An investor presentation is an opportunity to step into a ring with some very powerful and influential people. Presenting a compelling business case to a select audience is about creating excitement and enthusiasm for the product or service you are selling. There are many ways you can try to do this but not every way guarantees success.
Consider this post as a continuation of my and the rest of M51’s gang ongoing advice about all things investing, particularly about increasing your chances of getting funded. After all, an investor presentation is about practical tips as much as it is about being thoroughly prepared and covering all your bases. Things like…
Think of an investor presentation as an audition
The #1 and arguably most important advice is to understand a singular notion: it’s far more about you than it is about your idea. I liken the actual presentation to an audition where it’s 99% on the actor to deliver the performance the director is looking for. It’s basically the same principle. The investor you’re pitching to already knows everything about the industry there is to know. What they don’t know is what your key differentiator is, and that’s you.
In other words – your personality should step up and take the central position. People invest in the idea of a successful entrepreneur, not as much in the company itself, especially one that will likely pivot at some point. Don’t hide who you are – be as overly passionate or a competitive hardass if need be. Don’t shy away from having an optimistic outlook on everything, and be energizing. That’s how you get your audience charged up and intrigued for your presentation.
You can’t cover everything so don’t even try
Trust me: potential investors will have plenty of questions and will want to carefully examine their areas of interest and challenge your assumptions. Hence, you need to portray your business using as few words as possible to avoid information overload – there’ll be room for additional content and questions either during or after the meeting. In this case, try to think like an investor – provide a context that will relate throughout the presentation instead of being overwhelming with data.
Here’s one practical advice: try to learn how much time you have at your disposal. That way, you can prepare ahead and leave enough time for Q&A while ensuring you don’t cram everything because of sudden and unexpected changes.
A lot of times you’ll read that you should keep your investor’s deck short, up to 20 slides or pages. While most entrepreneurs adhere to this rule, the truth is that there is no set threshold when it comes to a number of slides. The point is to communicate effectively, and that can be done by having one idea per slide or two in order to keep everyone focused on the topic at hand. I’d rather have more slides with relevant points than fewer slides with stats, graphs, and charts.
This leads me to the following tip:
There’s something about telling a story that engages people emotionally. Our brains are wired that way. Storytelling is a seamless method to both learn and educate in order to captivate a crowd with a resonating message. Investors love stories as well, so an inspiring and exciting one will likely do the trick.
Begin with a strong introduction to immediately pique investor’s attention so they can’t help but keep eyes and ears on you. Where possible, utilize an analogy to get the point across in a more direct manner. If the tone suits your company, be funny in explaining what you do. Also, use screenshots of traction to back your claims. Every slide should be a soundbite (or as close to as possible) for investors to remember you by.
Detail your revenue model and exit strategy
The almighty ROI will eventually be brought up and for some investors, a large percentage of the presentation’s success lies in answering that particular aspect. If you can depict how you will make the other side some money, you’re on the right track. For that, you need to detail the type of revenue model you go for and clearly explain how to use it.
Another key concern of some investors is the exit mechanism because – money. There’s no false pretense about it: investors are in it for hefty payoffs, not scraps and small returns. That’s where your exit strategy comes into the picture, whether it’s an acquisition, IPO, or else. It’s like buying a piece of mind knowing where the business will be in five years’ time.
Simple things matter
Investor deck structure, design, and format are all layers of an investor presentation that will keep eyes glued to it. These seemingly simple things can have major impacts through minor alterations. From eye-pleasing visuals to relevant numbers, there are some elements that form every investor presentation template. Typically, it looks like this:
- An impactful introduction
- Show a problem, offer a solution
- Market opportunities
- Your product/service explained clearly
- Your business model digested
- Social proof if available
- Differentiation from the competitive landscape
Do note that sticking to a template doesn’t necessarily have to be your thing. Always think about your unique characteristics – don’t be forced into something that doesn’t suit your pitch.
Present your data in a convincing way
This post is an attempt to quantify an investor’s presentation template of sorts and it’s my hope you will find it useful as such. This is the grand stage and there are no cutting corners here. As a man with more than enough experience in this field, I can verify that everything you say and show will be scrutinized.
For every reason you think there should be a resounding ‘hell yes’, there will be hundreds of reasons for an investor to say ‘hell no’. The hard part starts by showcasing yourself as an attractive investment opportunity. Whether it turns out to be profitable is up to you and the quality of effort put into the preparation.