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How to Build an Investor Pitch Any discussion on investors and entrepreneurs quickly turns to the business plan. How important is it and what should it contain? The best business plan is the investor pitch. It is short, agile, flexible, and it can make money. Here is how to build one... Contact Information Tell them who you are and how to contact you for follow-up. A business card is not enough. Make sure it is on the cover and the closing page of the presentation. Your contact information should include standard name, email, and phone; but, also include things like website, blog, and Twitter address. You want them to tune in to you for the long term--RSS and Twitter follows do just that. The Team Most investor presentation boiler plates put this at the back, but I think it belongs in the front. This is what a venture capital firm is buying. Chances are the business plan will not survive the first six months. Hopefully, you have assembled a smart, talented, and agile enough team to pivot to a stronger plans. Presenting the team should be about talents and proven execution, even if on a smaller scale. The Big Idea The idea needs to be big, but it needs to be consumable. Can the investor get it in 30 seconds or less? Can a customer get it in 10 seconds or less. Ideas need to have a problem and solution, but don't forget the fun. A lot of the most popular and well funded ideas in today's market are obsessive time wasters--Twitter, Facebook, Myspace--with a secondary hint of value and productivity. The Big Market There are a lot of factors that go into selecting a venture to fund, but this is what sends investors on a hunt for companies. This also what makes investors look like herds of sheep from time to time. If I tell you that MySpace has millions of people looking at their web pages every day- -then I am looking for the next MySpace. Find a big market. Find macro-economic trends. Build a business around or in them. Show Me the Product Nothing sells investors like a ready for market beta. Ideas are hard to grasp and each individual is going to envision it differently. If you can reduce it to a working prototype, beta, or production demonstration you have a different discussion. You move from, "will it work?" to, "how to make it bigger, faster, better?" Show Me a Customer Investors love customers. If you can show them one or two that is even better. Have a satisfied user tell your investor why they bought. Have them present the obligatory problem/solution slide. Why Do People Buy? The customer may have already covered that. But, short of having an actual customer tell the story help your investor see that person. I always think stories and use cases work much better than demographics. A mountain of data and bar graphs don't come close invoking the emotion reaction to millions of people from elementary to geriatric with signature white earphones streaming from their ears. How Do You Find These People? This is really the million dollar question, right? How do you get those bar graphs full of people sending you checks or swiping their credit cards on a regular basis? This is where a good start accelerates your opportunity. Try to demonstrate that you have at least partially figured this out. Show and where you have gotten early adopters and beta users. Is it something that can be scaled? Does it go beyond friends and family.? Who Else Wants This Market? The competitor slide. Don't hide it, they are going to find out anyway. Same holds true for your prospective customers. Create a clear path of differentiation and how you are going to leverage that path. The "we are better than them" sales pitch does not work. Have a plan. This is also when asking questions pays off. Present an idea, but ask for suggestions, recommendations, past experience--get some free consulting from the investors. Why Do I Care? Why do I care? The "I" being the investor. It is time to make it personal. How will it make the investor money, increase the credibility of their firm, accelerate other portfolio companies? This is the critical moment, this is your primary goal. Make them want the investment because they see your vision. Bill Rice helps companies convert web traffic to buyers. He is a recognized expert, adviser, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur in online lead generation. Bill Rice is passionate about the social web (social media), online community building, and creating online consumer experiences. Bill Rice regularly applies those passions to design and write money making lead generation projects for his clients. Tell me about your project at It's About Conversion! or Urgent Leads.
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