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Pitching Your New Business Idea – The Four Most Important Tips You’ll Ever Read (Posted by Innovate UK)

Wed, 27 April 2016

If the prospect of pitching your new business idea to investors has you quaking in your boots, you’re on the right track.
Being daunted or even terrified ahead of the big pitch basically demonstrates how important it is to you and how important it is that things go well. If you have something of a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude by contrast, you are already on thin ice. If you have a great idea and the determination to follow through with it, the only thing missing from the equation is financial backing. Which in turn means that the entire future of your proposed business could rest on the outcome of your pitch – the very dictionary definition of a pressure cooker situation.

Nevertheless, armed with your own savvy and the following four tips, you may just find the odds tipped a little more favourably in your direction:
 
1. Target the Right Investors
While it’s true to say that any financial backing is better than no financial backing at all, every investor out there doesn’t represent the best investor for your business. There’s a very big difference between gaining a cash injection and gaining the advice, support and access to the professional network of an investor who shares your vision, passion and subjects interest. Roughly translated, invest your efforts in targeting investors that are able to offer far more than just cash alone – their input and experience may prove more valuable than all the money in the world.
 
2. Get Your Deck In Order
Given the fact that you will only have a few minutes to win them over, you need to prepare an engaging and inspiring deck. It’s basically a case of condensing your entire business plan into a brief slide show (8 to 12 slides) with a concise accompanying document (2 to 3 pages). You need to get across the gap in the market you have identified, how you intend to fill it, your target audience, your research into the competition, financial projections, contingency plans, marketing strategies and so on. In addition, you are likely to be questioned on largely anything and everything of even remote importance, so be ready.
 
3. Show Personality and Passion
One of the most important things to remember throughout the pitch is the fact that investors back people, not ideas. They are interested in the people behind the ideas with the passion, commitment and savvy required to put the ideas into action. Which essentially means you have to get the investor to both like you and have confidence in you. Even if you have the most fantastic idea the investor has ever heard, they are unlikely to throw even a penny in your direction if they simply do not like you.
 
4. Always Follow Up
Last but not least, never forget that follow-ups give you the opportunity to both demonstrate your enthusiasm and clarify/add further information as necessary.  If the investor has an interest in what you are proposing, a follow-up can be a great way of sealing the deal. If they have no interest whatsoever in your proposal, follow-ups are just as important as a means by which to gain feedback and suggestions. This way, every pitch will be somewhat better than the last, meaning that sooner or later you will get it right.

About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency. They work with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. It is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. 
You can subscribe to the Innovate UK YouTube channe here, or alternaitvely, you can also follow them on Twitter at @innovateuk
 

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