So you have a critical pitch meeting on the horizon?
It would be best if you were prepared for it. Investors, VCs and funds can completely change your startup's path, so it's not something to take lightly.
Besides this being an important meeting - you probably guessed that already - you need to be prepared for tough questions from possible investors. Please don't underestimate this part, since they'll put your startup to the test.
And that's something to keep in mind and be ready for.
So today, we're going to talk about how to prepare your startup pitch.
Get Your Numbers Straight
A good startup pitch is grounded in reality. While stories and amazing teams can sell something really well, if you really want a successful pitch you need to deliver on the numbers as well. Make sure you analyze your:
Return on Investment
Cost per acquisition
And any other financial metric that might be important for an investor, before you start writing the pitch itself.
Yes, there's an art to engagingly presenting numbers, so you need to be mindful of how you insert numbers in your pitch. A cold opener with your financial predictions can do. But for starters, you need to make sure you have the numbers available for the pitch.
Read (About) The Room
Understanding what an audience responds well to is a skill you'll likely develop after doing some public speaking. Regardless of how good you are at it, though, it would help if you still kept audience feedback in mind throughout your presentation. Understand what makes them tick when they like something you're saying, and double down on things that a room responded well to. In a similar note, try to think about interactivity throughout your pitch; it can go a long way in engaging an audience.
However, that's not the only thing we want to talk about in this section.
Reading about the room you'll be in is just as important as reading the room while you're pitching. Knowing who the people in the audience will be and finding common points of interest to spice up your pitch is a guaranteed way to get their attention.
This is especially important if you're pitching to a smaller number of people, and you can interact with them afterwards.
Tell A Story
Don't get us wrong - getting technical is extremely important when talking about your startup. If you're getting researched for an exit, you'll need to know the ins and outs of your product. If you're talking to your financial advisor, you'll need to get technical.
It's an unavoidable part of running a startup.
But that doesn't mean you can make due without a story.
And that's especially true on the first pitch to any audience. It would help if you found the "why" behind your business, understand your values as a company, and tie them back into your history. That's how you get a good story.
And it would help if you had a good story, because no matter who you're pitching to, they're still human beings. And the best way to keep an audience of human beings hooked is to tell a good story.
For example, you could focus on the problem you're trying to solve, framing the benefit your startup can bring in this world. Similarly, you can focus on how you got your startup's idea and what obstacles you had to overcome to get where you are now.
Regardless of what you focus on, it's essential to tell a good story. And if you have it all prepared, but don't have anyone to pitch to, we'd love to have you over at the Wolves Summit, in March. You can sign-up here to meet with veteran investors and VCs to help you take your startup to the next level.
Visuals Matter As Much As Content Does
Even if you have flawless numbers that you can deliver as part of an engaging story, that doesn't excuse a poor slide show.
Incorporate your brand identity into a PowerPoint presentation. Feature your logo, and spend time crafting beautiful slides.
It may not seem that important - but it's a clear proof of your dedication to the pitch meeting. And it's also another element that can keep people engaged in your presentation.
Here's a rule Guy Kawasaki came up with to help you design a killer presentation - the 10/20/30 rule. 10 is the ideal slides number, 20 minutes is the ideal time spent on the presentation, and 30 is the perfect font size so that anyone in the room can see what you're talking about.
Only One Person Should Talk
Cohesiveness is essential in a startup pitch. When everything is delivered in the same manner, with the same tone, it's much easier for the audience to understand your startup as a whole, just like you do.
That's why the CEO is the person who should do all the talking.
And we know what you're thinking - isn't finance better explained by the CFO?
It could be. In a financial-only presentation.
But for your startup pitch, when you're delivering a run down of your entire business, it's important that one person delivers all the information. And if the CEO can't cover tech, marketing, finance and sales well enough, then it's probably time for a new CEO to take the reins.
That's because one person talking isn't just about cohesiveness. It's also about trust in a startup's leadership. When the audience can see that a CEO has a deep understanding of their entire business, it's much easier to convince them to trust your startup's future.
And in turn, convince investors to jump on board with you and help you scale.
Learning how to prepare your startup pitch is a process. Even if you follow all the steps you read today, you might still notice things you could be doing better. That's because pitching isn't a science; it's more of an art that you get to develop throughout your career as an entrepreneur.
And that's fine - it's a process any startup CEO has to go through.
But it's also something to pay attention to and be proactive in.
Because at the end of the day, the best startup pitch is the one that puts your business in the best light possible.