The world is crowded with startups and almost all of them searching for a financial infusion from outside investors. It takes much more than a great idea and an impeccable work ethic to separate yourself from the pack and attract serious investors. You will likely only get one shot at your pitch and it is important that capitalize on that opportunity to maximize the chances that your startup will get the funding you need to get your company off the ground.
- Quantify Your Sales Numbers
Every investor wants to be sure that the company they are investing in has more than a modest chance at success. The best indicator of future success is your record of sales. Be prepared to show hard of evidence of any sales that you have closed thus far. Also, be prepared to present realistic sales projections.
- Show That You Have Skin in the Game
Potential investors need to know that you believe in your concept and that you are willing to dedicate every waking hour and every ounce of energy that you have to making your company a success. The best indicator of that is the amount of your own money that you have invested into your startup. If you aren’t willing to invest a substantial amount of your own money into your company, don’t expect anyone else to either.
- Get Your Legal House in Order
Before seeking outside investment, make sure that you have all of your legal ducks in a row. Secure any trademarks or patents that are necessary and set up your corporation according to all legal requirements. If there is a problem with the initial set-up of your organization, investors will run away, regardless of the quality of your idea.
- Known Your Competition
You need to know who your competitors are and how they are performing in your market. Be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and be prepared to explain why your product will be able to penetrate through the existing marketplace.
- Understand Your Customer
You must know your potential customer as well as you know yourself. Be able to explain to potential investors the profiles of people who are likely to become customers. Will you target women under 40 or small businesses, older men or households with children? Being able to drill down on the demographics of your potential customer base will help investors understand your company and your potential for growth.
- Prepare a Detailed Marketing Plan
Explain to your potential investors exactly how you plan to reach your target customer base. Prepare a detailed marketing plan and a detailed marketing budget so that you can show that you know how to get your product in front of the people who are most likely to buy it.
- Learn From Previous Pitches
Figure out what went wrong and what went right with your previous pitches and use those experiences to your advantage. Your pitch and presentation should get better with every meeting.
- Confidence is Key
You need to project confidence when you meet with investors. It needs to be obvious that you believe in your project and that you have the business skills necessary to escalate your startup. Investors like to work with people who know what they are doing but do not be overconfident or cocky. Be willing to accept constructive criticism and take helpful advice when it is offered.