Pitch Creation Guidelines
Creating a great pitch is as much about your mindset as your actions. So the first thing you should do is think about your pitch as your product launch; you need to be well prepared and then promote it like crazy.
We’ve listed all the steps and information you need below.
Before you begin, here are some important things to consider:
1. Use clear, succinct and personable language
For people to invest in you, they need to understand what you’re asking them to buy into. Therefore, it is important to:
- Be concise: Every word you use needs to have a specific purpose. If it doesn’t, cut it out. Your proposition should be three or four sentences (or the back of an envelope).
- Be human: Use real-word language, not the latest trendy buzzwords.
- Be specific: If you can prove your product improves sales effectiveness by 68% say it. Don’t be fluffy and talk about the market leading impact of employee-led transaction rate increase.
2. Avoid hyperbole and superlatives
It is very important that the language you use throughout your pitch be free from hyperbole and superlatives. Being positive and backing up what you say with verifiable facts is a good thing, but making unproven claims and using overly flowery language that only lovers of jargon will understand must be avoided. Hyperbole and superlatives can’t be proven as fact and will therefore have to be removed before you go live thereby slowing the process down. So always aim to be considered in your writing.
Having a crystal clear proposition that’s summarised in just a few short sentences is critical. Why? Because by addressing the points below you’ll be able to summarise why people should invest in your idea and, ultimately, buy your product. Think of it as your written elevator pitch.
Of course it doesn’t answer every possible question anyone’s going to have, but it will be enough to motivate people to keep listening to what you have to say. Specifically, you’ll give people a clear understanding of what the business does, who it’s for and why it will be a success. And after all, people want to invest in businesses that will be successful.
The points to cover are:
a) The problem your product solves or how it improves people’s situation (not the technology per se)
b) The specific, quantified benefits it brings
c) The reason why people will buy your product rather than a competitor
Needless to say, the language you use is critical. Remember be concise, human and specific.
If you can crack your proposition, not only will your pitch be far more effective, you’ll have cracked one of the biggest marketing tasks companies face. It’s a really big step forward so once you can articulate your proposition, make sure every piece of communication reinforces it one way or another.
There is no set format for an information memorandum but it needs to cover some key points about your business including:
- Your story
- Who’s on the team
- The customer need and your solution
- Your strategy to grow the business
- Your business model
- The risks
- Financial information and forecasts
- Details about your offer to investors
- Exit strategy
As you’re preparing your information memorandum you need to carefully consider think about your offer to investors:
Set an achievable target
Make sure that you set yourself a target that you can achieve. Gauge reaction from other pitches and have a careful think about who might invest in your business.
Just remember you can always overfund so it’s often better to set your target at a lower level but have a plan on how you could use additional funds. So think about:
- What is your customer base?
- How large is your network of friends and family and what is their personal wealth and likelihood to invest?
- Do you have any suppliers who would be willing to invest?
- Are you a member of an association or group with other members with similar interests who might be willing to invest in your business?
- How compelling is your proposition (see above)?
Have a realistic valuation
Valuing a business is not an exact science you only need to look at the IPOs of Genesis and Twitter to see this. For businesses with some trading history, there are two main methods discounted cash flow and net present value.
For those with a limited trading history the value of business is subjective and will fluctuate based on a number of variables (the idea, the market, the people etc.). If you are in this situation we recommend that you look at pitches that have successfully funded to find a comparison.
Remember that if you are planning on additional rounds of funding your initial valuation will be taken into account so be realistic or you could find yourself with an over-valued business that won’t be as attractive to later stage investors.
Your exit strategy, that’s to say how investors will make a return on their investment, needs to be well thought through. Whilst investors are unlikely to expect it be concrete, it should be considered a realistic statement of your ambition. Don’t just copy and paste Exit is a trade sale or IPO within 3-5 years.
Make it unique and show how you’ve spent time researching and considering options. You can highlight case studies of an exit by a similar company or the general market trends. Investors are generally not looking for dividend payments because they are more interested in seeing profits pumped back in the business and, thus, making a larger return upon exit. You must also think about including a timeframe.
While your business plan may not necessarily be available as part of your pitch some investors will want to see your business plan before they invest, it’s critical that you spend time preparing a solid, well presented and succinct business plan. Here’s why:
- Your plan will form the basis of your pitch on Crowdsphere and should cover the three key areas the idea, the market and the people
- Your business plan is the place to include ‘the complicated stuff’ that investors with knowledge of your sector may want.
- When writing your business plan you’ll be capturing all the information investors are likely to want to see as part of your pitch so you[ll be well prepared for any questions
- If an investor asks for your business plan you can send it to them without delay
A business plan on its own may not cause someone to invest, but when combined with a great video, compelling pitch page and realistic financials, your investment opportunity will be far more robust and therefore likely to succeed.
Investors regularly tell us that clear, well presented financials that add up are a must. The purpose of your financial forecasts is to set out a clear picture of your financial position in a way that allows an investor to understand your business model and make their own judgement about your potential.
Without this your pitch may struggle which is why we stipulate that your financials must meet specific criteria before they can be uploaded to your pitch. An example of a financial forecast can be found here.
Armillary Private Capital is able to provide Financial Forecasting. Armillary’s innovative combination of consultancy and experience is proven and absolutely reliable. You’ll get a highly editable and tailor-made financial model which provides impressive professional reports at the click of a mouse.
For more information, call Ollie Cuthill on +64 4 974 9269 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
People judge others and their ideas quickly. Really, really quickly. The research we’ve seen varies, but none of the figures go beyond 30 seconds. So given the video is often the first thing people look at, getting it right is critical. If you get it wrong you may lose potential investors before you’ve really started. Keep the video or animation short three minutes is plenty. After this, people are likely to switch off so you have a small window of opportunity to stand out. You can do this by telling your story in a clear, memorable, passionate and professional way.
Whatever you do, use everyday language as people need to understand you quickly and clearly. And remember, the video is a direct reflection on you and how you run the business so give it a professional, high quality feel.
It’s critical that your core idea (remember the proposition we mentioned?) is communicated effectively. Focus on the problem it solves and the value it adds rather than the technical aspects.
Creating exciting, non-financial, rewards can get people interested and talking about your pitch. Be creative. If you can reward investors with something that is exclusive or unique you are more likely to hit your investment target.
Rewards can be both tangible and intangible and they might encourage people who are interested in in what your business does to invest in your pitch. For example, if your first reward is at $150 and is unique, it might be enough to get people who were going to invest $100 to invest the extra $50.
Adding new rewards can spark interest both on and off the platform. It’s a great reason to send out an update to your networks and contacts and tap a completely new demographic of investors as well.
Remember that rewards may be deemed to be a dividend to investors so you need to think really hard about what that means as there are taxation implications.
Crowdfunding is not a place for passive people so draw up an active marketing plan that demonstrates how you’ll promote the pitch; if you can do this as part of your application you’ll get approved far sooner. It’s best to getting the pitch off to a running start so get out and about and tell people before it goes live.
You need to be active, active, active. Just as you need to actively and continually promote a business, you need to actively promote a pitch if it’s going to succeed. We’ll do all we can to help but we’re FMA Licenced regulated so we can’t favour one pitch over another (such as having a pitch of the week).
That said, if you hold an event, hit a milestone (say 50%), or receive a flurry of investment in one week, we can promote this to our database. One of the most common reasons for a pitch not hitting their target is an over reliance on our own crowd so the more people you can bring to the party, the better. Remember you’re offering them an opportunity to be part of an exciting, growing business that they will hopefully make a return from.
Make sure you know well in advance who you will tell and what you’re going to say to them. Think about:
- Events: Plan two events in advance if you can. If you already have a crowd, say members, clients, suppliers etc. hold a launch party as soon as your pitch is live. Make sure people can get a strong mobile or wireless signal so people can invest there and then. We recommend you set-up an Eventbrite page if you can’t manage the event via your own website.
- Friends and family: Ask all your friends and family to start shouting about your pitch as soon as it goes live. Even if they can’t invest, ask them to post a link on Facebook, send a Tweet or add a photo to Instagram. And when they’ve done it once, ask them to do it again.
- Networks and contacts: See friends and family. Don’t be shy! Try and line up ten investors for the day your pitch is activated.
- Current customers and suppliers: See friends and family. Get the word out there!
- Angel investors: Go and talk to angel investors before and during your pitch. An influx of capital is one of the most effective ways of building and maintaining momentum and visibility.
- Social media: Social media is a useful tool but don’t rely on it as it’s so crowded. We’d also recommend planning at least two events in advance. You may not need to run them but if you can implement them quickly you’ll be glad to have done the groundwork. Ask everyone to share that they’ve invested. This is really easy as we provide the share tools in their investment confirmation email. Just remember to ask them.
- PR: Crowdfunding is a hot topic. Make the most of it by sending well written media releases to every media outlet you can think of local, regional and national newspapers and websites; industry or consumer magazines, website or blogs.
For our Pitch Marketing Checklist, click here.
As the saying goes, you can only create one first impression. So investing some time and energy into your branding will pay dividends.
A well-crafted logo will grab people’s attention. An up-to-date website shows that you’re active and provides a valuable insight. An active Facebook page shows people you’ve thought about promoting the brand. Your Twitter feed will show how you interact with people. Your LinkedIn profile will give people an insight into your ‘professional’ persona.
When combined, these elements say a lot about the business behind the pitch and can reassure investors so start thinking about them before you create your pitch.