You have an amazing idea for a business that’s going to change the world. Congrats! Now what? It’s time to brush up on your public speaking skills and start pitching your big idea to investors. We turned to a few successful entrepreneurs for their advice on doing just that.
The Skill Set: How to Pitch to Investors
1. Pitch yourself as much as your idea
During your first round of fundraising, your business is so young that you don’t have many hard facts or numbers to show potential investors. “At this point, they’re investing in you and your team,” explains Sheeva Sairafi, the founder and CEO of Local and Lejos. “You want investors to be on board with your big picture idea, but they also need to be on board with you as the person who can execute it. Show them that you have the necessary skills, experience and passion to be able to get it done.
2. Practice, practice, practice
When Christine Chang and Sarah Lee pitched their Korean beauty company, Glow Recipe, on Shark Tank, they found that the key to success was relentless practice. “We were confident that we knew the ins and outs of our business better than anyone, but it came down to succinct and compelling delivery,” says Christine. The only way to nail their pitch under pressure was to rehearse it as much as possible.
3. Let your passion show; convince them that this idea is what you were born to do
“They have to see your passion seething off of you and be convinced that this idea is what you were born to do,” says Sheeva. “For most successful entrepreneurs I know, their passion is what got investors on board. Whatever you’re pitching, it has to be something you can jump up and down and do cartwheels about. Whether you have that feeling or not will come across in meetings.”
4. Tailor your pitch to your audience
“The key is to customize your pitch to your audience, while staying true to your brand,” says Christine. Think about what’s most relevant to the specific person you’re talking to, and focus on those points. “Consider what types of entrepreneurs they’re looking to partner with, who they’ve partnered with previously and what they’re looking to get out of the partnership,” she suggests.”This will help you determine how to frame your pitch.”
5. Give them something to be excited about
Whether it’s a collaboration with a big-name brand or a new product launch, have something upcoming to share with investors that will get them excited about what’s to come. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a done deal,” says Sheeva. “Having something in the works, even if you don’t have it fully fleshed out yet, helps an investor see what you’re working toward. It shows that you’ve built something.”
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