How to make an effective presentation to investors
Sometimes a good idea only has to be heard by the right people. But this process is still complex. It works almost like an orchestra, everything has to happen in a synchronised way: the idea, the preparation of the idea, how it is revealed and presented, by whom, why, for what and how much income it will bring.
Before we arrive at that moment when we enter a room or, to locate ourselves in these times we live, in a conference by Zoom with the investor, we have to choose what to tell. The story is important. The storytelling. Why was the company created? Why is this product important? What was the motivation? Where did the idea come from? Who are we? Why does the world need our product? Selling a product or making an idea known is not much different from telling a story. Anyone who listens has to be glued, interested, intrigued, surprised. And they have to recognise the value of that idea.
As this article from “Forbes” explains, everyone has their style but there are non-negotiable points, basic strategies, in this art of selling an idea or a story. It must be clear what that product or idea is going to bring, that is, the benefit it will bring to the investor. It must also be clear why that investor is the ideal partner for that adventure. The numbers have to be correct and, by the way, on the tip of the tongue. Showing some flexibility is also important. A balance has to be found between realism and plenty of ambition, between real expectation and bold objectives. Ah, and not to seem too “needy”, as that American publication calls it. In other words, everyone knows that that investor’s money is necessary for the idea to go forward, that is why we are stuck in that room, but it is not feasible to sound too needy. The confidence in the idea lies in the fact that the person who invests in the idea will also be lucky, someone who will be lucky enough to get it.
But let’s travel to the other side of the waterhole, to Brazil, where, besides being good at ball, dance and mouth, they are also masters in the art of communication and seduction. The newspaper “Folha de São Paulo” heard earlier this year, even before the pandemic broke out, some experts on how to sell the business idea to attract investors. These were some conclusions:
The main point, the one that really can’t miss the pitch, is why the company or idea, the problem it will help to solve and what its relevance is, either in society or in that market segment. It is also key to demonstrate who the target audience is, its size and characteristics, as well as who the competition is. What is the business model? It is important to mention what the plan is, how the company is structured and, consequently, the idea. What stage are we at? Where are we going? What do you need the investment for? How much do you need it for? And if the idea is to attract a new partner, how can he create value for the company or idea? All this cannot fail to convince an investor.
But there is more. The profile and even the history of the team behind the idea are important for the investor to feel more secure, the character or where people come from can be decisive. The narrative must be adapted to the style of the audience and the purpose of that presentation. It is also vital to avoid jargon, those terms very specific to the area in question, which sometimes create a barrier between message and recipient. If the message gets lost or confused, the listener gets further away… and with it the money.
Pitch must be practised over and over again and, anticipating last minute surprises, in two formats: short, going to the bone without forgetting storytelling and seduction, and long, with more exhaustive explanations and techniques.
Never forget that information is different from knowledge, that is, we only really know about a subject when we refine the subject in our own way, in our language, simplifying the message and transmitting it clearly. This is how trust and peace of mind come when the potential investor’s questions start raining and it is necessary to grasp them, informing and convincing them. Here, at this moment, we try to create empathy, interest and sympathy with the audience, satisfying the doubts raised.
Using visual aids such as slides during the presentation may be important to clarify some key data or ideas. Without forgetting something we have already talked about in another text: a slide, a theme. It can be a slogan, it can be a number, an inspirational phrase. One theme per slide.
The experts heard by “Folha de São Paulo” left a very serious warning to future pitchers: do not want to tell the story of an entire book in one paragraph. In other words, it is advisable not to dwell too much on the business, it is not worth having the intention to reveal everything, every nook and cranny of the idea. Besides the fact that there is no time, it will generate fatigue in the audience, thus penalizing everything that was done previously.
It is also unnecessary to refer to the company or idea as something innovative, it is preferable that the potential investor concludes this for himself. Furthermore, do not give too much information about the project, be it in the contractual or strategic sphere, because it is not known whether those people will be on board in the future.
In short, a pitch should be short, of course, with a good story, highlighting the relationship between problem and solution and should show how financially attractive it would be for the investor. Creating a key phrase or idea, which is repeated in the pitch or which appears in the slides, can be interesting for it to be housed in the thinking of the potential investor.