Startups

When Meeting Investors for First Time

This post is by Bittu Kumar is Co-Founder, Enterslice

investor meetings

It’s that moment that every entrepreneur dreams of. That moment where you think you just might have caught a break. It’s that moment when you are about to meet that person who can change the game as you know it: your very first investor. The investor is the person who has pockets deep enough to make your business dreams a reality. That person who can help you take your business to the next level, but just meeting them is hardly enough. You have one important job to do: convince them that your idea, your concept, your service, that YOU are worth investing in. That is where the tricky part comes in, but have no fears there are ways to make sure the entire procedure runs flawlessly as possible.

Be Prepared for the Worst

When you are going to a proposal meeting always be prepared. This is the first time you will meet the investor that might potentially put their hard-earned money into your business. You want to make the best possible first impression. It is highly recommended that you bring two laptops. There are many reasons for this. First is obvious that one computer may fail to work properly, so having a backup computer is wise. Secondly, you likely have no idea what kind of infrastructure support is on the premises, and if your computer is compatible with that or not. If one computer is not supported, the other may be. If you want to be sure that’s not the case, ask ahead what types of connections and technology will be available to use when you set up your investment pitch on the premises. If files get corrupted on one laptop, maybe they will be safe on another laptop. Also, carry a memory stick with the files in it in case the laptop fails and you end up using a computer on premise. That way you can upload your work to the computer there to share.

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Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure you deliver investment pitch at all costs to your investor, and having Compatibility is vital to making that happen. Be prepared for anything.

Golden Rule: Maximum Ten Slides

When preparing your pitch, be sure not to have any more than ten slides to your presentation. That may not sound like a lot, but think about it for a bit, and it makes a lot more sense. Meetings are usually set up to run for 1 hour. At least 15 minutes of that will be used at the beginning to set up laptops, get beverages, wait for the guy running in the door 10 minutes late, exchanging pleasantries, and getting started. You are down to 45 minutes. The average investor will have an attention span of about 15 minutes to decide if they are interested in your product, concept, or idea. If you have 10 slides that you allot 90 seconds of information to, you have reached that 15-minute mark. Therefore presenting 25 or 50 slides in this 15 minutes is not reasonable. Slides should be allotted a minimum of 90 seconds, so investors don’t feel like you are drowning them in information.

Communication is the Key

Answer the questions that the investors ask clearly. Don’t try to impress with creative stories or twists. Simply state the information they want to know. If you do not know off the top of your head, promise to get back to them, then follow up with prompt correspondence as soon as possible after the meeting.

Another important note is to not argue with investors. Most decision makers are not technologically savvy, and they only want to know what you know about your product. You don’t need a fancy sales pitch to sell most investors. Most investors want to know the basics: your background, what you have created, what traction you have, what your profits thus far have been, and what your vision for the future entails. If someone wants to go in-depth about anything specific, offer to meet with them one-on-one privately in a session at a separate time to avoid wasting other investors time.

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Don’t prove you are a  psychological liar  

Don’t lie to potential investors. Most investors are plenty smart enough to figure it out from one’s body language. Investors do not want elaborate stories with all the background information. They don’t want to know non-pertinent information about your business. They should not feel hoodwinked, and you should not be presented as a psychological liar who plays head games with investors.

If they are interested, Follow up!

Follow up with the investors after the meeting. Investors are some of the busiest people on earth, and likely will not have time to follow up with you. If you want a further, more definitive answer after the meeting it is likely you will have to reach out to them for a response within a few days after presenting the pitch. They will not come out looking for you; they will simply move on to the next thing they want to invest their resources in.

Steli Efti of Close.io said in a conference that he followed his investors non-stop for 48 times. Even after a warm introduction. So, continue to follow up until you hear a No.

Success will take time 🙂

Remember you may not be successful on your first attempt, or even your second or third attempt. However, if you keep presenting quality pitches to investors and continue to deliver value to your customers, you will find someone interested in investing in your product or service. It often just takes time and effort to meet like-minded people who see the potential in your business that you see in it. Go on ahead out there and pitch away. Best of luck finding someone who sees what you see in the idea!


Image Credit: DepositPhotos

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