If you’ve got that entrepreneurial flame burning for you, chances are your head is already full of incredible business plans. You see every idea as an opportunity to create something new and make the world a better place – and it’s something you should always nurture and encourage.
But, no matter how many business ideas you have or how good they are, your chances of putting them into practice are pretty slim if you lack the finances for it. While the best financing option for a young, small business would be to use your savings and do it yourself, setting aside that much money is impossible for a lot of people.
However, lacking your own financial means doesn’t mean your business idea has to die. There are other ways to secure funding for your next entrepreneurial project, and one of them is reaching out to investors.
If this sounds scary to you – you’re not alone. The fear of rejection and embarrassment is what makes people give up on their ideas before they even consider putting them into practice. But it doesn’t have to be that way – there are many different ways you can reach out to investors and make the process fun and learning experience, instead of a stressful, nerve-racking thing.
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Two ways you can secure investments
When it comes to funding your next business endeavour, there are two ways you can go – the traditional and the modern.
The traditional way of securing funding is to launch an IPO and go on a meeting spree with every possible investor you can think of. IPOs, or initial public offerings, are commonly issued by small companies and entrepreneurs looking for capital to expand. What that means is going about, promoting your business and convincing big investors to buy your stocks and make your company solvent.
The non-traditional, modern way to fund your business is to go with the internet-favorite crowdfunding. Raising money from a large number of people via the internet has been around since the late 90s, but has really caught on in the past few years.
And with some companies receiving tens of millions of dollars in donations (most popular of whom are Star Citizen, Pebble, and Coolest Cooler), it’s no wonder why pitching your idea to the people is less scary that pitching it to the guys on Wall Street.
But, instead of opting for one or the other – why not do it both ways? Raising capital from both sides of the funding spectrum will not only help you reach your goal faster, but it will also make it less risky and uncertain.
It’s important you know what your options are and how to get the most of them.
Outlining the perfect presentation – important things to keep in mind
Now that you’ve got the basis inquiring investments covered, it’s time to move on to the real deal – making the presentation.
The presentation you’ll pitch to your investors (be it large enterprises, single contributors or the crowdfunding you through the internet) is more important than your actual product. Think of the presentation as a powerful packaging, one that can either make or break your product.
Having a perfect presentation is important due to the natural human tendency to connect with the story around a product, rather than the product itself. While this might seem like a cliché, it’s actually the only thing you need to have in mind the entire time you’re working on your new business.
Before you start working on the outline of your pitch, you need to know what your audience is and what they react to. Knowing exactly what and where the target is will make you hit the bullseye every single time. Here are a few things you need to consider before writing an outline for your presentation:
How much money they’re willing to donate
Knowing where your investors stand regarding the height of their contributions is the key to a successful pitch. If you’re looking into acquiring hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars, you need to tailor your pitch according to that. Investors interested in contributing that much money are more likely to be concerned with your long-term business plan, detailed market analysis, and thorough investment studies.
Crowdfunding, on the other hand, requires a completely different approach. You’ll be reaching out to tens of thousands of people of different ages, locations, and genders, most of whom won’t be all that concerned with the depth of your investment study. What they’ll react to is the story you create around your brand and your product.
So, make sure your presentation is tailored to your audience, and if you’re aiming at both sides – two presentations it is.
What questions they might ask
While having a large audience when acquiring investments has a lot of benefits, it doesn’t mean that it lacks cons. One of the main negative aspects of reaching wide is the amount and the complexity of the questions you’ll be hit with when it comes to your brand and your product.
You need to keep this in mind when writing the outline for your pitch – take every aspect of your product, company and business plan and make at least a few different questions for each one. Ask your friends, family and even strangers to help you out with this – the more input you get, the better.
What kind of performance they react to
It might seem like the way you deliver your presentation doesn’t have all that much to do with the way you write it. However, it’s better to have a clear idea of what your pitch will look like before you even start writing. That way, you’ll be creating a detailed, scripted performance, instead of just plain text you have to work with.
Make sure you know what your audience likes – do they prefer an energetic friendly approach from a peer or do they value a calm, calculated approach from an experienced business person more?
If you’re pitching to a group of white-collar investment bankers, then you’re probably better off taking a calm, confident approach and going into details about the technicalities of your business plan. If you’re pitching to a group of peers on crowdfunding sites such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, we suggest you take a more passionate and energetic stance when it comes to your product. Use pop culture references, make your designs stand out with vivid colors and bold messages, and hard-sell your story.
Making the presentation – the dos and don’ts
We’ve covered the matter of your presentation; now it’s time to go over the way you should format it.
When it comes to presentations and investor pitches, the way you present your idea is as important, if not more, than the idea itself. Seeing how important a good presentation is, people often jump into creating long, elaborate powerpoint slides and intricate Excel tables. But, “the more the merrier” parole doesn’t apply to investor pitches, which is why you should keep your presentation simple, sleek, and professional.
Here are the don’ts of creating investor presentations:
1.Don’t use PowerPoint
Although this is the easiest and by far the most convenient tool you can use to make a presentation, you should avoid it at all costs. Not only does it make you and your team look like amateurs, but it can also come off as lazy and unprofessional.
2.Don’t use Excel
You’ll rarely find a tool as useful and versatile as Excel. But, as amazing as it might be, you should never create your investor pitch in Excel. While big money, corporate investors might know they way around excel, it will come off as plain, depersonalized and almost too utilitarian.
3.Don’t use MS Word
What you should do instead is:
1.Make a presentation online
Don’t make a presentation in one of the programs mentioned above and then uploading it to a cloud server. Instead, create a website where you’ll go into more details about your idea and explain the plans for your business.
Why do it this way, you might wonder?
First of all, having a sleek and professional website for your business will help you stand out from the sea of boring PowerPoint presentations and awkward, unintelligible graphs and charts. A well-executed website will make you look passionate and devoted to promoting your idea and your business.
Secondly, a website is much easier to share than a 40-slide presentation or a 15,000-word investment study. This can be especially beneficial if you decide to go down the crowdfunding road. You’ll want as many people to see and know about your business, and the easiest way you can do that is to provide them with a simple link to everything that you have to say.
And finally, a website is much, much easier to create than an elaborate Excel sheet. There are many website building platforms available online these days, both free and paid subscriptions – a quick Google search will yield hundreds, even thousands of those. However, if you want to keep the building part of the website as easy as possible, and maximize on the fun of it, we suggest going with SITE123.
This free website building platform is built with an amazing code that allows you to create, customize and publish a professionally-looking website in minutes. Its easy-to-use interface and the ability to customize every aspect of the page’s design makes it a favorite among small business owners and entrepreneurs.
2.Translate your website to different languages
Catering to a local audience and investors living nearby is a great way to secure support for your business idea. But, presenting your company in just a single language can also have its shortcomings. Most big cities are cultural melting points, and with the increasing number of countries beaming with diversity, it’s a good business move to offer your products and services in more than one language.Don’t let this scare you – it doesn’t mean you have to pay ridiculous amounts of money for your website to be professionally translated. What you can do instead, is use the site building platform we’ve mentioned above, SITE123, and use its incredible translation feature. This new addition to an already complex, yet responsive code enables users to duplicate their website into any one of the 50 available languages.
No need to cover every language spoken on the face of the planet, though – offering your page in 3 languages will be more than enough to triple your client base and make your business look serious and professional.
Bonus fact – when you create a website in two or three different languages, each one of those languages gets its own domain. For example, if you create a website in French, English, and German, your domain names will look like this: mydomain.com/fr, mydomain.com/en, or mydomain.de.
3.Protect your website with a password
Making your entire website private won’t do you much good when it comes to gaining traction online. What you should do is protect one or two important pages with a password so that only paying contributors or selected investors can access them. You can use these pages to offer more in-depth information about your business or provide your customers with a link where they can download investment studies, market research, or other long-form business paperwork you’ve created.
While many website building platforms offer this feature, none of them makes it as easy and as convenient as SITE123 does. Along with their language manager and incredibly simple interface, they should be your number one option for creating an online investment pitch for your business.
So, to sum everything up, here are a few of the most important points we’ve covered in this article:
- Having no money doesn’t mean your business idea has to go to waste.
- There are two ways you can raise money – traditional investors or modern crowdfunding.
- Both of these ways have their pros and cons – which is why you should use both.
- Don’t rush into making a presentation without considering who you’re making it for.
- Know what you’re up against – research your audience and cater to them
- Don’t use traditional presentation software such as MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint.
- Instead of a presentation, create a website where you can promote your business idea or startup.
- Use a reliable, responsive, easy to use website building platform.
- Duplicate your website to one or two additional languages to broaden your audience base.
- Add special contributor content to your website and protect it with a password.
- While it’s true that no two business ideas are alike, following this blueprint will help your idea gain traction and help you reach success.