How to build confidence before an investment pitch

When it comes to raising capital for your company, an experienced founder will tell you that getting your foot in the door to pitch for investment is only just the start of the journey. One of the biggest obstacles founders face in their efforts to get funding is the dreaded first round of persuading a group of strangers to put money into your business.

Let's be honest, presenting to a group of people is nerve-racking at the best of times, but throw in a high-stakes environment, several strangers and some tough questions and it becomes a situation tough enough to knock the confidence of even the most self-assured founders. 

However, there are some ways you can make sure you put your best foot forward on the day and it all comes down to one thing: preparation. Here’s some of my top tips to help you build confidence ahead of your investment pitch.

Firstly, pinpoint the problem and how your business is the solution

These are two of the most important things that you’ll need to hook an investor’s attention, besides financial information. Investors will want to see that your startup’s offering something genuinely unique. Before you go into the room to pitch you should be able to clearly articulate what problem your business is solving. 

As this is often the start of your pitch, learn this off by heart so you can pitch "in your sleep". When you feel nervous at the start of the presentation, you’ll be able to operate on "auto pilot" whilst you gather yourself and settle into the pitch.

Know your key financials and business growth plans inside out

If there’s one thing an investor wants to know more than anything, it’s your financials. By the time you step into the pitching room, you should know your balance sheet, business growth plans and client case studies inside out. Be prepared to be challenged on this part as investors will spot any oversights or gaps in information quickly and will want to quiz you on them.

Practice in front of those who’ve done it

If you can, practice your pitch in front of other startup founders, ideally ones who have recently raised investment. Who better to get advice from than people who’ve already been there and done it? Get them to ask tough questions - the trickier they are, the better, so you can feel really prepared. You can also ask them for their insights, practical advice and tips.

Be mindful of timing, tone and speed

It’s very easy when you’re nervous to speed through a presentation and finish early. But this isn’t helpful for investors who want to take time to read through and digest information, so go at a slightly slower pace when presenting so that you deliver the information clearly and concisely - this will also help you to not run out of breath. 

It’s also very handy to time yourself so that you don’t go over or under the allocated time, and be sure to leave plenty of time for questions.

And lastly…

Remember you don't have to say everything in a pitch. A pitch is an invitation to start a longer conversation. Focus on what will get an investor's attention and stop worrying about what you may miss out.

Be yourself - let your passion and commitment to the business shine through!