We know that making pitches to potential investors or customers can be nerve-wracking, so here are seven tips to help you get prepared:
Know your numbers. Familiarize yourself with the basics: things like yearly sales (volume and dollar amount), cash flow projection and net worth.
Know your business. You should be able to describe your business model, explain what unique need your small business fills, who your competition is and your marketing and sales plan – to name a few.
Research your potential investor or customer so you can speak accurately to what they’re looking for – and so you know what issues may arise.
Act natural! Pitching your business is certainly something that can feel intimidating. But be professional, friendly and try to relax! Your investors are looking for someone great to work with as well as a great business to invest in.
Practice in front of your business partners, trusted friends or family or even in front of your mirror. This will help you pinpoint strengths or missing pieces, and give you confidence if you need to go “off-script.”
Be concise. You might have five minutes to make a pitch, or you might have 30 seconds. Prepare a few pitches of varying lengths that get the point across and sound compelling.
Put yourself on the other side. If you were being pitched to, what questions would you ask? Make a list of these questions to help you become better prepared.
Dragons’ Den is calling on all aspiring entrepreneurs to present their business pitches for a chance to be featured next season on CBC. Auditions are starting on February 10! Auditions will be open to the public, as producers hit the road visiting Canadian cities coast-to-coast in search of the country’s best business ideas in need of a Dragon investment.
The audition tour welcomes participants of all ages, with businesses at any stage of development. Hopeful entrepreneurs should prepare to pitch their concept to producers in five minutes or less. If they show the producers they have what it takes to pitch in the Den, they could be invited to Toronto to face the Dragons. Prospective pitchers are encouraged to apply online and bring a completed application form to the audition.
If you’ve never developed or given a pitch to a venture capitalist before, you might not be sure what sorts of questions you should prepare for. When getting ready for your small business pitch, try to have answers ready for these five common questions:
Explain to me what your business is all 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’s 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 target market and why will they buy from you?
What does your venture/management team look like?
Though these are five of the most likely questions, every investor will have his or her own set of questions for you. You can’t prepare for every question, but you’ll get so used to pitching your idea that you’ll be ready for anything.