Meeting With An Investor Soon? Here Are 7 Tips To Help You Prepare!

So you’ve finally managed to set an appointment with your first potential investor. Feeling a bit anxious about the whole thing? That’s understandable, whether you’re having an in-person meeting or a Zoom conference. Meeting with an investor to pitch your business to an investor can surely be a nerve-wracking experience – especially if you’ve never done it before. You don’t want to blow your chances and so you really need to do this right.

If you’re exactly in the same scenario we just described, fret not. We have some practical pointers to help you, a startup entrepreneur, prepare for that crucial meeting.

Read on and secure that much-needed funding in no time…

1. Prepare a kick-ass business plan

A well-written business plan is a must if you’re aiming to have a successful meeting with an investor. So, make sure you have one.

This document allows you to present all the important elements of your business – from your product description and marketing plans, to competitive analysis and financial information, to everything else in between.

As Harvard Business Review emphasizes:

“Only a well-conceived and well-packaged plan can win the necessary investment and support for your idea. It must describe the company or proposed project accurately and attractively.”

Sure, not every investor will require you to present your business plan immediately  (a ‘roadmap’ might suffice for your first meeting). But having it ready proves that you’ve really given your startup concept a lot of thought. In short, a well-written business plan can help take your pitching game to the next level. You will be able to present your ideas with greater confidence.

So yes, don’t go to your meeting empty-handed!

2. Use an engaging visual presentation

A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.

By nature, humans are highly visual creatures. As such, it would be easier to persuade investors if you have a PowerPoint presentation complete with charts, graphs, and photos. Just make sure not to overdo it so as not to risk boring your audience.

Writing about this subject, author and marketing expert Guy Kawasaki taught:

“A pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach an agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.”

Better yet, prepare hard copies of your slides to distribute before or after your presentation.

3. Back it up with a compelling story

meeting with investors

Visuals can be a valuable tool but your entire pitch shouldn’t rely heavily on them. To make a positive impression and stand out from the rest, you’ll want to share your own unique story.

You will be able to connect better if you tell investors about your humble beginnings. What challenges did you encounter when you were starting out and what inspired you to keep going?  

Also, share details about your successes and be as specific as possible. 

“Impress the investors with what you and your team have accomplished to date (sales, contracts, key hires, product launches, and so on),” writes venture capitalist Caroline Cummings.

“Don’t just leave it at what you’ve done, be sure to speak to where you’re going,” she adds.

4. Talk about your team members

Remember that investors aren’t only putting money in your business – they also want to make sure that you have capable professionals supporting your idea.

Share details about your key team members’ roles, along with their strengths, industry knowledge, and past work experience. If you have time, talk a bit about how you hired your workforce and why you chose each individual in the first place. Doing this can help humanize your brand and even demonstrate your competence.

5. Leave time for questions

It would be a big mistake to take up all the time during the meeting. Every investor will have questions about your business - and you need to be ready to provide answers.

Expect to get asked about your competitors, failures, goals, and marketing strategies, among other important factors. The way you respond to their questions will likely determine whether investors end up funding your startup or not.

6. Know your investor

As an entrepreneur, you should do your homework to know as much as you can about your prospective investor. Familiarize yourself with the person’s background so you can tailormake your proposal for them.

In an INC article, Pantegrion Capital CEO and Founder Alicia Syrett advised that you will need to consider the following questions about your investor: 

  • How involved do they like to be with their portfolio companies?
  • Do they invest in specific industries?
  • Do they invest in certain geographic areas?
  • What is their typical check size?
  • What is their preferred valuation range for investment?

7. Practice, practice, and practice

Before the big day, seek help from your team members, fellow entrepreneurs, or even your friends and family members. Ask them to listen to your pitch presentation and give you honest and constructive feedback about it.  

Trust us when we say you’ll be better prepared to face your investors if you take time to rehearse in advance.

Final thoughts

meeting with investor

In case you have zero ideas about where you can meet investors, Verizon tells us that there are “five most common places” where entrepreneurs can actually find them, namely:

  • Networking events
  • Hackathons and competitions
  • Community organizations
  • LinkedIn and other networking platforms
  • Mutual contacts

Tapping these resources will, sooner or later, lead you to the investors that match your business. To read more on this subject, go check out our past blogs How To Prepare For The Most Likely Investor Questions and 6 Top Tips For How Startups Can Attract Investors.

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