How to Nail Your Pitch Presentation

by Garrett Spence
9/16/2015 3:06:24 PM

So you’ve successfully launched your small business—congratulations! It’s been a long, hard road but you have written your business plan, worked out your financial statements and generally have all your ducks in a row. But once you find a little bit of success, you are very likely to find that you need more money to grow the success of your small business. That means that when you are seeking more money for your startup, you will need to pitch your ideas and execution to new investors. Here are some tips for nailing your pitch presentation to venture capitalists (VCs) or other investors.

1. Get your idea across in the first three minutes of the presentation.

Venture capitalists are busy people and their time is valuable. So you should be able to deliver a razor-sharp picture of your startup’s concept and ability to execute within the opening minutes of your pitch. Articulating your message clearly, both verbally and visually is key to a successful pitch in order to help you navigate the rest of the presentation with ease.

2. Keep it simple.

VCs advise entrepreneurs all the time to keep a succinct elevator pitch in your back pocket. This technique is also a great opener during your pitch presentation. Use short sentences and common-sense vocabulary to deliver your message. You’ll also want to avoid buzzwords and clever phrases—“disruption” is a particularly hot concept in Silicon Valley right now, as in “Uber intends to disrupt the transportation industry.” It sounds dumb and is an unnecessary trick when an analogy, metaphor or personal story can be just as effective. There is no “Internet of things” to be mined for wisdom or money. Keep it simple.

3. Bring along your team and encourage them to speak up.

VCs like seeing a unified and balanced team when they are being pitched. Bring all of your cofounders, but limit the non-founding executives to just a few people. These people aren’t just props, either, so encourage them to speak up for themselves. Introducing your team (rather than letting them introduce themselves) is a wasted opportunity. Allowing your team members to introduce themselves and participate in the pitch demonstrates their expertise and shows investors that you have what it takes to lead a team of talented employees.

5. Be prepared to answer questions.

When they ask questions, VCs are expecting answers. You don’t need to prepare for every eventuality by building slides your deck doesn’t need, but you should always try to provide a brief answer on the spot, even if your presentation tackles the issue in more detail later. Keep in mind that the way you respond to spontaneous questions may be more important than the answer itself, because it demonstrates how you deal with situations that involve uncertainty or pressure.

6. Stick the landing.

After you’ve covered the standard elements of an investor presentation, make sure you stick the landing by offering a strong summary of your key messages and reinforce the reasons that venture capitalists should sink money into your idea.

7. Don’t be discouraged by the feedback.

Part of a venture capitalist’s job is to offer honest feedback on how to proceed. If some of the feedback is negative, remember that every venture capitalist has different tastes, interests and objectives, so don’t take the feedback personally. A “no” can change into a “yes” very quickly in the coming rounds so listen to the feedback, learn from it, and use the lessons that you learn to improve your odds of getting funded.

8. If you don’t understand the feedback, ask for clarification.

This is another lesson from Silicon Valley, where there is sometimes a herd mentality when it comes to buzzwords and new ideas. But if you don’t understand the feedback that an investor is offering, ask for clarification. It may not only improve your chances of success with other investors, but it may also point out to you that the venture capitalist you’re pitching doesn’t really understand your industry or entrepreneurial idea in order to judge it fairly.

Additional Resources to Help Grow your Small Business

White Paper

How Mail Services Help Entrepreneurs Succeed

In today's mobile economy, digital entrepreneurs often work from varying locations. While this can help save money and increase agility, it comes with one big drawback:

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Assistants Provide a Competitive Edge

Countless small business owners rely on remote assistants or offsite receptionists to help with critical organizational duties. While some are content to offload simple tasks to self-employed, stay-at-home support people, others demand more comprehensive services...NULL

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Assistants & Remote Assistants: A Comparison

While the traditional virtual assistant is likely to work from home, an executive-level virtual assistant is part of a greater brick-and-mortar presence. This fundamental difference opens the door for extensive training opportunities that broaden the professional's support capabilities.

Read More >
White Paper

Overview of Virtual Offices, Executive Suites and Co-Working Spaces

Work has changed. In an age of instant communication, cloud-based applications, and workplace versatility, the era of the traditional office culture has come to an end. Providers of virtual offices, executive suites and co-working spaces have effectively liberated the nation’s work culture, adding dynamic and energizing new choices...

Read More >
White Paper

Part 1 of 4: Introducing the SBA

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, navigating the tricky terrain of creating a sound business plan, forecasting for growth and developing an operative growth strategy can be a major challenge. Fortunately, American entrepreneurs and operators have access to one of the most effective resources in the worldwide market...

Read More >
White Paper

Part 2 of 4: Starting a Small Business

Navigating the complex terrain of creating a sound business plan, forecasting for growth and developing an operative growth strategy can be a challenge for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Fortunately, American entrepreneurs have access to one of the most effective resources in the world via the Small Business Administration (SBA).
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Part 3 of 4: Managing a Small Business

Congratulations! You have gotten your small business up and running. Now what? This part of our four-part series on leveraging the Small Business Administration to help you launch and manage a small business will focus on the operational aspects of running a business. Whether you need leadership strategies, day-to-day decision making skills
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Part 4 of 4: Marketing, Sales and Contracting

Understanding marketing and sales as well as the technical complexity of our Internet-driven society gives entrepreneurs a distinct advantage over the competition. This final segment of our four-part report will take a deeper dive into the logistics and philosophy of marketing and sales and their impact on your business success.
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

DIY Marketing Tools

If a business isn’t marketing, its potential customers are not finding it. Small to medium size businesses often struggle with spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing. New DIY marketing tools, however, have eliminated the need to spend astronomical amounts on online and traditional marketing. These tools
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Office for Legal Professionals

Law firms (large and small) and solo legal practitioners alike can use virtual office services and spaces to run their entire legal operations or as a supplement to a home office or traditional brick-and-mortar offices. Virtual office services can be particularly useful during trial preparation
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Finance & Tax Professionals

Finance and tax professionals, whether they work solo or as part of a larger firm, can use virtual office spaces and services to stay on top of their workloads, especially during the busy tax season. Professional virtual office spaces can be particularly useful when back-to-back client meetings are necessary...

Read More >
White Paper

Traveling Entrepreneur

As business people and entrepreneurs continually strive to grow their business, doing so frequently involves traveling around the country to attend networking or tradeshow events, meeting clients and prospects on their own turf, and getting some face-time with colleagues, contractors or employees who may operate in a remote location. Preparation
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Office Eguide

Have you ever wondered why some small businesses are successful and others are not and what do these successful companies do to gain an edge over their competition? Through our years of experience
... Click to read more

Read More >