Six tips to win over investors and secure funding for your business

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By Jenny Tooth, CEO, UK Business Angels Association

Applications are open for the The Investor Pitch, a series of showcases taking place at the 2018 International Business Festival (12-28 June) in partnership with the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA). Six to eight of the UK’s most promising entrepreneurs will be chosen to pitch a group of high quality investors and secure funding for their business. The initiative aims to highlight the most exciting businesses in the UK and address the funding gap which prevents many small businesses from scaling up and reaching their potential.

Pitching can be a nerve-wracking process. The opportunity has the potential to boost your business to the next stage of growth, but the tricky part is being able to sell your business in an engaging and exciting way. Practice and preparation are crucial of course but there are a few key pieces of advice every entrepreneur can easily take on board for their pitch.

Here are my six tips for entrepreneurs pitching to investors:

  • Do your homework. It’s essential to know the vital statistics of your business, not only for pitching showcases, but because you never know when you might meet an investor who is interested in your business. Practise your elevator pitch as often as possible. Can you articulate your vision in a succinct and engaging way? Try filming your pitch so you can watch it back and critique yourself.
  • Be human. Start your pitch with a quick hook that grabs the emotional attention of the audience. Why did you start your business? What are you trying to achieve? Try to make the audience laugh at least once but don’t turn it into a comedy routine. Try to strike the right balance between personable and professional to show investors you are serious about your business.
  • Memorise your figures. Investors will want to know about your product but will be most interested in the figures and what value they will get for their share. Once you have their interest you don’t want to lose it by making them wait to see your financial framework. Typically, an investor will want to see how much has been invested to date, how you will deploy the investment and exactly how much funding you are seeking.
  • Don’t rush. At The Investor Pitch, each entrepreneur will have just six minutes to pitch their business. This is enough time to sell your vision so don’t be tempted to rush. Speak slowly and use plain English – don’t use jargon that will confuse or alienate your listener. Be confident and engage with your audience, if you want them to invest your business you have to look them in the eye and connect with them.
  • Be clear. For The Investor Pitch showcases, we help entrepreneurs with their presentation decks. Keep slides clean and clutter-free and use graphs or diagrams that require little to no explanation. Use bright and clear images as they tend be more reliable than videos, which can sometimes fail to start. All these elements together will help present and clear and confident picture of your business.
  • Sell your vision. Show the investor where you want to be and how you will get there, not just what you currently have or are. Investors are looking for people with a passion for their business and who know what they need to reach their goal.

Entries for The Investor Pitch are open until May 14 and selected companies will be announced on May 22. Businesses will be judged on evidence of capacity to scale, differentiation from competitors and must be looking for £250,000 to £10 million. The full criteria and application forms can be found at www.internationalbusinessfestival.com/investment-OPPORTUNITIES