How to pitch for growth finance

Potential investors have seen your business plan and are interested in finding out more about you and your business. A face-to-face meeting will be arranged: this is your chance to pitch and secure the growth finance you need. This guide will help you understand what you need to do and say to investors to encourage them to part with their money.

Who should attend

  • A team of three is ideal for the pitch: the owner, the sales director and the finance director.
  • You should all participate in the pitch because investors will be keen to see the quality of your management team and gauge their industry expertise and experience

How to prepare for the pitch

  • Put aside a lot of time to prepare
  • Research the investors you are pitching to; meet them before the pitch if possible; and determine their interests
  • You need to think of the reservations an investor will have about spending their money on your business: have a clear business strategy and know how to address their concerns
  • You have to show the investor why and how they will benefit from investing
    • Set out your terms. Include:
    • what is expected of each party
    • the kind of exit strategy available to investors
    • growth targets
    • any warranties and indemnities
  • The investors will want a question and answer session at the end: think carefully beforehand about what these questions could be and prepare to answer them
  • Consult with a financial adviser or specialist accountant before your meeting.
  • You are also well advised to speak with a legal expert.
  • Plan well. This way, you will not feel so intimidated when you pitch

What the pitch should include

  • Prepare a one-page executive summary with updates on anything relevant which has happened to the business since they saw your business plan
  • Your SWOT analysis detailing your company's strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities and threats available that apply, is at the core of the pitch
  • Market opportunities should be identified, as should a list of your customers
  • You need to be able to tell them what your USP is
  • You need to provide detail on your size, procedures, products, services and suppliers
  • Give the investors historical and forecasted details on your finances: prepare
    • balance sheets
    • cashflow
    • profitability over a set period
  • You need to keep financial targets about your growth potential realistic
  • Provide them with a holistic evaluation of the company and be clear about why you need investment
  • Don't be afraid to point out risks as well as benefits

 

Getting the delivery right

  • The pitch should last between 30 minutes and an hour
  • You need to engage your audience and give them plenty of relevant information
  • Present in a professional manner
  • If you are using Powerpoint, don't clutter up the screen with too much information
  • In case the technology fails, make sure to have paper copies on hand to give out
  • You have to show your enthusiasm, commitment and passion for your business and its future prospects
  • But be realistic about your goals
  • Your conclusion should re-cover all of the important points
  • At the end, find out when the investors expect to get back to you with a decision

Checklist

  • Put aside a lot of time to prepare, research and perfect your pitch - at least a couple of weeks
  • Consult with a financial adviser or specialist accountant before the meeting
  • Speak with a legal expert before deciding your terms
  • Have all of your information ready: forecasts, cashflow, profitability and SWOT analysis
  • Prepare a professional presentation - and be realistic and enthusiastic about your business's growth prospects

FAQ

What are the most common pitching mistakes: what should I avoid?
Make your pitch short, compelling and snappy, and avoid any technical jargon or verbose, complicated theory. Keep it to around half an hour, and don't overrun. Base it on real figures rather than hypotheticals, and make it real to the investors: give examples. Get them thinking about how your business could do something for them. Try not to rely too much on visual tools like Powerpoint, and instead use the pitch as a platform to present your team's skills along with the business's promise.

Resources

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