By Samantha Garner | June 9, 2012
Making a venture capital – or “VC” – pitch presentation is good practice for any entrepreneur. But before you start, you need a good elevator pitch presentation.
What is an elevator pitch?
Basically, it’s a a well-rehearsed and super compelling statement about your company, what it does, and why it’s so great – in under one minute. Think about a scenario in which you’re in an elevator with a potential investor. A few seconds isn’t a lot of time to make a good impression and generate interest, so writing and rehearsing your elevator pitch is a great exercise. You just never know when you might use it. You should have at the ready anytime, anyplace anywhere.
Building your venture capital pitch
Now you’ll need to build an effective presentation to give to investors. If you’ve never done a presentation, or would rather do jump out of a plane than speak in front of an audience, now’s the time to develop this critical skill. If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you are the company, at least at start-up. You’re the face of the company, everywhere you go. Get comfortable with meeting new people and telling them about your new venture. Join a networking group or a local speakers’ bureau to get you “time on your feet.” From there, you’ll have the confidence to speak to a group of people who could potentially make or break your company with their investment. Don’t let nerves get in the way of your success.
There are many sources to help you create a powerful venture capital pitch presentation, but they all agree on a few things. Common tips are: keep your presentation short, don’t read from the slides, be well-rehearsed, and know your material inside and out. The following outline is a common VC pitch content guide.
- What is the problem your company addresses?
- What is the solution you propose?
- Describe your business model.
- What do you do that’s unique, special, or patentable?
- Describe your marketing and sales plan.
- Who is your competition?
- Who’s on your team?
- What are your financial projections?
- What is the current status of your business, and milestones?
- Summary and “the Ask” – or, how much money you’re requesting and why.
If you’ve never developed or given a pitch before, you might want to find an experienced entrepreneur or venture capitalist to help you organize a presentation. Practice on friends, family members and other business owners. Be prepared to answer the following five questions:
- Explain to me what your business is all about (this is the classic elevator pitch question – tell me about your company, what you do, why you’re so special – in the shortest possible amount of time).
- What will prevent others from doing what you’re doing – what is your competitive advantage?
- What are you going to do with the money you raise? Or how will the money you raise help you achieve your goals?
- What’s your marketing strategy? Who’s your market? Why will they buy from you?
- What does your venture/management team look like?
These are common questions, but every investor will have their own questions for you. You can’t prepare for every one, but you’ll get so used to pitching your idea that you’ll be ready for anything.
Break a leg!
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