Once again, I sit on an investor panel waiting for our next candidate to pitch us their business for investment
The entrepreneur walks to the front of the room with their laptop in hand, goes on the stage, connects the cable to the projector and….it doesn’t work. This then leads to increasingly frantic interventions which often result in a call for tech help.
This pitch has already failed in my eyes, and I’m not the only one on the panel who feels the same way
The person in question is asking for £500k to expand their business venture, yet they couldn’t be bothered to arrive early, check the tech and get themselves properly ready for their pitch. Indeed, they failed to register the warning when they were invited to come early and set up their presentation, they failed to get coaching for what turns out to be the biggest pitch of their life (because they already felt that they were experienced presenters) and rather than make a confident and friendly first impression, they now look like they are uncertain, unprepared and high risk for an investor.
I have seen this particular failing numerous times
Often this could have been rescued by an entrepreneur who knew their business well enough to be able to effortlessly transition to plan b and present it anyway, without their visual aids. However, in at least 95% of the cases I have witnessed (which now totals a 3-figure number) the presenter is left standing silently in front of investors looking lost and out of their depth, like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
If you are unable to pitch your business without visual aids, you are not ready to pitch it
You never know what could happen during your pitch and if you are not prepared for the numerous things that could go wrong on the day, you are playing with fire. Not only could you mess up that pitch, but you have no idea who the investors on the panel are talking to.
I have been asked for my opinion from investors I know about opportunities that come their way, and more than just a few that I saw mess up their live pitch have suffered without even finding out why. Investors talk, and really bad pitches are often more memorable than really good ones.
If you think you are ready to pitch for investment you need to ask yourself the following:
- Do I know my pitch well enough to do it without any notes or slides?
- Am I confident that I have good answers to the toughest questions that I will be asked?
- Have I gathered enough feedback on my pitch to feel that it works?
- Would an average 10 year-old understand what you do with your pitch?
- Do you know what is genuinely interesting to investors v what you think they want to hear?
If you are not saying yes to all of these questions, it is advisable that you get help before your pitch. You only get one chance to make a good first impression!
You can test your pitch in a safe environment at one of my pitch workshops