If you have made it to the stage where you have convinced investors to take a look at your pitch, you are already deep in the investment process. The pitch stage is the final hurdle -- the hurdle where most entrepreneurs fall. Investors usually don't go into meetings with budding entrepreneurs willing and ready to give their money away. You have to sell it. How? By having a good answer to all their questions and concerns.
Here are six things investors are likely thinking while watching you pitch your idea.
1. Where’s the money?
Investors may think you have a pitch that excites and inspires, but it’s not always clear how you are going to actually make any money. A lot of great ideas from startups may change the world for the better, but investors are interested in how they are going to get their money back. A key part of the pitch is explaining to investors how you are going to get profit from your business. Have a solid plan for how you are going to make money.
2. Your company is overvalued.
Watch any major reality show like Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den, and the same complaints come up time and time again during the pitch. Investors tend to complain that the company in front of them has been clearly overvalued. It’s a common mistake entrepreneurs make because they obviously believe that their idea is worth a million bucks.
To make sure that you are getting a realistic evaluation, speak to both a lawyer and an accountant. Take their valuations into consideration -- the true worth of your business is probably somewhere in the middle.
3. There is no long-term plan.
The pressing issues of getting off the ground and gaining traction are matters for now, but entrepreneurs and investors alike must have one eye on the future as well. Investors need to know that your product or service has a future. Part of your pitch should be dedicated to your long-term plan.
4. No growth strategy.
Investors need to know that they are not only going to get their money back, but they are going to make a profit in the long run. If your company has no strategy for growth, you are saying to investors that their money may be going to a good cause, but they are not going to see a return on their investment.
You should have a comprehensive growth strategy for how you are going to take their money and grow the business. The crucial message to send is that you are not going to need to ask for more money in the future to reach the next level.
And be careful. Studies say that scaling too fast is the number one reason for startup failure.
5. What’s in it for me?
Investors want to see ideas get off the ground. They want to manage something that changes the world for better. But they need more out of it than a general warm feeling. Too many pitches focus on the business and not what potential investors are going to get out of it.
Tell investors exactly what they are going to get. Tell them how they will get their money back through growth projections. Tell them how you intend to run the business. But make it clear that there’s room to negotiate. Investors don’t like being talked down to. They don’t like to be told how things are. Remember -- you are the one coming to them for money.
6. Why should you win?
Most investors say they bet on the jockey. All this means for you, according to Chase Hughes of Pro Business Plans, is that investors want to make sure you have the tenacity and ability to succeed, no matter what hurdles arise throughout the journey. This is one of the most important aspects for seed stage investing, simply because it is usually too early for significant revenues or key metrics to come into play.
If you address these six main concerns, your chances of getting buy-in from investors will increase.