Six Steps to Successful Pitching August 8, 2012 RICCentre By: Fatema Fatakdawala Raising money is probably the single most important thing that is always on an entrepreneur’s mind. Naturally, the skill to be able to do just that with little or no effort is as good a place as any to start. The CFO Consulting Portal did a really nice job of summarizing how to get an investor on your side; below are six take home messages on how to “hit the nail” when it comes to delivering a business pitch. 1. Keep it Brief – In practice, a pitch is very much like a cover letter. You want to get to the point as soon as possible and show investors what you’re all about in a succinct way. If you drag it out, you may lose their interest or confuse them, making it that much hard to get off the ground. 2. Have a Clear Direction for Your Business – Have a strong business plan in place before you even think about making a pitch. Whether you plan a formal presentation in a meeting room or an impromptu elevator pitch, answering the question of how to pitch to investors should include an ironclad plan that can answer questions about your business. 3. Know What Others are Doing – When making your appeal to potential investors, its inevitable that someone is going to ask how your business is going to be different from someone who does something similar and you’ll need an answer. Whether that difference is a unique team, a new spin on a long-standing product, or anything else, it needs to be highlighted in your pitch. 4. Know Who Your Customers Are – No discussion on the question of how to pitch to investors would be complete without talking about the customers. Make sure you clearly outline what kind of customer you’re targeting and why. Your investors will want to know what kind of need you’re addressing and why, so you will need to put a face to those sorts of questions. 5. Point Out How They Will Benefit – Your showing of the benefits can go beyond the usual monetary gains to show things like social or cultural impact, depending on what your business does. It’s all about knowing the audience that you are appealing to, bringing up the things that matter to them, and showing how you can have some impact in that area. 6. Be Plainspoken – Many people wondering how to pitch an idea to investors can easily get lost in the details and have a presentation filled with jargon and buzzwords as a result. Keep your speech simple, keep your terms general, and make sure your presentation is structured well enough that it holds attention, but easy enough to understand that a person with no connection to your industry will get it on the first try. Read more Fatema joins the RIC team as the Communications Officer responsible for marketing, social media, event and web management. She is a graduate student pursuing her final year in the Master of Biotechnology program at the University of Toronto Mississauga. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.