Startup founders know that securing funding early is critical to a company's long term success. As a result, there is a lot of pressure and stress when seeking investors and participating in fundraising rounds. Company leaders must ensure that they are completely prepared before diving in head first, so here are some tips to make a stellar first impression:
Send Teaser Information Beforehand
Although you will want to impress investors with a sound in-person pitch, it doesn't hurt to give them a sneak preview to amp up the excitement. Any teaser information should be sent just a few days before the big presentation. It is best to keep this preview short, including just a few snippets about some of the key data. You won't want to reveal too much, but you want to ensure that the information sent proves promising so that it piques the investors' interest.
Show Up Prepared
No matter how amazing your company is or how incredibly it is faring financially-speaking, the fundraising pitch has to be polished, rehearsed, and factually on point. Investors will quickly lose interest if they feel they are dealing with a leadership team that doesn't understand the market or the most critical business metrics. Of course, making the pitch too over the top, especially if the numbers aren't quite there will likely make it clear that you are trying to substitute flare for substance. To establish a long lasting investment relationship, being transparent, realistic, and concise will go a long way.
Know Your Numbers
It would be disingenuous to state that a company's past and present financial status are less important than the future. Granted, investments are often sought for the sake of creating a brighter future, but investors have to understand the capital that was available beforehand and how it was spent. The team pitching to prospective investors needs to know the company's budget and balance sheet like the back of their hand. Of course, they also need to explain the reasons capital is needed and the intended use of those funds to show investors why they would be making a worthwhile investment.
Anticipate Possible Questions and Concerns
One thing many leaders forget to do when preparing for the pitch is preparing for the questions that may arise during the sit down. There is often so much focus on finagling the numbers and making sure that the investors will be dazzled and amazed that the team forgets that they can't just memorize the important data. Everyone has to be able to analyze and compare it to their competitors and discuss the long term growth plans and the investment implications related to those goals.
Highlight Your Singularity
In general, investors want to be involved with companies that are innovative in some way. This uniqueness may be product-related, clientele-related, or perhaps related to the way the company handles its operations, among many other possibilities. The key is to demonstrate your company's singularity and how that translates to handsome returns down the road. This is where companies can get really creative with the pitch, and hopefully share their story in a way that entices those listening.