Pitch Perfect is the desire to present your business requirements attractively, to potential investing partners; the name of a comedy film; or a musical aspiration? Let’s concentrate on the former.
To start a business considerable finance is needed. A budding restaurateur requires premises, stock, marketing resources and staff before a meal can be sold. Just 3% of restaurants stay in business until year three. 97% fail through under-funding. A filmmaker requires a storyline, a script, talent, location and production teams before a viewer can revel in his creativity. Yet there are 5000 scripts being actively marketed for every one optioned for production. An innovative engineer must have a working prototype of his concept as proof of viability. A concept alone is unattractive.
The UK is recognised to be the most highly creative and ingenious country in the world, so how many ‘concepts’, ‘innovations’, ‘ideas’ actually receive funding and are taken to market and what makes them attractive and successful?
Anyone that has started a business or has required development finance will be aware of the despair that is felt when yet another meeting with the bank and other lending agencies ends in a refusal. To pitch your business perfectly is an absolute necessity.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect pitch or we might all emulate that presentation if there were one. There are, however, some simple guidelines and these might include the following:
- The Product – Do not fall in love with your product, idea, service or innovation. Constantly review its place and relevance in your industry. Always be aware of its limitations and its value to any investor.
- The Ultimate Beneficiary – Always have in mind the end-user of your new business idea. Who are they? What benefits might your product be to them? Are they potential partners?
- The Business Plan – Fully justify all of your requested finance. Show multiple cash flow scenarios and conservative P & L’s. Do not inflate figures to impress.
- The Unique Selling Point – Explain simply, honestly, enthusiastically and effectively why your product is worthy of investment rather than allow the remaining 4,999 scripts or the chef with the latest food fad to gain the advantage.
- The Team – Have a strong support team. Be relevant within your network community. Ensure a breadth of business acumen – marketing, accounting, your industry, selling skills etc
- The Commercial Elements – Ensure your business exudes commerciality. Be aware of the investor / lender’s WIFM. The what’s in it for me argument. Also understand the risks the listener might be exposed to.
- The Flexible approach – Be specific. Explain your requirements, be bold. Do have alternative opportunities to present if bargaining commences.
- You – Be smart, confident, approachable, knowledgeable and flexible.
If the product is right, the timing is right and the target investor has been selected correctly then success will be earned. Attempt the perfect pitch and be aware of the opportunities for financing your next aspirational business idea.