You’ve spent days, months, even years developing your business plan. You have double and triple checked all the numbers. You had it designed by a professional. And now the day has come. All that hard work has paid off and you have the opportunity to present your plan to a potential investor or a group of investors. And while who you know is often a big advantage in business, in this case what you know is even more important.
Know your business plan
Once you’ve reached the stage of pitching your winning business plan to potential investors, chances are they’ve already read it, or at least some of it, and want to know. more. Make sure you know your plan inside and out. They may ask you to give a 30-second elevator speech, which is a high-level summary of your business, your customers, and what sets you apart. Or they may ask you to recite the entire summary from memory. The thing is, you have to be ready for anything. Be prepared to reiterate, elaborate or consolidate the content of your plan and anticipate any questions investors may have.
Know your audience
Many career investors will talk about their experiences, backgrounds, what they look for in business partners, what they like to hear during a pitch (and what they don’t), industries that interest them and more. That’s why it might be worth doing some research beforehand. Look for any interviews they may have given, articles or blogs they’ve written, and what’s on their social profiles. If you know someone in their network, talk to them. The better you know the audience you are going to present to, the more you can organize the presentation to appeal to them. For example, if you know a potential investor is a staunch environmentalist who believes in saving trees, you might not want to bring a dozen copies of a 30-page business plan to the meeting.
Know your customers
Investors want to know who they can engage with, and that includes your clients. Research your target audience thoroughly. Instead of presenting a bulleted list of your clients, you can engage investors by telling a story. Show them a typical day in the life of a client. Where do they live? What do they like to do? What are their needs ? And how does your product or service help meet those needs? If investors are invested in your customers, they may be more likely to invest in your business.
Know your data
When it comes to getting rid of their hard-earned cash, most investors just want you to show them the numbers. It wouldn’t be unusual for a potential investor to ask for market stats, revenue forecasts, or customer acquisition costs during a pitch. Make sure you have realistic data and can back it up. After all, no matter how much investors like you as a person or believe in your product, their main goal is to make money. Their wheels are still spinning as they try to figure out what return they can get on their investment and how long it will take.
Know your surroundings
You were so excited about being invited to a meeting with a potential investor that you glossed over the details. But taking a closer look can mean the difference between being well prepared and scrambling at the last minute.
For an in-person meeting, the invitation most likely includes the address, floor number, conference room name, or specific location. If you’re close enough and have time before the meeting, you might want to consider visiting the venue. And if you can get into the conference room, even better. If visiting is not possible, consider calling the meeting coordinator to ask specific questions about the meeting room. Either way, here are some things you might want to confirm before the big day:
- What is the size/layout of the room?
- Is there a large conference table?
- Is there a large TV or monitor?
- Will everyone be seated?
- Will you need a microphone?
- Does the room have an internet connection? Is it password protected?
- Are there outlets available?
- Will you need to bring an extension cord or an HDMI cable?
If the meeting is virtual, you will still want to prepare, but in a different way. With this type of meeting, you may have to work a little harder to keep your audience’s attention. Be prepared with these tips:
- Make sure the sound, picture and material are clear, crisp and attractive.
- Configure your space in advance.
- Check the lighting in the room at both day and meeting time so you can open or close shades, add extra lamps, or make adjustments.
- Make sure the background is clean and professional.
- Try to connect to the video platform you will be using to avoid any last minute connection issues.
- Check that your computer speakers and microphone are working properly.
- Practice with a friend or family member and record the presentation to see what it will look like from your audience’s perspective.
know your time
The last thing you want to do is prepare an amazing 30 minute presentation, only to find out that you only have 10 minutes to present. Even though the meeting invite may state a one hour meeting, things change and some meeting booking programs do not allow customizations. It wouldn’t hurt to confirm how much time you have to present so there are no surprises.
The bottom line
In the same way that it is useful to develop a business plan checklist when developing a business plan, it is also important to devote the same time and effort to creating a business plan. a strategy for presenting this plan to potential investors. Following these tips can be a great starting point. As with everything in business and life, knowledge is key. The more you know, the more prepared and comfortable you’ll be on pitch day.
For more ideas on how to obtain financing to grow your business, speak with a Chase investment banker.
For Informational/Educational Purposes Only: The opinions expressed in this article may differ from those of other employees and departments of JPMorgan Chase & Co. The opinions and strategies described may not be appropriate for everyone and may are not intended to be specific advice/recommendations for any individual. . The information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but JPMorgan Chase & Co. or its affiliates and/or subsidiaries do not warrant its completeness or accuracy. You should carefully consider your needs and goals before making any decisions and consult with the appropriate professional(s). Prospects and past performance are not indicative of future results.
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