For most people, success as an entrepreneur means forming a partnership with one or more investors. Before you can do that, you must plan and deliver a presentation that convinces them to come on board with you financially. Unfortunately, many new business owners are too eager to get through this step to give it the proper attention it requires. This results in making careless mistakes that ultimately cause the potential investor to look elsewhere.
Be Prepared with Short and Long Business Summaries
At any given time, you should have a mental verbal summary of your business that takes no longer than one minute to deliver. Networking opportunities present themselves at unexpected times, which means you must always be ready to take advantage of them. If you are fortunate enough to pique someone’s interest sufficiently to move onto the exploration phase, you must be prepared to state your case and allow for questions in less than 30 minutes. Most entrepreneurs choose to do this with a PowerPoint presentation.
At this stage of the game, you should have already drafted an executive summary as part of your business plan. This is a good time to review it to ensure that it contains the following information:
An explanation of how your product or service meets an unfulfilled need
A detailed description of the background and qualifications of your management team
An analysis of the competition
Projected revenue and expenses for your business supported by documentation
Once you have concluded your 30-minute presentation with an angel investor or venture capitalist, he or she will focus on the executive summary of your business plan to help make an investment decision.
It’s important to remain professional at all stages of the investment process. If you don’t want all of your hard work going to waste, avoid alienating potential investors with these actions:
Bringing up business valuation too early
Asking the investor to sign a non-disclosure agreement for a common idea
Failure to consider the investor’s exit strategy
As with all business transactions, the primary objection you must overcome is “What’s in it for me?” If you can demonstrate how and when the investor will earn money by partnering with you early on, you have successfully answered this question.