The entrepreneur was the owner of a thriving hair salon and wanted to create a product for the salon industry. He was being mentored by a group that coached new businesses on the steps in the funding process. The entrepreneur used the guidance to devise his pitch. Following a riveting 20-minute presentation, he instantly gained the backing of the investors in the room who agreed to put their money behind the idea in return for ownership equity.
Based on his presentation, below you will find five valuable tips on how to successfully present to a group of investors.
1. Tell stories
The salon owner started his presentation with a personal story about his family’s 100-year history in the industry. He talked about the innovations his great grandparents pioneered in the salon business and about his own experiences with growing the business.
As I have mentioned in many of my other articles, stories are the most powerful tool in a speaker’s arsenal. Unfortunately, they are also the most unappreciated by presenters themselves, especially when it comes to business presentations. Entrepreneurs need to understand that investors often take a mentoring role and are committing to an emotional and financial investment in the idea and the people. “The most memorable presentations do not start with data,” according to one investor. “They start with a compelling personal story. It is not about data; it is about engagement.”
2. Illustrate the story with pictures
The first two slides of the presentation did not consist of any words. Rather, the entrepreneur revealed black and white photographs of his family breaking ground on their salons or ‘barber shops’ as he unearthed their history.
Images are far more memorable than words. Studies demonstrate that people will remember 10% of information when the content is delivered verbally. Conversely, when you add a photograph, retention increases to 65%.
Angel investors want to see charts, graphs, tables and other slides disclosing the hard numbers behind an idea. The key is to break up the slides to give the eyes and brain a break. Tell stories and use pictures to complement the narrative. Keep in mind, it is important to keep your entire slide deck to a minimum. According to one investor, the kiss of death is a 45-slide PowerPoint deck. Investors prefer 10 to 15 slides at most.
3. Show your passion
Investors support and establish relationships with entrepreneurs who have a galvanizing passion to move the world forward. Research reveals that angel investors prioritize passion as one of the top three factors that determine their ultimate investment decision.
Begin by asking yourself the following question: “What am I really passionate about?”
The answer will be significantly different than the response to the question, “What is my idea?”
For example, in his Forbes article, Carmine Gallo, a best-selling author discusses his meeting with the top executives at one of the world’s largest medical device companies were about to launch a major product.
“What’s the product?” asked Gallo.
“It’s the first dynamic high-volume CT-scan that utilizes 320 ultra-high resolution detector rows to image an entire organ in a single gantry rotation”, answered the CEO.
“Why are you really passionate about this product?” asked Gallo.
“If you suffer a stroke, our product could mean the difference between going home and living a full life or never recognizing your family again”, the CEO answered.
The CEO began the presentation with his ‘passion statement’ and magnificently won over the audience. While passion is indispensable, it is not enough to influence investors. The investors also needed to know that the product alleviated a real world pain.
4. Incorporate a villain and a hero
The best stories and movies consist of a villain who causes problems and a hero who saves the day. In the context of a business presentation, think about villains and heroes as problems and solutions. What is the problem your idea solves?
5. Share the stage
Investors want to see a team. The salon owner understood the pitfalls of delivering the entire presentation on his own. He decided to introduce his marketing director who demonstrated the product, and his CTO who explained the back-end technology behind the product. He even added a video clip of a potential customer in the industry who endorsed the idea. The video served two purposes; it added a fourth presenter and provided a multimedia component to the presentation.
Instantly after the presentation came to an end, an angel investor raised his hand to say, “I don’t have a question, but a comment: Bravo.”
Needless to say, the entrepreneur’s presentation victoriously convinced several investors to take the next step. He is on his way to seeing his dream come to life.
It is essential to understand angel investors because they are a fundamental source of funding for many start-ups. In order to pitch your idea triumphantly, you will need to reach their minds and their hearts to inspire and engage them.