Whether you’re at this stage – or maybe you’ve started your business and are now looking for ways to grow it – you need to raise capital. Capital can be raised in a number of ways, and through a number of different avenues. Whichever capital-raising path you follow, there are a few basics as to how you prepare your pitch.
Your pitch is essentially where you sell the concept of your business to potential investors. There are different kinds of pitches, such as the ‘elevator pitch’ (where you describe your business in 10 seconds or less) or the ‘boardroom pitch’ (which can be up to an hour and requires you to go into great detail) but for the purposes of this article, let’s say it’s the ‘investor pitch’. You’re in front of an investment group, with 10 minutes to sell your business – and yourself. Here are some fundamental principles if you want to maximise your allocated time.
- Be your brand. If your concept is business-oriented, wear a suit. If your concept is hair, look groomed. For every single StyleRocks meeting, I wear a few pieces of jewellery that I have designed myself to showcase the StyleRocks premise. If investors sense a disconnect between who you are, and what you’re pitching to them, they won’t buy your story. It’s not that they think you’re being insincere: it’s more that they want to see the passion and commitment to your project. The path to success can be a rocky one, and if you’re not passionate about your idea, then you’re more likely to abandon it when the chips are down.
- Tell a story. Your presentation will need to cover the basics of what you’re selling, who you’re targeting, why, where and how you’re targeting them, …as well as highlighting your unique advantages, a competitive assessment, growth avenues, etc. But investors hear lots of pitches so tell them a story – relevant to your concept of course, and preferably relevant to them – to make your pitch the one they remember. I tell the story of my ‘best customer’ and her frustration at being unable to find the right piece of jewellery for a special occasion – until she discovered StyleRocks – to communicate the concept.
- Practice, practice, practice. And then practice some more. Pitch to your partner, your family, your neighbour – anyone who will listen. They will point out any flaws and ask questions that you may need to work into your pitch. The reason for practice isn’t just to perfect your pitch…it’s also to help you when you’re nervous. Why do you think actors rehearse so much? To overcome nerves and mental blanks when on stage. And it’s the same with the pitch situation too.
So go for it! And remember, every ‘no’ you hear is one step closer to a ‘yes’.
Pascale Helyar-Moray is the founder of StyleRocks and prominent business women on the Australian Startup scene.
[This article was published in the March Issue]