Often, the most challenging part of starting or growing a business is finding enough money. The economy has been hurting for years, and many investors are reluctant to give money to an enterprise that doesn't seem like a sure bet.
If you're struggling in your search for venture capital or new investors, you may benefit from revising your pitch. The business magazine Entrepreneur recently offered some helpful tips:
Keep it concise: The initial description of what your company does and why it merits investment shouldn't take any longer than 30 to 60 seconds.
Choose your targets wisely: Don't waste time with people who aren't going to end up helping you. Most investors and venture capital firms specialize in a certain areas - choose one in your field and you'll have a trusted advisor in addition to a source of capital.
Know your stuff: You should be able to answer common questions without referring to your notes. This includes all of your company's important metrics, like customer base size, revenue projections and cash flow. In addition, be prepared to discuss your competition and overall market conditions.
Explain your role: Be prepared to explain why you are a unique asset to your company. Do you have particularly valuable prior experience? Have you taken classes that will help you in your business pursuits? Further, be sure to mention your own financial investments in the company. It shows commitment to the cause.
Be realistic: This is especially true when it comes to explaining your future growth. Few things turn investors off as much as clearly unrealistic projections of success. Be prepared to explain your methodology.
Have a plan: Know exactly what you plan to do with the money and tell that to the potential investor.
Ask: Always be sure to close out with asking for a precise sum of money.
Source: Entrepreneur, "10 Ways to Get Investors to Listen to Your Business Pitch," Carol Tice, Feb. 14, 2012.