If you are readying yourself to make a formal presentation to a group of potential investors, it’s important to prepare thoroughly. Be sure your business plan and summary is attractively laid out and printed on high-quality paper with enough copies for all those expected to be in attendance, as well as a few extras for unexpected participants.
Practice your presentation several times and think through questions you are most likely to get. Know your business plan backward and forward so you can easily and quickly refer investors to a certain part of your planning document without “dead air time” spent thumbing back and forth through the pages.
Here is a basic outline of steps you should plan to take as you prepare to make your formal request for capital:
1. Research your investors. Look for those who specialize in your type of business or industry, when possible. It can give you an advantage as most investors are going to prefer to invest in areas they feel knowledgeable in. Regardless, be sure you know their business. Research what types of businesses have been invested in historically and at what levels.
2. Prepare an overview. Plan to make a very brief introduction of your name and leadership position, as well as a very brief description of your company. Don’t go into too much detail at this point.
3. Review the mission statement. If you wondered why you had to spend so much time on writing a formal mission statement, this is why. Review your company’s mission, making clear the purpose of your business. This is also where you should provide an overview of products and services offered, your target audience and the primary goals for your business.
4. Create a PowerPoint presentation. This is the visual aid for your proposal. At minimum, it should include the following: company information, products to offered, company’s financial statement, marketing plan and the summary. Have it professionally done, if necessary.
5. Plan to introduce the management team. Plan what you want to convey about each member of your management team. With a limited amount of time available, consider how you will communicate the most important traits of each major player.
6. Be ready to describe how much capital you need and what you will do with it. Prepare to provide specifics, not just by way of the amount, but how it will be used and its necessity to success.
7. Prepare questions to ask so you can gauge their understanding. It isn’t enough to be prepared to field some questions; you need to be prepared to ask them as well. If you know the right questions to ask, you can get a feel for whether your prospective investors have fully grasped the most important pieces of information from your request. Don’t try to do this without proper preparation ahead of time.
If you follow these basic steps to prepare to make your presentation, you will come across as polished and professional. The only addition to the above list is to be sure to thank your audience for its time as you draw your presentation to a close.