Article orginally appeared on Inc.com.
The most critical secret to getting your pitch funded is one of the top reasons for start-up investment pitch failure – only 3% of start-up funding comes from venture capital. So you are probably in the wrong room – you want to pitch angels, not sharks. However, perfecting your pitch for the right investor with what business model will have traction and what needs to be in your pitch deck requires an inside track on how to crack a secret funding code.
Most entrepreneurs, especially creative ones think that they can just wing it and figure it out on their own, but after listening to The Successful Pitch podcast hosted by Funding Strategist, John Livesay, it is clear that struggling to figure out this enigma alone is a big failure point. As John Livesay explains, you need “the right story with the right investor at the right time with the right information.” Unfortunately, a generic pitch deck template just won’t work for every business. Each entrepreneur has his or her own unique story and it is that story that needs to come across impact-fully, quickly while building confidence in you as the perfect person to bring the opportunity to realization.
People remember stories not numbers
Many innovators, especially those with technology that is so new it is still being defined, spend too much time trying to explain the complexity and all aspects of the product or business. But as John says, “A confused mind always says no.” Less is more when pitching. Getting complex, unproven ideas through quickly with impact is best done with a story that paints a picture of why. Why your idea…why you…why it has value.
Decisions are made in the first 90 seconds
The ability to get across the impact or specialness of your investment opportunity must come across immediately. The critical first 90 seconds of that initial meeting’s purpose is to get investors to stay with you for the next 9½ minutes. The purpose of that meeting isn’t an “ask” for investment. It’s to get a second date and the chance to tell more.
Investors put trust in the jockey not the horse
Conveying “confidence, connection and commitment” as you pitch goes a long way toward building confirmation of the initial flash reaction to the first 90 seconds. If, as John Livesay suggests, you continue to “stack on moments of certainty with an additional 4 to 5 things throughout the pitch, you can successfully boost the belief that you have what it takes.”
Pitching your business or innovation opportunity is a marathon not a sprint. It requires pacing, relationship building and multiple factors to fall in place. Building your endurance, confidence and skills requires preparation and practice, but the secrets to pitching your way to investment success requires a code-breaking master.