Approaching investors can be a nerve-wracking experience, but being prepared gives you a great shot at success. A recent survey found that nearly half (44 percent) of Canadian entrepreneurs have been turned down by an investor. Sixty-eight percent of these entrepreneurs didn’t create cash flow statements to take with them and 35 percent had no business plan to present. One in 10 people don’t prepare anything at all for a meeting with investors.
Don’t get caught unprepared. Here are five ways you can make sure your investors say yes.
Keep it concise.
It’s tempting to cram as much information as possible into your presentation, but too many unnecessary details can drown out the important data points. Keep it simple to keep your potential investors interested. Limit yourself to a maximum of 10 minutes and 10 slides so you don’t end up with glassy-eyed stares. Respect their time by delivering a concise pitch that covers the main points but allows room for questions if they are interested.
Tell a story.
Craft your pitch into a story rather than a dry presentation. While data-driven information is essential, potential investors need to feel engaged emotionally, so telling them the story of your business — and showing the passion that you bring to it — can help seal the deal. Choose a few evocative details or anecdotes to share but stick to the time limit, while making sure you have described your product, service or concept clearly so they understand everything your idea involves.
Know your market.
Show that you know exactly who your idea will reach and that you have a clear grasp of the potential market. Having a solid business plan shows that you’ve given serious consideration to all aspects of your pitch and you can show an investor why your product or service is unique and fills a demand.
Be data driven.
Investors want to see an exit strategy so they know they’ll get a good return on their investment. Have a solid cash flow document on hand and use Square Analytics to show sales history to back up your projections.
Numbers are important but without enthusiasm and confidence, the data can get lost. Practice, practice, practice before your pitch. If you’re prepared to answer tough questions about your business plan — and you know your competitor analysis and market research inside and out — you may just be on the road to a yes.
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Photo credit: “Women In Tech - 72” by WOCinTech Chat, Flickr, CC by 2.0, cropped from original.