Raising venture capital funding can give you the edge to be a major player. But with so many companies scrambling to grab the ears of investors, what's the best way to make your business stand out?
Consider these points when presenting your company:
- Have a solid business plan. A plan should cover what problem your business solves, who are the customers, the management team and the competition, and spell out projections for cost and revenue. Keep it short; no one will read a plan longer than 20 pages.
- Giving a professional presentation is key to impressing investors. Learn PowerPoint – it's a business-meeting standard.
- Be prepared to answer any and every question about your business and be willing to open the books to potential backers.
- Ask the investors how they are going to help you besides opening their checkbooks.
Give your pitch a test driveFind out how you will be perceived by potential investors. Take an online test and get evaluated on your company's strengths and weaknesses
Plan for successLearn how to write an effective, concise business plan that provides the information investors want to know.
Say it with PowerPointCreate a short, effective PowerPoint presentation that will provide investors with the information they're looking for in a concise and interesting way.
Polish your public speakingYou will need to communicate your vision and passion to investors; they are investing in you as much as your company.
- Angel investors (groups of individuals who make investments as opposed to venture capitalist firms that manage funds in the billions) are a good route for a startup that hasn't received any outside funding yet. Having angels looking out for you will also help to impress VCs.
- One page of financial projections is enough. Investors want to see basic data such as how many customers you're shooting for, but don't have the time to wade through pages of Excel spreadsheets.
- Set realistic goals in your pitch that show you know the market and how tough it is. Having sales projections of $100 million in the first year won't impress investors and will make you seem naive
- Keep your presentation to between 30 minutes and an hour. Putting investors to sleep won't help your cause.