How to Prepare for Investor Pitch Competitions and Win

How to Prepare for Investor Pitch Competitions and Win

Investor pitch competitions can be a great way to be seen by potential investors, build your network and, if everything aligns well, win some prize money for your startup.

Last night the winner of the Women Founders Network 2017 Fast Pitch competition was Sashee Chandran, the founder of Tea Drops. I was ecstatic because I was her pitch coach. As a coach and trainer, there’s nothing more gratifying than when you see the people you work with do what it takes to excel and reap the rewards of their hard work.

Tea Drops makes a great product that hits on many levels – it’s delicious, healthy, organic, fair trade, made in the USA, convenient, and visually appealing. Clearly, Sashee was off to a great start before she began pitching investors.

The other CEOs who pitched their companies last night were also impressive. Quite often, even the people who don’t win pitch competitions, but pitch very well and have a great business concept, receive funding from investors who saw them pitch. If you’re planning to enter a pitch competition, assume the other pitchers will be great and prepare thoroughly so that no matter what you will have no regrets.

Here are some tips to ace investor pitch competitions. There’s more involved in the process, and success comes from how you complete each step, but this will provide a roadmap to get you started. These are the steps I took Sashee through to help prepare her for the competition.

Refine and streamline your pitch deck.

Be sure your deck answers the major questions that will be in the minds of your audience in your presentation. Address the problem, solution, market size, potential, competition, financials, marketing plan, team, and how you use the funding.

Have your pitch deck reviewed by someone outside your company.

This is always where I begin when people come to me for pitch coaching. When you’re too close to something, it’s hard to see it clearly. Having your pitch deck reviewed by someone who has looked at hundreds or thousands of them with a professional eye will help you to see where the holes are and what needs streamlining.

Refine your deck again.

Although it may be tempting to try to slide by with your current deck, take the time to make the necessary changes that you were advised to make. (This is one of the first things I admired about Sashee when we first began working together. She listened to my feedback and immediately went to work on refining her deck after I reviewed it.)

Rehearse delivering your pitch until it is IN you, and continue elevating your delivery.

Most people underestimate how many times they should rehearse a pitch or presentation. My recommendation is to rehearse it as many times as it takes for you to run through it without wondering what comes next. When you can deliver your pitch as if you are fluidly telling a story that you know inside and out, your mind won’t be focused on trying to remember: you will be more fully present in the moment and able to share your passion.

Get feedback on your delivery.

You might video yourself and watch your video to try to improve your performance, but having a trusted advisor give you feedback on your body language, word usage and other elements of your communication will be even more helpful.

When I prepare clients for investor pitches or pitch competitions, I provide feedback and recommendations on all aspects of their delivery so they show up exuding confidence, authority and warmth (a very winning combination).

Prepare for the Q&A.

In most pitch competitions, after you have delivered your pitch there is a brief question-and-answer session. Prepare responses to every typical question and tough question you might be asked, and rehearse delivering them. Savvy investors will want to know that you’re able to objectively see any potential roadblocks and have plans to work around them.

Take good care of yourself and block out several hours prior to the pitch competition.

Be sure to leave time to clear your head and relax before the pitch competition. Try to avoid dealing with draining tasks that can be dealt with another day. Conserve your energy so you show up centered, joyful and confident.

Take the stage and shine!

From the moment you’re in view, you’re being watched. Walk on stage (or to the front of the room) with confidence and positivity. Take a beat to center yourself and then begin.

If you’ve done the work, the very least you will do is your very best.

 

If you want help preparing for investor pitches, a pitch competition, or other presentations, click here to arrange a complimentary consultation with me.

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Media Trainer Shares about Preparing for Presentations: Questions and Answers from Shark Tank Teleseminar

Media Trainer Shares about Preparing for Presentations: Questions and Answers from Shark Tank Teleseminar

Inspired by ABC TV’s Shark Tank, I recently hosted a complimentary teleseminar, with Financial Expert Dean Erickson, to share tools, advice and strategies on helping entrepreneurs calm their nerves, on preparing for presentations and on landing great sponsors and lucrative business deals.

During the Get Ready for Shark Tank Teleseminar, I received many great questions from attendees. In case you’ve missed this on my Facebook page, here are the questions, along with my answers.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to post them on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ExpertMediaTraining

Q: What if you are presenting something that is completely new: nobody else is doing or has done it in the past? How do you run projection numbers? Service business.

A: If your concept is brand new, most investors would want to see proof of concept, so you should provide the service and create a track record of measurable results. Projections will be challenging, but if you can show that there is a viable market and that you can make money, and that you can expand the service offering beyond what you can provide as an individual, investors could be interested.

Q: How do you protect your idea during the Shark Tank/pitching process?

A: Consider working with an intellectual property (IP) attorney, who can help you with copyrights, trademarks and patents. Beyond that, if you’re approaching investors (not the Sharks on Shark Tank), you can ask them to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) before you share the details of your idea. If you’re going on Shark Tank, remember that it’s televised, so don’t share anything you wouldn’t want to broadcast to the world.

Q: How much of the development process will they assist you with if the idea is complex?

A: Each Shark (and each investor) is different. The Sharks generally want you to have developed the product beyond the prototype phase so that you can present them with an idea of manufacturing costs, and so you can have had time to sell the product and test the market. There are some investors and venture capital firms and business incubators that help more with product development than others. This is where research comes in.

Q: Will the Sharks consider working with me if the concept of my idea is simple, but the construction is a bit more complicated than my level of expertise?

A: It’s possible. However, the Sharks more often invest in a business that’s going than they do in an idea that needs development from the beginning. Most investors would expect you to do the legwork of finding a designer or engineer to help you develop your idea further, before you approach them.

Q: Which Shark in your opinion would you recommend?

A: Each Shark has his or her specific abilities, personality traits, interests and industry connections. It’s good to think through what you need and how you work best, and then consider which Shark would be the best fit for you. However, as you can see by watching the show, sometimes the Sharks surprise you, and the Shark you’d never imagine would step up and say yes to a deal does, and the Shark who seemed like the obvious fit for the project declines.

Q: I noticed how the contestant will tell the Sharks that they do their own social media and SEO. Is that necessary to do your own labor or delegate it?

A: You don’t have to handle your own social media or SEO. However, as the head of your company, you should be very involved and know your numbers. Social media is used by most companies for marketing and PR purposes, so the management of social media should be taken seriously as a marketing/PR function. SEO is also an aspect of marketing, so you should know your numbers, such as numbers of unique visitors to your site, and, possibly, demographics of your site visitors.

Here are more links you might find useful:

About our Pitch Coaching

How To Prepare for Presentations – 6 Tips to Make Effective Presentations – from a Presentation Trainer

Acronyms and Abbreviations in Media Interviews and Speeches

Body Language in Interviews and Meetings – Nonverbal Communication

 

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

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