In Search of the Perfect Investor Pitch
February 12th, 2013
Today’s blog article comes from Phil Holberton, winner of the 2008 Enterprise Center Business Plan Contest. Phil is an expert pitch coach and will share with you the secrets to putting together a compelling business pitch. He is the Pitch coach for all MassChallenge Finalists preparing them for their finalist award pitches and their one-minute pitch. He also is a facilitator for one of the Enterprise Center CEO Groups and runs his own consulting business, Speaking of Leadership.
Putting together an investor pitch can be a daunting task. Where do I begin?
First, take a look at your audience, who are they, do they understand the subject matter, what are they expecting? You can go on and on with these questions yet answers to these questions will help a great deal in preparing the structure and content of your presentation.
Before you get into the central part of the presentation, we need to grab their attention. Do I start with a quote; do I make an outlandish statement; how best do I grab their attention? I know what I don’t do – I don’t tell jokes. Making investor pitches is serious business and investors have seen them all – believe me. One thing for sure, you want to be is very authentic and transparent.
After you capture their interest, you dig into what your company is about. Investors will have many issues yet in the final analysis they are making judgments as to whether they will be able to make money. This analysis – some logic yet much emotional – covers a wide range of matters. Are there markets for this product/service, who are the customers, how much will they pay, what is the value proposition, do other companies provide the equivalent, and does the team have a breadth of knowledge and chutzpa to be persistent?
Audience members do not perform this analysis by getting direct answers yet they arrive at the conclusion by linking the points.
Our challenge as a business plan presenter is to connect the dots for them, by using the right mixture of facts, stories and passion when we convey the material.
Most of the mistakes made by entrepreneurs involve a disproportionate amount of time spent talking about the ins and outs of the technology and or the product. Why? That is what we know the most. We can speak for hours about every nit picking detail. This is human nature; we speak in terms of what WE know and love. Often we haven’t figured out all the details of the markets, how we are going to make the sale and how much we will charge. We tend to shy away from areas we are not yet comfortable with.
As you develop your pitch, the details of all the unknown aspects of your plan will begin to surface. That’s ok you are not alone. You just need to fill in the holes.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the entrepreneur sit down and prepare the presentation and then deliver it the first time at a very important meeting. This reminds me of an Offensive Coordinator for a football team drawing up the plays in the playbook and then going out Sunday afternoon to run them for the first time. This is a no, no!
And finally, perfect practice makes for a perfect performance.
Interested in learning more from Phil about Pitching to Investors? Come hear him speak!
128 Venture North Breakfast: In Search of the Perfect Investor Pitch
Friday, February 15th, 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM