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How to make a business pitch

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In this age of austerity, more and more people are starting up their own business. Coming up with an idea, having a unique selling point then fleshing it all out with a comprehensive business plan are all essential to the survival and growth of your enterprise.

However, without funding, it’ll all be an unaccomplished dream. Securing collateral from a financial institution is essential, but looking to private investors is also necessary in order to make sure you have enough cash for your projected turnover and growth.

Without a decent pitch, it’ll be tough to secure the much-needed financial resources that your business needs. Whether it is made via email, letter, presentation or conversation, your pitch needs to be engaging and informative.

Read on for more tips to help you secure investment thanks to a great pitch.

Do your research

It should go without saying that if you don’t know your audience or what makes your product/service stand out, it’ll be incredibly difficult to get people to believe in you, let alone pump cash into your enterprise.

Research the company or person you are asking for funding to make sure your idea matches their interests. And, be prepared for any questions they may ask you – it may even be a good plan to roleplay your pitch beforehand.

The elevator pitch

This style of pitching is so-called because you should be able to get your point across in the same amount of time as an elevator ride.

Present your business in a way that is short, sweet and straightforward. A wordy presentation and pages and pages of your business plan will not draw in potential investors – in fact, this is most likely to turn them off.

Investors need to be confident that your business will attract and retain customers and if they can’t grasp your concept in a short space of time, they’ll realise that your consumers won’t either.

In a longer business presentation, the elevator pitch can be used as the hook to capture the attention of potential investors.

Flesh it out with accurate info

Once you’ve briefed investors on your business, it’s time to flesh out the details with more in-depth information.

Don’t just hypothesise and expect people to believe what you’re saying – if you know your enterprise can turn over £1 million in net profit in the first year, prove it by backing it up with thorough analysis and figures.

But, also bear in mind that a company with cash flow, a track record and real-world experience has a better chance of gaining financial backing than one that forecasts elaborate, large returns.

The main thing you want to get across in your pitch is why the investors should part with cash to fund your enterprise. Ask yourself these questions: “What will they get out of it?” “What benefits will investors receive if they provide the necessary capital?” Investors will no doubt be asking themselves the same thing.

Your pitch should also include the following:

– Your business model
– Industry analysis
– Marketing strategy
– Overview of your competition
– Risks
– Financial projections
– Financial needs

Take your time

Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and even the biggest multinational corporations had to start somewhere.

Investors are typically wary of pumping cash into over-eager businesses that do not have the collateral or haven’t thought through their business projections carefully. Before asking for millions of pounds to pay yourself an executive salary or open up various departments in your company, prove how you can manage and handle the demand for a single product or service offering.

On top of this, perfect your marketing and sales strategies, as well as your operational procedure – a sustainable offering is much more attractive.

Be confident

When communicating with investors, using confident language – whether in an email, letter or in person – will help them to believe in you. Don’t go too over the top with hyperbole though and avoid using superlatives. Also, make sure all correspondence is error free – use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation and have a second pair of eyes run over everything that you send to investors.