You would not want to face world champions like Usain Bolt if you have been competing in village athletic tournaments. The same way you should not appear in a venture capitalist’s office with a mediocre pitch.
It will be very painful when you will start stammering as questions will be thrown at you one after the other some of which you will not be able to answer or you will only be able to provide half-baked answers.
As a smart entrepreneur, you would not want to face such an embarrassing situation as it may end up blocking your chances with other venture capitalists; these people communicate.
If you want to head off the devastation, you can do the following:
Show that you know what customers want
You should start the party. Show the venture capitalist that you can anticipate what the customers crave for. Be practical and create a prototype. This will help you drive your point home.
Investors and busy and there are many people approaching them for funds. Trying to explain your idea to them verbally may not be very effective and may require much time.
Coming up with a prototype shows you are serious and gives the investor a clear picture of what their money is supposed to be used for.
It will also save you from a lot of questions that may make your request to be disqualified.
Show off your competitive advantage
Put more emphasis on the reasons why your product or service is different from the hundreds of similar products or services that are already in the market. Let this message dominate your marketing materials.
You should try to be relevant and to concentrate on your strengths. If you do it well and in a convincing way, the investor may not have many questions for you.
Dress well for the occasion
Nothing will show your credibility, authority and certainty than your dressing style. It sends a very strong message to the investor and will determine whether they will give you a serious hearing or not.
If you are poorly dressed, the investor may not be keen in hearing or trying to understand what you are talking about. They may give you the opportunity to speak but the decision shall have been made; your request has been rejected.
A research by MIT found that entrepreneurs who are considered by investors to be attractive stood a 36 percent chance of success rate in their pitch competitions compared to those who are unkempt.
Produce real sales data
Before you go for a presentation, ensure that you have mastered your figures. Avoid the “ummms…” in your responses. These responses show hat you are not conversant with the market or you are cooking figures.
You should also not try to hype your data. Why would you include data that is unrealistic? Show something that is real and explain how you are intending to grow in the next three years or so.
You must explain your growth strategy in very clear terms that do not make them look like you are over exaggerating.