Review of an Excellent Pitch Workshop: Try to Tease the Investor

Irene Bejenke WalshThis week we attended the Perfect Pitch workshop by Irene Bejeneke-Walsh, business angel herself and trainer. The format is such that attendees are able to practice their pitch of their business and there is a peer-to-peer discussion on those pitches by the other attendees. After all the practice, Irene shows the art & science of pitching; she gives a hint for the required slides and the minimum content needed, and she gives an overview what investors are looking for in a pitch. We came along to observe and practice.

The first presenter got feedback, which any entrepreneur should write down:

  • Make your story human; describe the mission and the problem you are solving, which can be higher than the actual product.
  • Don’t go on and on about your product. Investors want to hear the financial return on the product.
  • Tell something about your achievements so far, such as milestones or turnover or your career.
  • Address your competition.
  • Be clear about the business model. Also, when you are tweaking the business model.
  • Point out your team and tell something about their qualifications.
  • Tell something about how you will achieve the market strategy, especially when you are developing a consumer brand.
  • Are there any tests that you have done? To be able to show consumer interest is important.

If the content of the pitch is perfected, you can work at the delivery of the pitch.

After the practising, Irene discussed the themes to be each shortly discussed in a pitch and stated:

Try to tease the investor, get them interested to have a meeting with you or that they are interested in your business plan.

Overall warning to the pitching entrepreneurs: "Don’t go on about features, but about benefits. Benefits of the product to the consumers, benefit of the product to the investor, benefit of the product if one compared it to competitors."

These are the themes that Irene said are important:

  1. Achievements to date
  2. Management Team (Relevant background)
  3. Product (Features, Problem, Solution, USP, demo)
  4. Target Market (Size, Growth, Opportunity, Target Audience, Research)
  5. Competition (Show Market knowledge)
  6. Business Model (current+future revenue model, sustainable, scaleable business, sales and marketing strategy)
  7. Revenue (Total current Revenues, Revenue growth, Profiability)
  8. Financial Forecast (3 year forecast, Be realistic)
  9. Funds required (Amount of money sought for a negotiable stake, IES Scheme)
  10. Investment Plan (How to spend the invested money)
  11. Exit (How are going to return the money?Timetable, Trade sale, Recent deals in the sector)

As to the Company Snapshot, tell the following:

  1. Sales/Profitability
  2. Customers
  3. Competitive Advantage
  4. Funding Obtained
  5. Own money Invested
  6. Growth
  7. Patents
  8. Outstanding People
  9. Offer to investors, minimum investment, and tax relief
  10. Why invest in us?

A couple of don’ts were also highlighted: Don’t mention your sweat equity or your opportunity costs as previous investment. You can put a small salary in the investment plan.

And for clarity: Use 44pt for headings and 28pt for body text.

An entrepreneur should also know the drive of the angel investor to provide capital.

Investors want to have fun, they want to make a profit, be a little bit hands-on, and they want to invest in entrepreneurs who are going to be soul mates in the business. The pitchpreneur has thus to be humble and confident and cooperative at the same time.

Irene stated that in order to be a bit upbeat when pitching, it is good to start listing the achievements what the entrepreneur has already done before she starts pitching.

For example at The NextWomen we can list the following achievements:

-       Started in UK in October 2008, now in NL and Belgium

-       1000 articles, 60.000 visits a month, 10.000 community

-       20 events last year

-       Launch of mentoring program

-       Through our network lots of women were matched and even a fund was launched

-       Pilot of print magazine

-       Many paid speaker & expert requests

-       2 employees, 10 freelancers

-       Cash flow positive turnover per month

-       Recipient of Pioneer prize + Challenger award

-       Coverage in Sunday times, Quote etc.

-       Request to start in other countries

-       Substantial partners and sponsors

-       Third party endorsements, major entrepreneurs come to us

When we wrote this down, we were ready for speed pitching, as there was practising of speed pitching, 1 minute of pitching towards your peers. You learn how much you can cramp into a minute.

Narrowing it down, the entrepreneur should list what are the 3 most important things to convey?

Who is it?

What is it?

What do I need?

Most people forget to pitch their credentials, their achievements, and their relevant market.  And in such a short pitch: Try to link to existing proven models/brands, such as ‘we are the E-bay of… or....

we are the Female Business Week”.

You see, everybody can do this!

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