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Startup Advice: How to Nail Investor Meetings

 

At some point, chances are a startup will have to raise funds in order to grow their company Unfortunately, acquiring the cash you need to propel forward will be one of the hardest things your company will ever do. However, the investor meeting is crucial to your company’s ability to raise capital. Landing an investor meeting is difficult enough; but when you finally arrange a meeting, it’s imperative that you deliver a great presentation. After all, a meeting with an investor can be a life-changing opportunity. Here are some tips for getting your investor meetings right: 

 

Be Genuine & Authentic

There’s a common misconception that when you step into an investor meeting, you have to be buttoned up and robot-like. Knowing everything you need to know about your industry and business is great, but it isn’t realistic. The truth is, chances are you’ll be asked curveball questions that you don’t always know the answer to, and it’s critical that you always admit what you don’t know and promise to get back to them later. 

 

Every investor hopes to build a long-term relationship, and they’ll recognize when you aren’t being completely transparent. If you bluff or fumble, you’ll seem far more underprepared than if you genuinely don’t know an answer. Instead, mention how you’ll go about collecting the data or mentioning the factors you’ll consider when searching for the best answer to provide them with post-meeting. 

 

Do yourself a favor and skip the small talk. Instead, aim for a powerful, short personal introduction before you launch into your presentation. Investors have sat at dozens of investor meetings and after so many, they can certainly feel habitual and similar to one another, and it’s your job to stand out. 

 

Understand Your Market

One of the biggest concerns potential investors have is whether there is a real market for your product or service. There’s a precarious balance involved here; you want to prove you’ve got a big enough market, but that you’re also niche enough to stand out and still make a profit. For many entrepreneurs, understanding their market is easier said than done. This is often because they make big assumptions based on their personal thoughts of the industry and research that isn’t expansive enough. 

 

If you give an incomplete description of your target market, the rest of your meeting will likely fall to the wayside. Your target market needs to be clearly defined: what are your customer’s buying habits, where do they spend their time, and how do you reach them. If there are emerging markets, identifying and communicating those are also important. Censor and labor bureaus have plenty of data you can use, but you can also hire research services to extrapolate your market projections. 

 

Get Your Logistics Right

It’s not uncommon for founders to be so invested in their presentation that they actually forget about the logistical side of hosting an important meeting; arranging the room, getting the right technology, preparing materials, offering drinks and meals, etc. If you really want to impress, seeking corporate event solutions is a great way to connect with meetings professionals who work hard to understand your meeting goals, source the right meeting venues, and eliminate the guesswork. This is even more helpful if you find yourself raising funds and arranging meeting after meeting. 

 

Convey Your Unique Selling Point

Your unique selling proposition covers the primary reasons why an investor would want to work with you. What are your special advantages and how can you demonstrate them? Your unique selling point should be described in 30 seconds or less. It helps to take a look at other USPs. For example, FedEx’s winning USP was, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” When it comes to defining your USP, identify how your target market’s problem is uniquely solved by your solution. 

 

Watch Investor Presentations

One of the best ways to avoid some of the more common presentation mistakes is to see how others have spearheaded their own investor pitches. Popular television shows like “Shark Tank” are a great and simple way to get started. Pay particular attention to the questions investors are interested from episode to episode and you’ll notice important commonalities. Notice where presenters fail to impress. 

 

It’s also important that you step outside of the TV reality world of investing and see real-life pitching. There are plenty of ways you can do this. Many cities host pitching competitions that give you an idea of how startups initially attract investors and land the coveted investor meeting. If you are located near incubators and/or accelerators, these programs host “Demo Days” where startups pitch to a room full of investors. In some cases, these events are open to the public.

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