Richard Reed, co-founder of JamJar Investments, shares three fundamentals that’ll leave prospective investors swooning after your pitch!
I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the pitch process from both sides of the table – as a startup and as an investor. To share my experience and advice, I’ve teamed up with Plusnet to be an ambassador for this year’s Plusnet Pioneers campaign: an advice and support programme aimed at helping startup business owners as they build and grow their companies.
Here’s my top tips to help get investors to back your business:
Prototypes are vital
It seems simple, but it is absolutely crucial to show investors a great idea or prototype during your pitch. It’s amazing how many people don’t do this. Take the product to the investor meeting and get it out on the table. If it’s a website that you need to show them, bring a laptop and make sure that you show the investor everything on the website that they need to see.
During a large majority of pitches that I’ve sat through, no one shows me the product or service that they’re talking about which absolutely astounds me! A lot of the time, I have to ask to see the product. If you really want to impress an investor, make sure that your product is in clear view at the beginning of the meetings and throughout the entire pitch.
Confidence is key
Having confidence and being confident are two very different things. You need to project a self-assured image to engage and appeal to potential investors even if you aren’t the most confident person. Showing that you have a mission for your business that encapsulates a really courageous goal is essential to your pitch success.
At the start of one of my most recent pitches, the owner sat down and said, “our vision is to be the biggest consumer brand in the world of death.” With a confident opener like that, we couldn’t help but sit forward and invest in their business because his confidence revealed something that we hadn’t heard before. It was a big, sharp and edgy statement that was spoken with bold confidence that we couldn’t ignore.
Put your strongest people forward
You only have one chance to make a lasting first impression, which means having your best people up front is for both your benefit and your potential investor’s.
A little while ago, we passed on a business because the chief executive and the founder didn’t come to the meeting. The people that came were fine, but they didn’t have that founder drive that is really what an investor is looking for. There needs to be a really high level of passion and enthusiasm from your pitches that can only authentically come from the top of the business.