Presenting Your Business to Investors Effectively

Presenting Your Business to Investors Effectively

by Rebecca Hall on 7 Jul, 2011

Whether you need a boost of cash to take your business to the next level or you are starting from scratch with a brilliant idea, presenting to potential investors is a nerve-racking but essential aspect of success in the business world.

Nervously preparing your notes on the way to a meeting? Cramming facts the night before that big presentation? Many people dream of being their own boss, but what are the key things to remember when looking for investment for your business?

First impressions count

It is not something that any of us are aware we are doing, and it certainly isn’t fair, but some psychologists believe that we make our minds up about people within seconds of meeting them. Although substance does matter over all, do take some time to consider key aspects that you can control when potential investors first meet you and your team:

Expression – It sounds obvious, but an open and friendly expression might go against your inner feelings if you are nervous. Take a deep breath and smile as you enter the room to give a positive impression.

Posture – Slouching narrows your shoulders, which may give the impression that you are not confident about what you are saying. Stand tall and proud: investors should feel inspired to work with you.

Dress to impress – Think about your outfit: dress at least one step smarter than jeans and trainers as a rule, but ensure you tone it to the investor’s own style, be it stylish and slick or trendy and casual.

Getting your point across

Communicating clearly is essential to ensuring investors gain a true impression of how exciting your business really is. It’s not just what you say, but also how you express it that makes a difference. If you are a non-native speaker and feel your language skills could do with some work, taking a Business English course or other formal training could be a worthwhile long-term investment. At a London school English training will help hone your presentation skills in advance of the meeting. Already a native speaker? A little extra training in business skills could work wonders.

What are you looking for?

Important as it is, getting your point across clearly and confidently might only get you so far. You need to communicate to your potential investor what it is you are looking for so they know where they stand. This needs to be one of the top priorities as soon as you start speaking.

Structure your presentation so that the listeners have a clear idea of:

  • What you will cover
  • Your beginning, middle and end points
  • Some idea of how long you are going to be speaking for (10 minutes, an hour or half the day?)
  • When they can ask questions (at any time they like or at specific pause points?)

Don’t forget the detail

These investors didn’t get to their current positions by being sloppy with the details. They will expect you to drill down to the core of your business’s finances and present them with a precise business plan outlining how you will use their hard-earned cash – and what they can expect in return.

Know your stuff

You know you are going to face some pretty tough questions, but preparation is vital to ensuring you’re not left bewildered at something that should have been obvious. Investors will expect you to be able to tell them about key aspects of your business. Questions such as: “Who are your customers?”, “What is your marketing plan?” and “What’s your professional background?” are all questions you’ll need to be able to answer.

Tips

Try out tough questions that could come up in interview situations to prepare for a pitch, or answer the 10 most likely questions venture capitalists might ask you in relation to your business.

About the Author

Rebecca Hall


Rebecca Hall worked as an independent mortgage adviser for 10 years before turning to financial journalism full time. She has strong links to the CAB advising families on mortgage refinancing.