One of the biggest concerns any business owner has relates to their capital and do they have enough backing or funds to keep things moving forward until a product or services become known and sought by the target market. Most will not be able to fund such a journey all on their own, some get much-needed backing from friends and family, but when it comes to looking for help from venture capitalists and VC firms, here are some ideas to keep in mind.
Let them see your passion
…And, let them see who you are as well. Yes, you need all the financial information, the charts and graphs and all that, venture capitalism is inherently risky, so the people investing their funds in your efforts don’t just want to know the dry details. They want to see who will be using those funds and find a connection. Your passion and personality are major factors in their decision. If someone passes on your pitch, it probably has at least a little to do with a lack of connection to you – not your product or service. So figure out what it is about you that is most appealing and can work to your advantage, then find a way to make that front and center in all presentations.
Hone your 2-minute concise presentation
A lot of investors – and other people too – are BUSY! No matter how nice they may be, they don’t have time to listen to anyone fumble through a presentation for 45 minutes. When you find the right fit, you’ll need to do the 45 minute (or more) meeting, but initially, don’t waste people’s time, spend hours and even days getting your one to two-minute “elevator” pitch just right. Know how to say it without it becoming rote. Keep it interesting, but don’t hem and haw, and don’t ramble. It is more professional and wins points with most people on the listening end of a pitch.
Find a good fit before pitching
There are a lot of investors and investment firms, and not all are interested in your type of business. Spend the time to find the ones investing in the type of business you do, and that have a track record of success with businesspeople who have similar traits and characteristics to yours. If you simply throw ideas at every possible investor, you’ll spend a lot of time being turned down, and that can dull your presentation eventually. Start by finding three to five good fits, then give them your best performance.
And as you do all of these and more, don’t forget that an investment in your company may not always be about directly putting cash into your business for them to be paid back at a future date. Watch a few episodes of “Shark Tank,” and you’ll soon see that all kinds of deals are offered, mentoring, money, partnerships, and more. Seriously consider all offers and recognize that the mentorship (even without any cash flow) from someone with many successes, could be invaluable.
Chris Burch is a venture capitalist and founder of Burch Creative Capital.