Having a great business plan is the first and important step when you pitch your business to investors. Many people have a great business plan and are very good in business but there’s no capital or anyone to invest in them.
It’s not easy on the side of the investors too to trust someone’s business enough to invest in them. Not in this Buhari season that everything is hard, LOL. If someone even gives you #1000 these days, the person has to be very nice. This Nigeria is hard abeg. Still, you need investors and honestly, you can get the right investors depending on how convincing and ready you are to face potential investors.
Don’t worry about it. You’ll get tips on how to pitch your business plans to your investors.
Table of Contents
11 Tips to Pitch Your Business to Investors
Be Real and Keep the Numbers Moderate
We’ve heard this phrase in different forms. Being real is important in business especially when you are presenting your business ideas to your investors. It’s very important to be realistic with your business plan. Don’t mention a ridiculous amount of money to business investors without enough justification that you’re the real deal. Do not over-bill your investors Biko. They won’t just walk away, they would RUN! Imagine if you are an investor too and someone is talking about needing 500 million Naira for a palm oil business, won’t you “Japa”?
Also, don’t be too “sweet-mouthed”. Show your investors the revenue growth, the outcome, the expected profits as well as the challenges you are most likely to face. Don’t ask for unnecessary funds, lower your expenses and cost. Start with a smaller scale and let your service to customers be within the ones you can reach and sell your goods to easily.
Be A Storyteller
The best approach to pitch your business to investors is through storytelling. It makes your business idea relatable to your investors, and if you’re very good at it, you’ll build an instant connection with the investors. It’s also a way your investors can understand your business plan better. Don’t just tell an interesting story, tell a story that emphasizes a problem and makes your business idea the best solution to that problem. Let your investors be intrigued and excited about your story.
For example, you can talk about how you drank a lot of garri as a student because you couldn’t afford other full meals. Then mention how difficult it was to find a good garri – like finding water in the desert. You should also mention the qualities you believe that good garri should have. So, you’ve decided to solve this issue by packaging a very good Ijebu garri, with milk, sugar and kulikuli. Something that many students, regardless of their background, can afford and enjoy.
This story will do 3 things. First, it will inform the investors that there’s a market for the business. Then, it will bring their awareness to the severity of the problem. And last, it will make them picture a world where your product – their investment – becomes part of a Nigerian student’s success story. Now, you tell me, who would say no to such a brilliant presentation?
Be the 3 Cs: Confident, Convincing and Comfortable
This I code for “know what you are doing.” Have an idea of everything you are doing and will do in the business. Talk with confidence and don’t let your investors see how nervous you are. Agreed, it’s easier said than done, but the least you can do is try.
It can be quite hard especially when you are in the midst of a group of investors that keeps throwing questions from all directions. Nevertheless, be in control, have full confidence in your business and let them know you are the right person for them to invest in.
Being convincing is a crucial skill when you pitch your business to investors. No matter how rich an investor is whether it is Elon Musk or Dangote, they won’t commit until you show them that you have thought this through in detail. Remember that you won’t be the first one to present a business idea to them, neither would you be the last, so you need to pull all the strings to make yours unique. Use numbers and existing customers’ satisfaction to entice them. Also, highlight the expertise and skills that qualify you to lead that business and make it successful.
Be comfortable as you pitch to investors. Let it flow naturally. Maintain eye contact with your investors and smile more. Do not focus all your attention on your slides or notepad. You’re talking to humans, not the slides.
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Practice and be Prepared
Practice makes perfection, right? Practising your presentation beforehand is very important. Don’t go there and fall your hand (ignore my Nigerian English, LOL). Practice your pitch till you feel confident enough to present without using slides.
Be prepared for a lot of questions that will surface once you’re done with your pitch to investors. Know the Whys, Hows and Whats in your business plan. Know your competitors beforehand, because your investors can ask. In simple words, and for emphasis, be prepared!
Have a Target and a Market Strategy
Who is your target? Who do you plan to sell your products to? Youths? Adults? Children? A particular group of people? Or students? You should know your target and have plans to build a great marketing team that can help you make your sales better.
When you inform your investors about your target and market strategy, you give off an aura that makes them think “he’s ready.” Because, without a great market strategy, that business is in doom before it kicks off.
Know Your Investors
This goes a long way. Don’t just say you want Dangote to invest in you because he is rich enough to afford it. You have to know your investors’ background. Bless the information era we live in; you can easily find out about anybody these days.
Search for them on Google, or other social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Try to find out the kind of person they are. This will equip you with the kind of stories to tell. Most importantly, it will help you screen out investors with the least probability to fund your business as it might not be in their area of interest.
Get Your Facts and Figures Right
This too is crucial when you pitch your business to investors. Investors get impressed when you have the right facts and figures in your business. Resist the urge to lie about these figures, because they might figure it out and dishonesty is a no-no.
Your investors will want to know your business net income, turnover/sales figures, break-even points, gross and net margins (profits), and so on. Pardon the technical jargon, but you need to get familiar with them if you’re serious about getting an investor. Emphasize the importance of the investment to your business and the benefits to your investors.
Be Meticulous and Aim to Win
Paying extreme attention to details is very pertinent when you pitch to investors. Your investors have keen eyes. I can’t be investing thousands or millions of Nigerian Naira in your business and not pay close attention to point out any unclear statements. That’s exactly how investors think.
Confirm that all the necessary things you need for your presentation are ready. Ensure that your laptop is functioning well and your slides are interactive. Don’t make any careless mistakes. Do your due diligence to be able to win the hearts of many investors.
Be short and precise
You don’t want to waste your investors time. They have a lot to do. So, be quick and at the same time deliver an impactful message within a short period.
Remember the reason for the pitch. Don’t lose focus and deviate or start rambling. If the reason for the business pitch is solely for funds, emphasize it and hold your stance. If you’re looking for a partnership, emphasize it and be assertive. The worst that’ll happen is that they say No.
Call to action
Make sure you leave accessible contact details, ask for how to contact them, when they will get back to you and when you can reach out. It’s of no use for you to pitch your business to investors, make them nod and smile, and give the generic, “we’ll be in touch”, without something definitive.
Ask questions like “when should I hear back from you?”, “can I reach out if I don’t hear from you in 2 weeks?”, “through what means am I likely to get your prompt attention?”, etc.
Learn from your mistakes
Sometimes – most times – your first investors would not be interested in your business plan. Do not take it personally. Instead, make that first pitch to investors a teachable moment for yourself. Try to figure out what might have gone wrong.
If you are not sure of the reason why they couldn’t invest in your great business plan, you can ask them and how you can improve. Listen to the criticisms, and don’t be too disappointed. As much you want to aim to win, you should also prepare for the worst-case scenarios. With that, you’ll be able to dust yourself up and make a great comeback.
With these tips, you should be able to pitch your business to investors successfully. Put your mind to it and believe you can get the right investors. No matter how tough the economy is, some investors are willing to make your ideas a reality. Follow the needful procedures to impress your investors. Remember to be confident, get your facts and figures right, and be very clear with what you want.
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- Sociologist, writer, historian, and activist; Mariam Obaijoko is the author of Ashabi and Campus Lovers (one of Unilorin Best Fiction Of 2019). Now a full-time writer, she has published several articles and write-ups on social issues, feminism, lifestyles, and many others.