So, you are a fresh startup or a new business looking to move into the next phase of growth. You have a great concept, service or product and plenty of enthusiasm, as well as investors lined up to pitch your ideas to. Now what?
Convincing investors to put their money into your small business is a task that even the best presenters often find difficult. Business owners are held accountable when sourcing investment in the same way that investors are held accountable by the financial institutions that lend them money. Observing the following steps when seeking investment funds could help increase your chances with a pitch.
Investors like business owners who have a plan and who also have good financial management skills. Do your research, identify your customers and competitors and have a strategy in place outlining how you will use the money you’re asking for. More importantly, create projections around sales, costs, cash and expenses, and be sure you’re measuring success and return on investment in some way. The clearer you are on the returns you’re expecting, the easier it will be for your potential investors to see what’s in it for them.
Show that your audience is interested in buying your product or services; better still, have a prototype of your product ready or some visual proof that can help a potential funder see why your audience will be attracted. This can help investors see if there’s already a market demand for your product or service.
Introduce Your Team
If you aren’t the only one working on your cause, introduce the members of your team and ask them to contribute their areas of responsibility to the pitch where possible. It makes a positive impression to see other people believing in your cause, and a team that not only has the relevant financial management skills but also the attitude to stick together through tough times can be a powerful convincing factor to potential investors.
The all-important Follow-up
Funding a new business is rarely a sprint, it’s a marathon. Most business owners seeking funding will usually need to present their proposal many times before finally gaining support. During this long and often arduous process, the best sources of feedback are members of your audience who can give you tips for future presentations.
Soon after your presentation, make a point to follow up with your potential investors and ask for their thoughts. Besides discussing your proposal, ask about how to develop your presentation style as well. A positive attitude that shows your willingness to accept criticism and feedback will show you’re willing to improve and will help in building trust.
Although raising money from investors may not be easy, in the first half of 2015 startups in India raised more than $3.5 billion in 380 deals, proving that funding options are out there there for Indian businesses, should you need to go down that path.