How to Pitch to Investors: Survey Says It’s The #1 Topic
I’d like to thank everyone who responded to our recent reader survey about what’s most important to you, our readers, with respect to starting, growing and funding your companies. The number one thread throughout the survey responses is that readers were most interested in how to pitch to investors.
If you haven’t participated in the survey yet, please take a few moments to tell me what’s most important to you in these areas of business. Based on the answers you’ve all provided we are tailoring upcoming posts around the things you rated most critical to your success.
I thought it would be great to share some of the feedback you’ve each provided so that you can see what your peers find most critical to funding their business ventures. What’s most apparent from the survey is that many of you are focused on making the best first impression with investor opportunities. Equally important, most of you want to learn more tactics and strategies for getting connected to investors. These are topics that I’ve covered quite a lot over the past year, but looking forward I plan to revisit many of these tactics and strategies freshly and with an eye toward very specific ways to be well-prepared to make a powerful first impression and to make great investor connections (and more of them).
However, a few less obvious things really stood out for me in assessing your responses to the survey. We created the survey specifically to assess your interest in these matters, so I’m excited to share those with you how I plan to approach them in coming weeks. As you’ll recall, the survey asks you to rank each topic based on how important it was to you right now. Going forward, I’m going to focus on those areas where a high percentage of you listed the topic as “critically important.” Happily, your answers provided a clear picture of where to focus my posts going forward.
Nearly 80% of you are very interested in or feel it is critically important that you develop the ability to rapidly scale your enterprise 40% to 100% in the coming year and year-on-year. That tells me a large percentage of you, our readers, have going concerns and are approaching, or already in, growth phase. You’re interested in how to maximize growth now and for the future. So, we’re going to explore where growth comes from, what limits growth and what fosters it. As always, I’m going to approach this from great research in the field, but with an eye towards how growth impacts your current and future valuation, how investors view current and projected growth and how your team composition and leadership style can enhance or impede growth.
More than 75% of you are very interested in or feel it is critically important that you learn how to pitch investors and big potential accounts effectively and win most of the time. That second clause, “win most of the time” is the key thing here. You could be a great pitch-man or pitch-woman, but still not “win” most of the time, because pitching investments considered very low odds. It doesn’t have to be. You can really learn to win most of the time. Let’s do it.
Between 70% and 75% of you are very interested in, or feel it is critically important that you learn to be in a place of power when it comes to three core issues around funding your companies: 1) being clearly understood by investors; 2) being the “prize” instead of groveling for the check; and 3) getting the check without selling your soul ( that is, too much of your stock too early in the game). One thing I found interesting about this set of responses and how important they are to you is that this is exactly what we’ve been discussing in the multitude of posts about business leaders just like you that completed the Entrepreneur’$ Boot Camp with George Kenney and me. I’m gratified that so many of you have been interested in what we’ve shared in those success stories. And, we will continue to publish posts of this nature. But in the end actually completing the Boot Camp or our Fast Track to Funding program is where you’ll develop the “in the trenches” experience that will provide you the highest value in mastering the funding game.
Each of these three issues is inter-related. There is value in looking at them independently as there are specific tactics and strategies that can be used to improve your position with investors in all three areas. But I think it’s a mistake to address one, or two, without looking at the others. So, this is a cluster of issues that we will address synergistically, from the point of view that having the right data, presented in the right way is the “golden key” to success in funding.
One useful analogy is the experience of seeking a loan, for example, to buy a car or a house. Most people come from a place of weakness with regard to the lender. They need the money to get something they very much want and the lender has all the power. If the data doesn’t add up, no loan. End of story. So, the borrower has to have a certain credit score, asset profile, collateral, proof of income or ability to repay the loan. But it’s not so simple with business loans. If the borrower knows how to stay in a stronger position, he or she can actually get lenders to compete for the loan — as long as the data is reasonably good. So, when it comes to getting and staying in the power position with investors, you’ll have to make that data really appealing (which most entrepreneurs don’t instinctively understand how to do) and you’ll have to make them want to be the one who has the privilege of backing your venture.
So as winter turns to spring we are going to think green (pun intended). We’re going to think green in terms of a “go” sign for your company towards higher and sustainable growth and what it takes to accomplish that. We’re going to think green in terms of money as you learn what it takes to close the investors and key accounts you need. And, we’re going to think green in terms of “green with envy” as you learn to stand out from the crowd, get the attention of the key stakeholders, and close them masterfully.
My great thanks to all of you who took the time to complete our survey so that we can make this blog your go-to source for actionable information you need where it is most critically important to your success.
If you would like to contribute your interests to our reader survey, you can answer a few questions and give your input here.