Meeting investors for the first time proves to be a daunting experience for many entrepreneurs and start-up company managers, for although much of the hard work is out of the way – they’ve managed to impress them by successfully pitching their ideas and have arranged a meeting – nothing is yet agreed upon and that is for many, a cause of stress and concern, and understandably so.
Research your investors
If you’ve arranged a meeting with potential investors and want to make the most of the opportunity to further impress and wow them with your pitch, you need to know who they are and why they’re interested in your ideas. This is essential, for just as you’re at the meeting for a reason – so too are they. Find out why they’re there by researching their company and the kind of start-ups they usually invest in, don’t make the mistake of claiming you don’t know much about their company – show them that you’re as interested in them as they are in you, even more so.
Prepare your follow up pitch and demo
Your first pitch has already worked its charms – you’ve arranged a meeting and they’re on their way – so now you need to prepare a more detailed pitch that answers any questions they may have about your start-up idea, but your preparations don’t end there, far from it. You also have to prepare yourself for any questions they may have and you need to come across as knowing exactly what you’re talking about too, so anticipate the questions that they’ll likely ask (researching the investors before the meeting helps you better prepare for this) and prepare responses that will impress them with your knowledge. If you can, prepare responses that tie in with their business interests, this will further endear your ideas to the investors in attendance.
Having a demo prepared and ready to go is also essential for any meeting with prospective investors – you may have got them to come to the meeting but that doesn’t mean they’re obligated to stay. If it’s an app or software program that you’re pitching make sure your tablet is charged and ready to impress, or if you’re pitching something entirely different, perhaps a product that requires diagrams or models, make sure they’re ready and that you have a means of displaying them in the meeting so everyone present can see exactly what they’re going to invest in.
Look and act the part
It may seem old fashioned, particularly in a day and age of youthful start-ups, but there really is much to be said for looking the part at a business meeting, for whilst you may think that informal is the way to go there’s a good chance that you’re mistaken, so treat the meeting as they would – as a business meeting with everyone in your London offices wearing business attire. Whilst that’s looking the part, what about acting the part? In order to both look and act the part you must not only dress suitably, but exude confidence – your start-up idea is going to make everyone in the room a lot of money and change the way the world looks at …, so make sure the way you act in the meeting backs this impression up and you’ll find that investors respond strongly to this.
A word of warning though, don’t be anyone but yourself in the meeting, for not only are facades difficult to maintain for any period of time but you need to develop a good chemistry with them, and that’s difficult to do when you’re pretending to be someone else.