Contractors & FreelancersFinancial AdviceSmall to Medium Businesses

How To Pitch For Finance

By February 25, 2019 May 26th, 2019 No Comments

Whether it’s in person or by virtual meeting software, there’s huge value in placing yourself in the spotlight, talking through your product or service with those you want to win investment from.

Business owner pitching for finance to their investors

In this blog we’ll show you how to piece together a pitch presentation, we’ll go over the financial details that your prospective investors might want to see, and also give you a few tips on presenting your pitch from our experience.

 

What To Include In Your Pitch Presentation

1. About You and Your Business

It’s worth starting with you as a person, rather than you as a business, so that you can make that human connection and explain why you are worth investing in. Be explicit about why you are in the room, and what you’re hoping to achieve.

  1. Who are you?
  2. What’s your goal?

Then let’s look at your business. Challenge yourself to answer all four of these questions in a sentence or two:

  1. What is it?
  2. Who’s it for?
  3. Why do they need it?
  4. What sets you apart?

This essentially becomes a mission statement. The sentence could be as simple as:

[My business] will provide/create/sell [my brilliant product or service] to [my target audience] so that [life is better for them in these ways, these problems have been solved].

e.g. Blooming Manchester Wildflowers Ltd. will create organic, locally-sourced flower arrangements and deliver them by bicycle, in 100% recycled packaging, so that Manchester can spread beauty and joy in an ethical and environmentally friendly way.

Don’t underestimate the importance of refining your pitch down to a single, short paragraph – if you really can’t explain your business succinctly, you may need to spend more time on these essentials, making sure you’re crystal clear on exactly why your business exists.

Once you’ve nailed that opening statement, you can go into more detail on why you’re a worthwhile investment.

 

2. Why Your Business Will Work

It’s all too easy to write bullet point after bullet point explaining why you are a worthwhile investment, or detailing every last aspect of your business idea. But more content does not equal a better pitch! So when you pull out those impressive figures, make sure you think about where they came from and why they’re important to know.

Back up your arguments with truly relevant data. Show your investors that you understand the marketplace around you, that you’re not working inside of a bubble – make sure you tackle:

  1. Audience Insights – demographics, geography, attitudes and behaviours that are relevant to your business and the problem it’s solving
  2. Competitor Landscape – an outline of competitors, their strengths and weaknesses<
  3. Market Trends – show that you understand your business environment, you could use Porter’s Five Forces if you need structure around this

Ask yourself what your investors are likely to already know, and what they may need to be educated on. In our flower business example above, would the investors already know that 80% of flowers sold in the UK are actually imported in from other countries? If not, that would be a key statistic to lead with – it adds value and sets the business apart from others.

 

3. Piecing Together Finances For Your Pitch Presentation

Your investors will be looking for more than just a great idea and passionate people. You’ll need a really solid forecast of turnover and profit, so this is the time to be really clear about:

  • How much money you need
  • Exactly what you will do with that money
  • What the financing options are / how you will get financing
  • How and when you’ll know if it’s been successful
  • What you’ve already achieved and the impact this funding will have on progress
  • Estimations of when your investors will see a return
  • What you’re willing to offer them, eg: shares in the business
  • Details of who you’re working with to keep track of the business finances, eg: your accountant or financial advisor

While you should have a summary of all of this information in your pitch presentation, rather than 50 slides on finance, you should be ready and prepared to answer any question regarding finances on the spot.

Consider producing a supplementary folder which investors can take away that contain all the finance projections, all the evidence of your research and your plans for the invested cash. Your folder, like all of your financial planning, should be accurate, in-depth, realistic and thorough. So you should have a full business plan, a full cost projection and a good understanding of the tax environment you’ll be working with.

That’s why working with an accountant on your finance pitch is highly recommended. Investors are careful with money, so you need to show your due diligence.  If you don’t have an accountant already, now is probably a good time to get one (hello there!) so that you’ve got help with financial planning and your pitch to those all important investors.

 

Tips On Presenting Your Pitch

We’re not all natural presenters – and even if we were, most of us don’t give presentations very regularly so it’s all too easy to find yourself ‘out of practice’. These sorts of skills take time and experience to develop! To help you out, we’ve got some tried and trusted advice to help you out with that crucial pitch:

 

Your Presentation Style

1. Slow it down

It’s all too easy to get anxious and speak too quickly when you’re presenting, especially if the outcome means a lot to you. Conversational speech rates are usually around the 150 words per minute (WPM) mark, but when you’re presenting you want to aim for closer to 100 wmp. Anxiety will often increase your speech rate, so practice in front of groups and calculate your speech rate by timing yourself and working out your words per minute afterwards.

Remember to add pauses in at specific places to allow your listeners to take a few microseconds to think about what you just said. Not speaking can be a powerful tool, so use your pauses wisely.

2. Practice makes perfect

It is very predictable advice, but it really does help to run through your presentation in advance, even if it’s to an empty room. The best thing to do, if you can bear it, is record a few minutes of your presentation so that you can watch yourself back. It’s painful at first but it really is the best way to understand what you look and sound like as you’re talking.

3. Keep eye contact

Don’t forget to make eye contact with the people in the room – it can be tricky to see faces when you’re in presentation-mode, but this can result in entire pitches being delivered to the back wall, or a spot on the desk – not so great in terms of human connection. Try to look around the room, if there are several people there then try not to address your entire pitch to the one you’ve met before or the one that smiles – keep it balanced.

4. Throw out a question or two

There’s no harm in asking a question once or twice as you go, questions will allow you a moment to take a breather and also help you to make sure you’re audience are engaged. Having a couple of back-up questions, even as simple as ‘Is everything making sense so far / Do you have any questions so far?’ can give you a chance to reset.

Your Slide Deck

It goes without saying that you want your slide deck to look clean and smart – get rid of any overwhelming design features and keep it to minimal touches wherever you can.

If you’re using traditional ‘slides’, remember that you can create your own theme in all major presentation software, which will make it much quicker to fill in your content. Here’s a quick guide to master themes in PowerpointGoogle Slides and Keynote to get you started.

If you’re not bound by any software in particular, or if you are sharing over small screens, take a look at Xtensio’s pitch deck– it acts like a webpage, so you can scroll down through the individual sections of a presentation. It’s not for everyone though – settle with whatever will make you feel most confident and comfortable.

 

Get Professional Help

Your business is important, so spend appropriate time, attention and money on your finance pitch. If you’re not great with the creative side then hire a graphic designer, if you’re not great at working out business finances then hire an accountant.

Warr & Co have worked with many small, growing businesses as well as start ups over the years. We have helped these businesses successfully pitch for investment and get off on the right foot in terms of business finance.

Contact our team today for a free no-obligation consultation with one of our highly experienced partners and see what we could offer your business.

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