We all remember the horror of doing a presentation in front of our bored classmates that wait for you to make a freudian slip that would allow them to chuckle- Pitching a potential business idea in front of investors is not as one-sided, it is an equally excruciating process for the investor as it is for the entrepreneur because while you value your intellectual property, they value their time. Here are the 10 pitching mistakes that entrepreneurs need to avoid:
Did you spend all your time preparing your deck and contemplating the throng of questions you’ll be subjected to at the end of it? There’s nothing more pitiful than being in a room, charged with hope and vigor and delivering a successful pitch that goes unacknowledged because the investor doesn’t invest in your business sector. It’s easy to check an investor’s profile on LinkedIn or AngelList to get a sense of whether there is potential for a good match.
Walking in a room with words and little to no visual elements for a demo can take away from the credibility of your pitch deck and reduce it to wishful thinking. As the world becomes increasingly AI and simulation through the blue screen of the phones and other devices has made us creatures that enjoy instant gratification in form of engaging visual demos- there’s no better cherry on the top to your presentation than an operational demo that matches the ideas communicated in your pitch.
Make no mistake about the pitch alone being your asset to sustain the investor’s attention – they’re busy people that want to be amused by your disruptive innovation and don’t care to exhibit good natured decorum in the room as you present. Prepare to be interrupted without thinking it to be an inconvenience. The deck isn’t as important to them as compared to the stealth in your answers to their questions. If you stutter and perform any faux pas, the investors identify that you’re just as anxious as them regarding the future of the business and you can be sure it will be downward spiral from there.
How rooted is the business idea in the real world? With the climate changes and the consequent effects in the political climate, the priorities have to be readdressed and it goes without saying that the funding of projects will be more mindful of these changes. Discuss in your deck: why the users care about your product or service? What is the USP of the product or service that will allow the business to lock in clientage? Is there demand in the market for it and any reference product that already exists in the market that may have come close to filling the same gap?
When the entrepreneur assumes vague figures for the cost and revenue models of the business they tend to fail at making a connection with the investor. The language codes of an investor better relate to the profitability calculations through metrics such as customer acquisition cost (CAC) and churn and lifetime value (LTV) that calculate, namely, the cost of making the customer try our product and having them keep coming back for it.
Not showing awareness of the potential risks of the business idea demonstrates a lack of research on your part because no product or service is immune in the market. Knowing your competition and how the shortcomings in their product is rectified by you in your product, makes the investors more willing to take the risk.
Did you make the mistake of waiting for the investor’s approval before you sunk your teeth in drawing the business plan, revenue forecasts and cashflow forecasts? Not having copies of these shows that you’re waiting for your idea to be validated before you erect a business out of it.
While the product can be necessary commodity even, if it doesn’t reach the eyes of people, how will they ever be informed of it’s existence? Walking your investors through the marketing strategies that the product or service will be campaigned through will allow the investor to be sure that you’ve discovered your target market and deciphered their needs and wants.
Dragging the presentation slide after slide rather than having an executive summary that sums up what your product or service is all about will be counterintuitive to your objectives. As Albert Einstein has said himself, ’If you can’t explain it simply, you haven’t understood it well enough.”
Not following up after the presentation via a text or a token of gratitude for their valuable time.