If you want to raise money for a start up business, you’ll need to know how to pitch your business idea so you can attract investors into funding your company.
All business owners need to be able to present a business pitch, whether it’s to potential customers or to investors and banks to raise money for your new business start-up.
Made popular by shows such as the BBC’s Dragon’s Den, delivering a good business pitch might appear to require a brilliant, innovative business idea with the potential to make millions in the first year, but the reality is quite different.
Serious business investors are looking for realistic business plans opens in new window and ideas when it comes to funding new businesses.
If you’ve a great business idea opens in new window, making sure you’ve a killer business pitch to match will make it easier to raise money for your start-up.
Here are our tips for pitching your business idea opens in new window to investors.
Starting a business doesn’t come with a set of instructions.
We know that understanding the many different types of financial product in the marketplace can be difficult.
Our Making business finance work for you guide is designed to help you make an informed choice about accessing the right type of finance for you and your business.
Create an elevator pitch
Make sure that you can sum up your business idea opens in new window in a way that’s easy to understand.
Imagine you have 30 seconds to describe your business, then sum up what it does, why it exists and what’s unique about it.
If business investors cannot easily understand your business idea, then they won’t have confidence that your customers will get it either.
Practice delivering your business pitch in just 30 seconds.
If asked, you can then expand on the why, what and how of your business idea.
Show small business idea experience
Real-world experience coupled with a capable management team is likely to inspire investor confidence when delivering your business pitch opens in new window.
Back up all the parts of your business pitch with two important confidence-building details:
- Business evidence – show evidence of cash flow; a track record with customers; testimonials and any market research you’ve carried out. Investors are likely to fund a company that has evidence of its ability to trade.
- Show your experience – demonstrate that your business is in capable hands with an experienced management team that knows the market and has experience running or working in similar businesses. Skills such as accounting opens in new window, marketing opens in new window, sales opens in new window and operations are important to show in your CV or that of your team if you have one.
Demonstrate realistic forecasts
Don’t present your business pitch opens in new window as a get-rich-quick scheme.
Sensible investors won’t have confidence you can deliver on ambitious multi-million-pound revenue and profit forecasts.
Instead, demonstrate realistic revenue growth and include three possible outcomes – worse case, medium or expected case, and best case in terms of revenue.
Ensure you provide evidence for your forecasts, such as market data and competitor analysis opens in new window, and explain clearly the assumptions you’ve made in arriving at your revenue forecasts opens in new window.
Keep start up costs low
Don’t get carried away with unrealistic costs when presenting your business pitch.
Wise investors are looking for a new business that has a tight rein on costs and an overall focus on cost control.
Avoid awarding yourself a large salary, and keep capital expenditure to a minimum – buy cheap PCs rather than the latest models with expensive features you don’t really need, for example.
Be sure to factor in a financial buffer in marketing and operational budgets, but otherwise keep your costs as low as possible.
Crawl before running
Showing that you can deliver the goods is attractive to would-be investors.
Before trying to secure funds for a large operation, show you can manufacture on a smaller scale first, or that you can deliver your services to a small number of regular customers.
Success breeds confidence, and if you’ve shown you can deliver then you’re more likely to secure funding to expand your business further.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or its subsidiaries or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.