Tuesday April 23 2013

Why start-ups miss out on funding

Making a good presentation will help you when seeking for funding

Making a good presentation will help you when seeking for funding. FILE PHOTOs 

By Nathan Were

Attracting equity for small businesses is a daunting challenge. Some that have learnt how to navigate around this problem have had to try several times, get rejected but gone back to refine their pitch with lessons drawn from their past mistakes.
Investor pitching is now popular among equity stockholders looking for high growth potential startups to stake their funds for a future return.

These investors will usually offer capital in return for part or full ownership of the company. Here I will highlight five key aspects that startups pitching before investors ought not to miss in their presentation as they strive to demonstrate that their company is worth a penny of investment.

Firstly, it is important to start-off the pitch by introducing yourself and the people behind the company. Investors look for passionate, committed people and savvy investors make bets on people not plans.

Make this brief but highlight the keys skills of your team, and crown it with their achievements. After the introductions, orient the investor about what your company does, why you exist and the growth stage at which your company is.
Are you just an idea waiting to happen? Are you a development company ready to launch or already in operation looking to scale?

After this 45 seconds’ to one minute pitch, no one should have questions about who you are and what you do.
This elevator pitch is a powerful and compelling statement delivered within the time it takes for an elevator to reach its final destination and win you a formal appointment with a potential investor.

The second aspect of your presentation should focus on the problem your company is or seeks to solve. What problem are you solving? You better be solving a real problem. This is an area that many start-ups stumble to answer when pushed to the wall.
This needs to come out plain and clear for it is the heart of the business. I always want to use the Panadol example. “Everyone feels pain” that’s it.

So as a Panadol company, this is the reason I exist “to make this pain go away”. What is the reason for your company’s’ existence?

The more common the problem is, the more buy-in and agreement you will get. Similarly, the more common the problem is, the bigger the potential market. You will need to not only show the problem, but its spread as this demonstrates a sustainable future market.

Now that you have put your problem across, it is time to focus on how you plan to solve it. Focus on the benefits not the features of your product or service. Imagine you’re pitching cars to a horse-drawn carriage world.

The benefits of the car are that they go faster, go away farther and carry greater loads. That’s it. Don’t get lost in how many bolts you use in the assembly process, the number of doors, and size of the trunk or how bright the headlights are.

If you have some customer testimonies for product/service usage, this is the time to bring them-up and strengthen your case.

While it is great to demonstrate the problem, how to spread it is and how the solution you have figured out can deal with it, it is even more important to demonstrate your “go to the market strategy” to your potential investors.

You need to show who your customers are, where they’re and how you plan to reach them in an efficient and affordable manner.

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