Five things you need to do if you want to be taken seriously by investors

Eden Gillespie

Investors see and hear lots of product pitches – a lot of them with the same-old spiel, delivered in the same-old uninspiring way.

Luckily, there’s a few things you can do to break through the noise and grab their interest.

Here’s five ways to make cashed-up business people care about what you’re selling.

Show that you’ve thought about the consumer

There’s no sense pitching a product that ignores consumer demand or doesn’t target a particular market.

While it’s true that often a consumer doesn’t know what they want until they discover it – like Uber for example – ignoring your market isn’t wise and will turn off financers.

Investors want a safety net and are unlikely to hand over their hard-earned cash if they can’t see your product being sold. So be sure to identify your consumer in your business pitch.

Be clear and keep it simple

Don’t make your pitch so complex it bores your investor and makes their mind wander, otherwise, at the end of the meeting they'll have no idea what you’re selling or who the market is.

Keep it simple and engaging. Of course be professional, but use humour to entertain them and ensure that you show your passion for your product. This way an investor will be less hesitant to invest if they see you’re determined to work hard.

Have a well-thought-out business plan

Don’t meet with any potential financers until you have a clear and well-researched business plan. Certainly don’t show up with the expectation that you can wing it and they’ll still throw their money at you.

Spend time thinking about your product, your consumer, stakeholders, finance and sellers and suppliers.

As most startups are said to fail in the first few years, you need to inspire confidence in your investor, and you do that by showing them that you’re prepared.

Ask more people for smaller amounts of money

Don’t ask people for exorbitant amounts of money unless they seem willing to unload their cash or are interested in contributing on a greater scale to your startup.

Remember, it’s more probable that people will invest small packages of money rather than take a huge financial risk.

Be prepared to comb your network and reach out to a few people in order to get your product off the ground.

Ensure you have an exit strategy in mind

Whether you plan to merge with a smaller business, sell your idea to another entrepreneur or liquidate your business, ensure you have a smart exit strategy. 

This shows investors that you’re covering all bases and are realistic about how difficult it is to make the bank with your product.

They’ll also want to know how to cut their losses if they’re involved in your business, and will be (rightly) horrified if they ask you about your exit strategy to find you don’t have one.

Keep in mind, if you demonstrate you care enough to prepare, chances are, they’re bound to care more about what you’re selling. Good luck!

Eden Gillespie

Eden Gillespie is a Sydney-based freelancer who writes about politics, travel, media and marketing.

Twitter: @edengillespie | Facebook.com/edengillespiejournalist | Website: medium.com/@edengillespie

Image: Official Shark Tank website.

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