How to nail a pitch that inspires investment

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The minutes before walking into a room of potential investors can be daunting. But one thing I’ve learnt in life, preparation drives confidence and everything else is beyond your control.

For those trailblazing small businesses looking to scale up by attracting investors, here are my three key tips to ensure your pitch hits the mark:

1. Tell a compelling story
Storytelling that demonstrates strong customer empathy is one of the defining skills of successful entrepreneurs. Some people think that technical brilliance, financial acumen, or strong networking skills are the most important founder traits. All of these are important but the most effective founders are differentiated by their ability to weave a compelling narrative.

Storytelling is a craft that can only be improved through practice, personalisation, feedback and repetition.

Like any good story, characters matter. The trick here is to describe your target personas succinctly yet with enough detail that investors identify with them. Clarify how your product or service is going to make the life of these characters better.

2. Find your super power
What is your superpower? This is a question that surprisingly stumps many founders. What is it that makes your company different from all the other small businesses and companies tackling your space? It could be the experience of the team, your intellectual property or a relationship you have in the marketplace that gives you an ongoing advantage.

There are very few spaces that are green fields right now. So assuming your space is an attractive market, you need to show why your business or your team is going to win.

3. Know your numbers
Numbers are your friend, your source of strength – if you know them.

This is typically where founders come unstuck during a pitch. An all too common scenario is where a founder has a very strong and polished pitch , but it starts to unravel during the Q and A section, when the investors ask about revenue, costs, debt, inventory, expenses, valuation and other facts and figures.

It’s equivalent to being the captain of an aircraft, you have to know how to read the instruments, otherwise you’re flying blind. If you can’t demonstrate a command of the numbers behind your business – both today and what you are shooting for six to 12 months from now – then you are not going to inspire confidence in potential investors.

Ultimately, these three tips will be for naught without preparation and rehearsing to instil confidence – not only in yourself but also in your potential investors. How much rehearsing is enough? Until it feels less like a pitch and more like your authentic narrative.

#SFPitchComp, will give three teams the unique opportunity to pitch their idea, and win up to $60,000 USD. More information can be found on the PitchComp site.

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