If you are trying to raise capital for your business venture, you will probably have to deliver a business pitch to prospective investors. For your pitch to be successful, it must be engaging, informative, and highly compelling. You will need to convince the prospects of both the viability of your business and your personal business acumen.
One of the most important elements of delivering a professional business pitch is getting the structure right. A well-structured business pitch or sales presentation is much more likely to maintain the attention of your audience and will answer all of the questions that your prospective investors may have. This post will share a tried-and-tested business pitch structure to help you secure the capital your business needs.
Introduce yourself and your business
Start by introducing yourself and the business that you are pitching. It is often useful to share some details of your background including your industry experience, previous business ventures, and your role within the company. If you have decided to incorporate storytelling into the presentation (often a powerful strategy), begin the story in this part of the presentation.
Define the problem
Identify a problem that you have discovered in the market. This could be:
- An unfulfilled need in the market
- A problem that will occur in the future as market conditions change
- A practical problem that could be solved with an invention
- A very specific problem affecting certain kinds of businesses, and so on
Your summary of this problem be concise and easy-to-understand. You may have to include supporting data which proves the problem exists including statistics, demographics, and external reports.
Describe your solution
Share the solution to the problem that you identified a moment ago. For example, if the problem was that local businesses struggle to manage their employee rosters — the solution might be an innovative new piece of software that makes employee management easy. Deliver a short description of your solution.
You may find it useful to include some of the business’ branding elements as you introduce the solution. This will give the impression of you have a complete and robust product or service that is ready for market.
Explain your business case in greater depth
In this section of the presentation, you will delve deeper into the details of your business case and how your business will flourish in current market conditions. This section of the presentation can touch on aspects like:
- Market analysis
Showcase facts and figures about the current market conditions which support up your business case. In the example mentioned earlier (employee management software), you could provide data that shows many businesses have this problem and there aren’t many effective solutions available.
- Customer needs
Are customers interested in the solution that you are providing? Does it meet all of their needs? Share any data you have which shows that your business’ solution is what customers are looking for.
- Competitive position
How competitive will the business be compared to other businesses already in the market? What gives your business a competitive advantage?
- Marketing strategy
How do you intend to market your solution to consumers?
Which risks affect the business and how do you plan to mitigate them?
You should provide plenty of data throughout this section of the presentation, including statistics, surveys, and demographical data. However, it is important that the data be presented in a way that is easy for your prospects to understand. Using videos and rich media in your presentations is key to present your message in an engaging way as well as advanced features such as augmented reality to really impress your prospects.
Detail your business model
The aim of this section is to explain how your business will operate on a day to day basis. Discuss any other relevant aspects of your business model including:
- What it takes to make your products and services
Discuss the design of your product, licensing requirements, intellectual property rights, manufacturing agreements, size of labour force, current funding arrangements, and so on. If your products or services aren’t ready for market, tell the prospects what is required to become fully operational and turn a profit
- What it takes to sell your products and services
How the business will market and distribute its products, or how it will deliver its services. How big will the advertising campaign be? Is the product sold in stores or offered online?
- How the customer pays to obtain your products and services
The pricing strategy, payment methods, payment timing, customer financing agreements and so on.
Share more details of your team
Tell the prospective investors about the unique skills, industry knowledge, expertise that your team has. If there are any advisors or business mentors associated with the business, go into their backgrounds as well. Talk about the current structure of your company and how it might change if the investors were to come on board.
Showcase the financial performance of the business
In this part of the pitch, you will share how much the business is currently making and what you expect to make in the future. Be sure to provide data that backs up any earnings forecasts.
At this point, you will share the valuation of your company with the investors and how you reached this figure. Explain how much capital has already been put into the business — including your labour. Share details of the current investors and how much capital they have placed into the business.
Importantly, you must show the investors how much capital you require and how they will be paid back for their investment. Will it be an initial public offering (IPO) or will investors simply receive their investment back (plus profit) at a certain date? What will happen if certain targets are not met? What business exit strategies will be available for investors? How much equity will they have?
The investors will probably know a lot more about investing than you do as a business owner. They will probably begin asking questions at this point, so be prepared with answers.
It’s often worth finishing up with a graphic that demonstrates the key milestones for your business. This will helps the investors understand the timeline associated with your business, including its development, their initial investment, and when they might see a profit. Discuss how milestones may be affected if there are delays or unforeseen challenges.
Conclusion and questions
Finally, conclude your presentation and take questions. If you decided to use storytelling in your pitch, conclude the story here. Be prepared to take additional questions and remember to thank the investors for their time.