You might think that seeking investors during a recession is pointless. However, if you plan your pitch project the right way, you may just land the investors you need during these troubling times.
How to Create a Pitch Project that Gets You the Funding You Need
Not surprisingly, angel investors and venture capitalists are always looking for the next big thing. Similarly, entrepreneurs are looking for the money. So, how do the two collide? First, you have to have a pitch deck that investors can’t resist. They watch hundreds of presentations, and you need to make yours stand out.
What makes the difference in a pitch that’s taken and one that is forgotten? It varies, but there are some general things that make a potential business stand out among the rest.
Pitch Project: What’s a Pitch?
Of course, there are no guarantees. It’s possible your business will not be able to find the right investors regardless. However, if you handle the pitch project right, you have a much better chance. The pitch is the first impression investors get of your business, and you need to be sure it is done right. What is it though? It’s a fancy word for a PowerPoint presentation, frankly. Still, there is so much more. It is everything you give investors to convince them they want a piece of the pie you’re baking.
A quick search will turn up a ton of pitch deck examples that can give you some ideas.
Pitch Project: What’s the Point?
Honestly, the end goal is to get funding for your business. However, the immediate goal you should have in mind when starting your pitch project is to get you to the next meeting. Investment decisions are rarely made after the first meeting. A pitch deck can get them interested, but there is much more that goes into an actual investment decision than interest.
That said, if you don’t make an amazing impression with your pitch deck, you won’t even get that far.
There is room for creativity. But, some general information is necessary to any presentation.
This is one of our number one secrets. Not everyone will recommend this slide, but we believe it is essential for a couple of reasons.
This is a quick four or five bullet point summary of what the rest of the pitch deck explains. It answers the questions of what the company is, what you do, how you do it, and why you need to do it. This is important because it is the first slide potential investors will see after the cover. It will help investors decide whether they want to keep going.
It’s just a sample, but it’s designed to encourage them to view the rest of the presentation. In addition, if you happen to catch them when they do not have a lot of time, this slide makes sure they get all the information they really need right at the beginning. This could allow them to make a decision as to whether to meet you in person and discuss things further even if they can’t finish the slides.
Business Vision or Mission Statement
Don’t skip this. It should be a crisp, concise statement that does just what it says. It is there to let potential investors know what the vision or mission of the business is. You can talk about either what you want to become or what you intend to be. Some examples of mission statements from companies you may be familiar with include:
- Warby Parker-To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
- Honest Tea– To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.
- Ikea– To create a better everyday life for the many people.
- Nordstrom– To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.
Don’t let this slide become a barrier. A strong mission statement is the cornerstone of your presentation and an essential part of any pitch project.
Meet the Team
This is where you introduce yourself and your team. Don’t skip it. Include not only names, but also what each person contributes to the company. There should be pictures as well. Investors need to see who they are investing in. It makes a difference.
What Problem Does Your Business Solve?
For a business to work, it needs to provide a solution to a problem. This is where you explain what that problem is that your business plans to solve. What need will your business fill?
How Your Business Will Solve That Problem?
Right after you state the problem, you need to tell them how your business will provide the solution to that problem. Go into details. Use statistics and tell them how your product or service will actually make a difference.
What Are You Actually Selling?
Introduce your specific product or service and explain how it solves the stated problem. What makes it different from other options that may already be available? Have a prototype available if possible. If you cannot, then pictures are vital. If the product is still in development, use drawings.
Of course, if what you offer is a service it will be a little trickier. Do what you can to offer an example of what it is you offer and how it works. Diagrams, charts, screenshots if it is an online service, or whatever else you can come up with. Here is a great place to get creative.
First, use this slide to define your market. Who exactly is it that will be using your product? Who is it that will benefit from your business? What is the dollar market size?
Include graphs and charts that show how your company will be reaching the defined market.
If you are a business that has early customers, this is a slide that can be very powerful. For example, if you are offering a food or beverage product and some local grocers are already selling it in their stores, you would say so here.
Usually this has recognizable logos of well-known customers rather than just a list.
Of course, if your customers aren’t so well-known, or they are individuals, then names and testimonies can work as well.
Discuss Proprietary Technology
If you have proprietary technology, definitely highlight that. If it is still in development, use diagrams, graphs, and photographs to show the progress. Bring an example if you can.
Be sure to include any proprietary rights such as patents and copyrights.
Do not ignore or underestimate your competition. Lay it all out. Furthermore, be sure to address the following:
- Who your competitors are
- How your business is different
- How you give your business a competitive advantage
Also, research competitors thoroughly. Make sure you can answer questions about competition from potential investors. If you cannot answer the questions knowledgeably, they may conclude you actually do not adequately understand your market.
This is sometimes called a traction slide. If you have good stuff to put here, it can make a lasting impression. Truly, a great traction slide can be exactly what wins this for you. Include any of these that may apply.
- Early sales
- Website traffic
- App downloads
- Growth metrics
- Praise from the press
If you have any of these things available to report, do it.
Describe Your Business Model
Explain how the business makes money. Also, talk about if and how a customer retains value long-term. Remember, it’s also important to note what your pricing plan looks like. During a recession, this part is more important than ever. This is how your business will survive trouble waters. If they are going to invest, they need to see that it can make it through hard economic times.
Spread the Word
Outline your marketing plan. Investors want to see how you are going to get the word out. Additionally, you need to define what marketing platforms and channels you plan to use, such as television, radio, social media, prints, etc.
If you are already marketing through any of these channels, what have the results been like? For example, has one particular channel been more successful than the others? What is the cost to get a customer at this point? Compare and contrast that cost with the estimated lifetime value of a customer.
Investors may love your business idea. They may be on board with how it will work. Yet, without the financials to show the business will be profitable over time, it will not matter. Generally, they will want to see the following:
- Three- to five-year financial projections- this is basically a guess based on current numbers and trends as to how the company will do financially over the next 3 to 5 years.
- Unit economics
- Burn rate- how much money the company will lose, and how quickly, in the startup phase.
- Annual recurring revenue
- Total revenue and expenses
- Complete current financials if available and applicable.
- Key assumptions used to determine projections.
Make the Request
Near the end is the slide is where you tell potential investors exactly what you are looking for. How much money are you trying to raise? You can use a range. It does not have to be a specific dollar amount. You will also need to tell them how long you think that amount of financing will last, and what milestones you think you will be able to reach with that funding.
Then, detail how you plan to use the funds. Will you use them as working capital, for product development, or to hire new employees? This is where you show investors how their money will go to work for the business.
If you already have existing investors, tell them. Highlight any that may be well-known.
Other Hot Tips to Make Your Pitch Project Pop
How do you make you pitch project one they will never forget?
Make it Look Good
Use interesting fonts, mix up letter sizes, and add pictures. Make the most of color and design to ensure it is easy on the eyes. Keep in mind however, that it should maintain an air of professionalism. There is a fine line between interesting and gaudy. Also, you don’t want to distract them from the point. You may need to hire a professional designer to prepare your pitch deck PowerPoint slides.
Don’t Complicate Things
Send the presentation in PDF format to prospective investors. Do not make them use a DropBox or Google Docs link. That is an extra step that they may not mind, but why take the risk? Just make it easy.
Cut the Fluff
It really shouldn’t be more than 15 to 20 slides. After that, you may begin to lose their attention. You can always add more when you meet in person or add an appendix. Along these same lines, do not get too wordy on the slides. They will not read pages and pages, they want to be able to skim and get the information they need to make a decision as quickly as possible. Concise, sharp bullet points are best.
Do Not Date It
It’s not necessary, and if you forget to change it will look bad. This is especially true if you have been at it for a while. Investors will know how long you have been trying to raise funds.
Give Competition Due Attention
Do not underestimate the competition. In contrast, take them seriously. Whatever you do, don’t trash talk or belittle them. Just do your research, understand them, and know how your product can gain the advantage.
Don’t Overuse Acronyms
Of course, you want them to understand what you are talking about. Don’t make them think too hard. Too many acronyms they may or may not understand can cause problems.
Your Pitch Project Can Make All the Difference
If you need angel investors or venture capitalists on your side, the pitch deck is where you start. It is even more important during a time of economic recession. Investors are going to be extra picky about where they put their funds, and you need to convince them to choose your business to support.
Don’t forget to explore other ideas for funding during these trying times as well. Crowdfunding, grants, loans, and the credit line hybrid are all viable options. Get expert help to guide you through finding the best funding types for your business with Credit Suite.