’s not a trick they want to miss. In a sense, you have to generate FOMO.
If your business has been in business for a while, an investor might wonder why it took so long to grow. It’s also best to answer this type of difficult question with a story rather than a number. You can explore the challenges of the past and demonstrate why they prepare you for the opportunities of tomorrow.
Related: This is the #1 mistake you can make when pitching investors
2. Use your deck wisely
A pitch is a common ally for those selling their stories to investors, but the game should be a companion, not a crutch.
Keep your ideas simple and digestible. The presentation is the back of the book, but you are its pages. Make sure your deck explicitly talks about three key things:
• Product Vision: The first objective is to describe the purpose of your product — the long-term challenge you solve and how this product will do it.
• Market Context: A good presentation will clearly explore a market’s opportunity, using solid data and financial projections to present the potential for growth.
• The people behind: People buy from people before they buy products. Even if you’re the face as the founder, it’s important to show others in the company who are going to make this all happen. Make the company human.
Related: The 5 slides you need to have in your pitch deck
3. Be the most positive person in the room
Realism and optimism are not opposites. Successful founders recognize the challenges of starting a business, but don’t let them dampen their enthusiasm. So when introducing and presenting, be the most upbeat person in the meeting. Enthusiasm is contagious and can spread through a field, a terrace and a room. Make sure optimism is part of the story you tell. The investor probably hears hundreds of arguments, and if you’re not excited, you’ll fall at the first hurdle. And if nerves start to shake, remember that you are extremely lucky: you own a business and have an idea. The people in front of you are appealing for the chance to have a slice of it.
From telling jokes to pitching investors, entrepreneurs should never underestimate the art of storytelling. More than product/market fit or a company’s financial projections, the story you tell – both about yourself as a founder and your company as a whole – is what will set you apart in the world. mind of investors.
Related: 8 tips that will help your storytelling deliver