One of the top questions entrepreneurs ask their communication coach is how to deliver a winning startup pitch to potential investors. They want to know if there’s a magic formula to get an investor to say yes and buy into their dream and their business.
There isn’t a “magic formula” as such. However, to build a profitable pitch, some steps can be followed. Before we discuss those steps, let me put it out there, NOT EVERY BUSINESS IF FUNDABLE. There are no guarantees. People have brilliant pitches prepared but still get no funding. Hence, it’s safe to say that one part luck and one part alchemy go into the final outcome.
Now that the disclaimer has been given, there is a way to increase the chances of landing your pitch and getting funded. The point of focus of your story. You need to know the story you want to tell, prepare its script and then nail its delivery.
3 steps to build a perfect startup pitch
The very first step in creating your pitch is deciding on the story you want to tell.
It might be difficult to believe but, investors want the story of your business. They are not interested in focusing on the product or services during the pitch. Hence, it’s important to tell them about your short and long-term vision for your product and company.
Investors are buying into your business, so it makes sense that they want to know about your business. If they were buying your product, then you would’ve had focused on the product and services.
For your story to be effective, your pitch needs to convey your vision clearly. You need to paint them a picture and take them on a journey to make them feel like a part of your story. Consequently, they will envision your success as their own.
Now it’s time to write the script. Here you start to dig into how you tell the story. How do you word it so your vision is crystal clear? As you write the script, think about the words you’re using. What you choose to include or edit out is key to emphasizing certain ideas. In truth, it’s what makes your pitch so powerful.
The key is to stay concise. If it can be said in one sentence, then do that. Don’t try to use ten sentences to convey the same idea. Your pitch should be focused and pack a punch.
It’s understandable that editing is difficult. But, it’s a must if you don’t want to end up telling too much. The goal here is to not say everything in the first meeting. Although it sounds tempting. By saying too much, you can open things up to interpretation and may end up sounding like you don’t know what you are talking about.
On the other hand, being really specific and intentional about your words and what you say will show potential investors you have a real handle on your business. They will quickly see that you can communicate your vision effectively and that you know exactly where you’re going. For an investor who is considering handing over large sums of money, that’s crucial.
One more important step you need to take when you’re preparing to deliver a winning startup pitch: perfecting your delivery. You need to deliver your pitch with enough conviction and confidence that people will want to write you a big fat check with a lot of zeros.
Don’t take this step for granted. You may have a great business story, but unless you know how to tell it really well, you won’t get the desired effect from that meeting. That’s why practice is so important.
If you start trying to be funny or too personal, it won’t feel authentic. It undermines what would otherwise be an incredibly powerful pitch. So, keep it authentic, and make sure you practice enough that you can nail your delivery every time.
It’s important to keep in mind how long your pitch takes as you practice its delivery. If you have a 30-minute meeting with an investor, you shouldn’t pitch them for the entire 30 minutes. You should spend 10 minutes pitching, and then take the next 20 minutes for Q&A, because that’s where the money is.
THE PERFECT STARTUP PITCH GETS YOU MORE TIME
Remember, the purpose of your pitch is strictly to get more time. Real pitches aren’t like what you see on Shark Tank. In the real world, investors aren’t going to give you money after a 30-minute meeting.
So, keep that in mind, you just want them to give you more time. So, your job is to tell them whatever they need to know to help them get to a place where they’re willing to do that.
For investors, time is money, and they aren’t going to waste their time or their money if you don’t wow them with a great pitch. But, by following this three-step process—figuring out your story, writing your script, and practicing your delivery so it’s dynamic and natural—chances are high you’ll impress your investors enough that they take a closer look at you and your business. And, if they like what they see, they’ll invest…and the time you spent preparing your profitable pitch will have been well worth it.