London continues to buzz with new start-up activity. The ecology has become so robust and offers such numerous opportunities that even the threat of BREXIT doesn’t seem to have slowed numbers of new businesses.
Along with the numerous opportunities generated by such a large community of high-growth companies comes heavy competition for attention from investors. No one is born understanding how to articulate a value proposition effectively, so practice with the right feedback is key to success.
Here are some tips to help keep you on track as you explore investment opportunities:
1. Start a conversation
Rather than thinking of your communication as a broadcast or “pitch”, instead start a conversation listeners want to continue. Think of opening a conversation rather than closing a deal. Business is never done in the first meeting.
2. Know your audience
Be careful to keep an investment conversation entirely investor-focused – it's not a marketing pitch. If you combine marketing and investor information, the result tends to be a muddle for your listeners. Know how your audience hears, and keep the data specific to what the room is listening for.
3. Don’t make your listeners read text
Slides should be used to support your story, not to lead it. If you can make a point effectively without the use of a slide, get rid of the slide. Certainly don't make your listeners read text. It's distracting and, again, dilutes focus from the point you're making.
4. Leave room for curiosity
Don't try to be exhaustive when first approaching someone you’d like to talk to. Instead, be brief, and think of ways to persuade your audience to ask questions, leave room for curiosity, and just show a little leg.
5. Listen to everything but stay true to your company
Avoid VC whiplash by focusing on what you’re trying to accomplish. Every investor will have an opinion about what you should be saying and how you should say it. This is your company, so listen to everything but change only what you know will meet the criteria of Best Practices.
About the author:
Annette Kramer is a non-executive director and communications consultant who has successfully helped corporates and entrepreneurs secure funding, clients, and new markets in Europe, the US, South America, Africa, India and the Middle East. Annette is known by start-ups as London's leading Pitch Mechanic.