With the economy booming, investors are investing more in businesses than in the past few years.
No matter the type of investor, they need to be confident that your business will attract and retain customers.
Any investor is looking for the lowest risk with the highest return as quick as possible.
Proven business management skills are what bank managers look for in a presentation. They want to know that five years from now, you can still be at the helm and successfully guiding the company forward. Showing some initial cash flow from revenues and limited costs has a better chance of interesting investors than a business plan that forecasts large returns in the future.
Investors are normally looking for one of the following three things to be of stand-out quality. Ideally, all three.
1. The team - It will be important to show how you have the right team with the most relevant experience and skills
2. The idea - If your idea will have a truly huge impact on the world technology that will revolutionise how we live, then they’ll probably be interested in investing
3. The market - Is the market huge? Or is it niche-buy, very profitable, and so on
These considerations are important to prepare for and to tailor your presentation around.
There are many investors and many types - angel investors and venture capitalists, for example - and each has specific ways of working which must be adhered to. Find an investor that suits your product or market.
Before even considering pitching, create the following:
1. Executive Summary
2. Business Plan including financials:
If relevant, investigate and do the paperwork for E.I.S & S.E.I.S for tax breaks – this is hugely important to investors, as it makes it tax-efficient investments.
Use a story structure to frame your story. The suggested story flow below can help focus what you want to tell an investor, in an order that interests them and retains their attention.
1. Title – State what it is you are doing, including a big benefit statement for your customers, for example
2. Case Studies -‘Meet John’ – clearly explain what your customers’ stories are, pain points, needs, desires, etc.
3. Market size - How many people like John are there? Make the investor excited about the market potential
4. Solution – What have you created for this gap in the market?
5. Traction and engagement – Your early successes
6. Team – Why it’s the best team to make the business successful
7. Business model – Where the revenue is coming from
Looking to the future
8. Market plan – Now and in the future
9. Customer segmentation – Show you know who your customers are
10. Customer feedback – Give early quotes/testimonials – again, video is best
11. Competitive landscape – Who your competitors are
12. Competitive differentiators – Why you are better than your competitors
13. The Ask! – What you need in terms of investment
14. Summary – Top three things you want them to remember
A well-designed presentation can give you an edge over other SME’s that are pitching for investors’ or banks’ money.
First of all, choose your presentation software. Everyone knows about Microsoft PowerPoint, but there are new alternatives out there that you can also use - Google Slides and Prezi are two of the most popular.
Although most of us are not designers, there are still a few tips we can use that will seriously up our presentation design game.
1. Keep text to a minimum – think headlines not paragraphs. Your audience can read quicker than you can talk so don’t have your script on the screen.
2. One thought at a time – only have one main thing on the screen. Any more than this, and you start to lose people
3. Use colour wisely – Pick a complimentary colour palette and use it consistently. Use Adobe’s complimentary colour wheel to get yourself a set of colours that go together well
4. Use great photography – invest a small amount of money (£5 - £30) into purchasing professional quality images from somewhere like istockphoto. Great images help make your presentation stand out
5. Fonts – use a business-style font that sets the right tone. Use it consistently, but don’t be afraid to use another font in certain places to highlight a word or two
If you’re looking for investor interest for your business this year, these tips will work wonders to outshine the competition and get the funding your ideas deserve.