Speaking to Funders: What You Should and Shouldn’t Do
Women’s Venture Fund
Whether you are talking to investors, your local bank or a prospective partner, you need to know what to talk about as well as what you should not discuss. Here are a few tips, tried and true, as you consider if 2019 is your year to to seek funds for your growing business.
Be sharp on your financials. Anyone you approach for funding wants to know your data: Do you have enough assets to cover your liabilities? Can you estimate cash flows, possibly identify new revenue streams and realistically forecast sales?
Highlight your experience in the field. If you worked in corporate, relate any glowing reviews from department managers on how you met or exceeded your goals or implemented new ideas.
Deliver your unique selling position (USP) in a convincing tone. Prove you have explored the market and are differentiating yourself from your competitors. If you already have revenues, describe your customer base and how you plan to grow it through smart marketing strategies. Remember, these are number folks.
No team members yet? Tell them you understand your knowledge gaps and are actively working to bring on the right partners and advisors to help you in marketing, business development, sales, product development—whatever you are missing in your own repertoire of skills.
Make sure you have thoroughly researched your competition. Don’t claim to be the only one in the field or the locale when you haven’t sussed it out. Acknowledge the competition and how your USP will win over market share.
This seems obvious but if you truly are the first in the market with a product, trademark or patent it
before presenting it to funders. Be a skeptic and don’t trust your innovation won’t be stolen by big pockets. Get it?
Don’t mention any freebies you may offer customers as an introduction to your company. Investors hate the word ‘free’ as it does not translate into money for them. (Not to say that you can’t offer free product or trials to your customers. Just don’t present this marketing tactic to your audience of funders.)
Make sure to deliver a dynamite deck and practice your pitch until it’s perfect. Good luck!