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5 ways to get better at pitching for investment
For some it comes naturally, but others really need to work on building their presentation skills. Especially when it comes to raising funds for a start up, early stage, or more established business.
If you're looking to unlock the high growth potential you know your business has, you will need to raise capital at some point, and this will most likely include pitching to potential investors.
The thing is, confidence is something that you can learn and once you've picked up some basic presenting tips, you'll have the tools you need to approach potential investors and raise the growth capital your business needs.
To help you get started, we've put together 5 things you can do to make sure you get better at pitching for investment.
1. Tell the story
All you need to do at this stage is tell the story of your business and who knows what that is better than you? How it came about, what's happened so far, and where it's heading in the future.
If you feel confident in the information you have to deliver, then you'll find that you have to think less about what you're going to say and focus on being natural.
2. Ask for advice
Present to people who aren't directly involved with the business and encourage them to ask questions. Someone on the outside may raise points and detect issues you hadn't even thought of.
Also, if you know anyone who's pitched to investors, it is worth asking them what their experience was like. Learn from their mistakes and build on their successes.
3. Watch other people
Attending live pitching events and competitions is a fantastic way to see how other people present. You'll see a number of varying levels and styles of presentations.
Take note of which attracted investment (or won) and which didn't. Then, decide for yourself how much of the decision was made based on the business (including idea, product, or service), or the pitch presentation itself.
Listen to the feedback the investors or judges give and take it into consideration so you don't make the same mistakes.
It's important to remember that not all investors are looking for exactly the same thing when it comes to making an investment decision, but there are fundamental elements of presenting that will make your pitch stand out for all the right reasons.
4. Watch the experts
Some people deliver presentations on a regular basis and are so comfortable doing so that they're able to be conversational and capitvating. (At least on the outside, and that's the part that potential investors see anyway).
They don't read from a script, nor do they recite from memory, they just tell a great story. If you're able to cover nerves, mistakes, and all the basis, you'll have an A-star presenting style - the rest is down to your content.
The TED Talks series is a great place to see some expert presenters (as well as some really interesting presentations). Click here to watch one of my favourites on the topic of presenting to investors by serial entrepreneur and so-called 'super angel' investor, David S. Rose.
It sounds like the obvious thing to do, but so many entrepreneurs seem to forget to do it! There are lots of different ways and places for you to practice too: on your own, in front of family, friends, and colleagues, or at live pitching events and competitions.
Now, there are pros and cons to each. For example, practicing on your own too much means that you don't get an authentic experience of presenting. On the other hand, you can make mistakes without being embarrassed. Family, friends, and colleagues may be biased and therefore not completely honest with their feedback.
However, you will be building your skills in a friendly and familiar environment. The third way is one of the worst AND best ways to practice - if you pitch before you're fully prepared and receive negative criticism or things go wrong, it could really knock your confidence. On the other hand, you're in the environment.
It's no coincidence that the phrase "practice makes perfect" exists.