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How to make a winning Business Pitch

What is a Business Pitch?

A business pitch is a business plan that you present to available and willing potential investors to secure funding for your business. The pitch helps you to explain and give investors key insights and information about your business to enable them to make the right decisions about investing in your business.

The use of visual aid and communication is one of the best ways you can use to deliver a business pitch. This includes incorporate diagrams and other visuals in your presentation to make your audience more attentive and interested.

You can also create a stunning pitch deck using a starter template that gets you started off on the right foot. (See sample Presentation Templates) NB: There should be a link created it

Additionally, if you want to create a unique presentation that helps you to stand out in the crowd, present your business idea through a well-tailored mind map. 

Simply put your idea in the centre of the map and arrange related subtopics around that idea. This can help to fully illustrate your plan and ensure potential investors understand your goals.

Read on to learn more about how to create a successful business pitch, but be sure to utilize our 60+ slide startup pitch deck theme to help you put together the perfect design.

 

Business Pitch Deck
What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck, also known as a slide deck or start-up deck, is a presentation that provides a brief but informative overview of your business. It should cover the key points of your business plan, the products and services you provide, high-level financial projections, and funding needs. Your pitch deck should work well on its own as a visual document, but it will primarily be used as a tool to tell the story of your business.

What is the purpose of a pitch deck?

This may sound counterintuitive, but the goal of your pitch deck is not to raise money. What? I know that doesn’t sound right, but the real goal of your pitch deck is to get to the next meeting.

Remember, your pitch deck and pitch presentation are probably some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. And because investments rarely are made after just one meeting, your goal is to spark interest in your company. You want investors to ask for more after they hear your pitch and not just show you to the door.

So, while a solid pitch deck is critical to raising money, the key goal of the deck is to get to the next step—another meeting and a request for more information.

What to include in your pitch deck
1. Create a presentation 

First, take the time to put together your pitch deck. The goal is to create a deck that is easy for you to work off of and gets investors excited about your business. 

Keeping that in mind, you should have a short version that you can speak to within 10-minutes as well as an extended version that includes everything you’d like to give potential investors access to. 

See the sample pitch deck template (Link) for PowerPoint to get started and help you put together a professional-looking presentation.

2. Concise presentation

If you can get someone who doesn’t understand your business model to grasp what you’re communicating, then you’re prepared to give a pretty good pitch. Some of the worst pitches I’ve seen have been filled with acronyms, tech speak, and gobbledygook.

Keep your pitch short, sweet, and to the point. Practice your pitch on someone outside of your company, and ask them to repeat what they think your business model is back to you and ask you questions. I’ve done this many times, and it’s always an eye-opening exercise to hear what people repeat back.

3. Talk about yourself

It’s important to know that investors invest in people first, and ideas second. As a matter of fact, I’ve had several investors tell me to keep them posted on my next startup because they’d like to invest in me and my next venture.

So, don’t be afraid to toot the horn on your and your team’s accomplishments—especially if those accomplishments relate to what it takes to start and scale a venture. Tell (and whenever possible, show) the investors why you are the right people to lead this venture.

4. Successes traction and milestones

Early in the presentation, you want to build some credibility. Take some time to share the relevant traction your team has had since the inception of your company. Investors want to hear about your first customers, other investments put into the company (including your own sweat equity), key media placement, signed letters of intent (LOI) to purchase/partner, product and customer milestones, key hires, and so on. As the CEO of your own company, you will be expected to be the lead sales person, so show the investors that you know how to sell them on your own company.

This is your opportunity to blow your own horn. Impress the investors with what you and your team have accomplished to date (sales, contracts, key hires, product launches, and so on). You’ve likely mentioned bits and pieces of this early on, but this is the point where you create a full snapshot of your business.

But don’t just leave it at what you’ve done, be sure to speak to where you’re going. Show them a roadmap of next steps, additional milestones and even mention how funding will help achieve them.

5. Practice your pitch

You need to practice your pitch. Not being able to quickly speak to each element of your business makes every other tip on this list virtually useless.

Too many entrepreneurs think that just by knowing their business they can quickly and succinctly explain its’ value. And having a killer pitch deck with eye-popping visuals will be enough to fall back on. So they go into pitch meetings unprepared.

Take the time to practice, simplify your messaging, and only keep elements that build up your business. Leave everything else on the cutting room floor.

 

6. Outline problem with a story

Begin your pitch with a compelling story. It should address the problem you’re solving in the marketplace. This will engage your audience. And if you’ve done any testing try to include actual data here. If you can relate your story to your audience, in this case, the investor, even better. What industries have they invested in previously? What pain points do their previous entrepreneurial endeavors have?

Do some research about the investor, so you have a good sense of what they care about and can tailor your story to them!

7. Prioritize the essentials

Prioritize the most important things you want to share and stick to those pieces—and take a nice big breath before you speak. Believe me, it will help you deliver a more compelling and thoughtful pitch.

8. Outline business model

Your business model tells an investor how your idea will (or does) convert into being economically viable. The best way to show you how to communicate your business model is to show you an example of a good one.

In just a few short bullets, your business model should answer the questions: What do you sell? To whom? How much do they pay? And, how do they pay you?

9. Value proposition/Solution

Share what’s unique about your product and how it will solve the issue you shared in the previous slide.

Keep it short, concise, and easy for the investor to explain to others. Avoid using buzzwords unless your investors are very familiar with your industry. Again, if you’ve done any testing beforehand, plugin results here to give your solution more credibility.

10. Show Solution.

Show your actual product. For some businesses, showing their product is not easy to do, but for most people pitching for funding to investors, it is.

Even if your product is not yet built, show mock-ups. It’s amazing what a visual representation of your product and your business can do for the overall effectiveness of your pitch. Explain exactlywhat is unique about your product or service. If you are not producing or providing anything different from the run-of-the-mill widget, don’t even go to the meeting. Go back to your drawing board, and design something better.

11. Your target market

Don’t say that everyone in the world is potentially your target market, even if it could be true one day. Explain exactly who your target audience is. Use demographic and psychographic features to pinpoint your customers. Show investors a picture of a customer along with relevant data points.

Be realistic about who you’re building your product for and break out your market into TAM (Total Addressable/Available Market), SAM (Serviceable Available Market), and SOM (Service Obtainable Market). This will not only impress your audience, but it will help you think more strategically about your roll-out plan.

If you can, try and develop a user persona or your ideal customer when speaking about your target market. This can help investors visualize the potential customer base and displays that you’ve thought intently about who your business will serve. It’s also much easier to speak to a named individual in a quick pitch, rather than a broad demographic. A user persona is a fictional character that represents a business’s customers or potential customers, based on what you know about their demographics, behaviors, and what motivates them.  It is your ability to put yourself into the shoes of your customer, to understand their pain points, needs, wants, aspirations, work and home environments—in fact, every aspect of their lives—will drive your success. Being able to think and behave like your customers is the key to being able to communicate with them effectively.

12. Customer acquisition strategy

Business success comes down to marketing. If you have a marketing idea, method, technique or process, this is your chance to showcase it. Great products don’t sell themselves. You sell the product. To be persuaded, investors have to see an airtight strategy for getting the product to market. Most investors are well aware of the advantages of digital marketing and won’t take a second glance at a product that isn’t backed by a tactical plan for online marketing.

13. Your revenue model

Investors tend to care about this slide the most. How will you make money? Be very specific about your products and pricing and emphasize again how your market is anxiously awaiting your arrival.

14. Marketing and sales strategy

This is usually one of the most skipped sections of an investor pitch and a full business plan. How will you reach your customers? How much will it cost? How will you measure success? 

Your financials should easily allow you to calculate your customer acquisition costs. But you should also mention how you intend to reach customers, which channels you’ll be advertising on, and even present an example of messaging. You’ve done your research, you know your customer, why not show investors what that will look like in action. 

15. Your team/partnerships

Investors invest in people first and ideas second, so be sure to share details about your team and why they are the right people to lead this company.

Also, be sure to share what skill-sets you may be missing on your team. Most startup teams are missing some key talent—be it marketing, management expertise, programmers, sales, operations, financial management, and so on. Let them know that you know that you don’t know everything.

Some businesses have key strategic partnerships that are critical to their success. This can often be in the form of intellectual property licensing from a university or a key distribution partner who will be taking your product to market. If your success relies on these types of partnerships, it’s important to showcase them.

16. Your financial projections

Show what you’re projecting in revenue (per product) over the next three to five years. You must back up your numbers by sharing your assumptions. You’ll see investors taking out their smartphone calculators to make sure your numbers make sense, so give them the information they need to see that your calculations are accurate.

Keep in mind that you need to speak to investors quickly. If investors want to hear or know more, add your full financials to the extended pitch deck or offer to answer questions after you’ve finished presenting.

17. Quantify Projections

Don’t say you’re going to be ₦ 5 million in business in three years, because most investors won’t even believe it—unless you’ve done this before in another company. Show exactly how you will reach those millions—what information about your company do you have that’s made you forecast

You want to see investors take out their phones or calculators and begin calculating numbers. This is a good sign—it means they want to see how you think, and see if it matches; a.) What you’ve indicated as your total revenue numbers, and b.) What they know about your industry.

18. Address Competition
Again, this is a very important part of your pitch, and many people omit this section or don’t provide enough detail about why they’re so different from their competitors. First of all, never say “I don’t have any competition.” This is a rookie mistake, but many entrepreneurs say this. Everyone has competition, even if it’s indirect competition.

The best way to communicate your value proposition over your competitors’ is to show this slide in a competitive matrix format—where you list your competitors down the left side of the page, you have your features/benefits across the top, and place checkmarks in the boxes for which company offers that service. Ideally, you have checkmarks across the top for every category, and your competitors lack in key areas to show your competitive advantage.

19. Your funding needs

Clearly spell out how much money has already been invested in your company, by whom, ownership percentages, and how much more you need to go to the next level (and be clear about what level that is). Will you need to raise multiple rounds of financing? Is the investment you’re seeking a convertible note, an equity round, or something else?

Remind the audience why your management team is capable of managing their investment for growth. Tell investors how much you need, why you need the money, what it will be used for, and the intended outcome.

20. Your exit strategy

If you’re seeking large sums of investment capital (over ₦1 Million), most investors will want to know what your exit strategy is. Are you planning on getting acquired, going public (very few companies actually do), or something else? Show you’ve done some due diligence on this exit strategy, including the companies you’re targeting, and why it would make sense three, five, or ten years down the road.

21. Follow-up Business Plan

Investors will want you to be able to back up your claims. Have a well-thought-out business plan on-hand to share, so investors can read more if they’d like to. The intention, after all, is that you deliver a powerful pitch, and by the end, their hands are out asking for either your executive summary or your complete business plan.

22. Feedback and refine Pitch

No matter the outcome of your pitch, whether you receive funding, another meeting, or rejection, look for areas to improve. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and take that into account for the next time you pitch. Now if the investor isn’t willing to provide any, don’t push the issue. It is their time you’ve just spent and are asking more of, so it’s a fine balance to achieve.

If you can, have another team member there to take notes and review with them after the fact. Look for weak-points, areas you stumbled over, and slides that led to negative reactions from the investor. Keep refining, practicing, and executing even if you think you’ve found the perfect pitch. 

You’ll really never know how good your pitch is until you actually do it. Don’t stress yourself out, and treat every investor pitch as a learning experience for you and your business. You’ll only continue to get better and better and can apply those learnings to every area of your business.

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NIGERIAN SOCIETY OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERS FOUNDATION, an organ of the NIGERIA SOCIETY OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERS (A Division of Nigerian Society of Engineers) …. National Development through Chemical Engineering

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