The Investment Pitch
For many companies, asking for investor dollars can be intimidating: after all, it requires a company to parade itself—exposing some of its most confidential information: its strategy, customers, financials and operating practices — to outsiders But preparing for this event before you need the money will help you identify the gaps and weaknesses, as well as hidden strengths, before the investors get the chance. Forewarned helps you get forearmed when it comes to raising capital.
The first thing to be done when preparing your company for a meeting with investors is be completely objective about the strengths and shortcomings of your business. There are so many moving parts in a company—from operations to finances to the management team to the business plan—there’s no easy formula for impressing potential investors. For objectivity sake involve 3rd parties who don’t have a stake in the game to help you do this.
For example, audited financial statements always look better than books done yourself, but for a small business they may not be worth the additional cost. So, how do you prioritize your resources? That’s what a third party can do for you— convert your management statements to a form that will fit the expectations of an investor.
Getting your documents in order
Most investors demand a small mountain of documentation that reveals a comprehensive picture of your company’s health. Compiling information that focuses only on what the investor needs is a daunting job. Make sure you have or hire someone on the team that can help you create and organize the information in the manner that will provide you with the best chance of success raising the capital you need.
Investors will examine your management team, history, strategic plan, hurdles and expectations – as well as the reasons you think those expectations can be met. Typically, companies don’t have the answers to all these questions on hand, but since they are the very things investors need to know, make sure you are anticipating all the tough questions and preparing responses to them. Many bankers or equity investors will share their expectations with you in with the hope they will be invited to the table when you go to market. If they indicate your idea is not yet investment-worthy, you will learn this before spending time, talent and money to raise funds in vain. You don’t need to scrap your idea. Improve it some and when the time is right retest the market.
Pitching to investors
Once you have your documents organized and your plan mapped out, your next challenge is to pitch it to potential investors. If nobody on your team has experience working with investors it’s critical you find an experienced advisor to help with this. What to include in the presentation, how you design the pitch and finessing your presentation style are all important aspects in making a professional investor pitch.
Bringing investors on board is a crucial step towards growth for many companies, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If your business has the potential and the need to attract investment dollars, make sure you put your best foot forward early.
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