Even if it’s an introductory meeting, make sure you prepare. Alongside preparing how to present your company, have a clear idea of what you want to get out of the meeting. Around 75 per cent of the companies I meet for the first time haven’t prepared anything in advance. So the 25 per cent who have instantly look more business-like.
Present as if you’re having a conversation
Think of pitching your business as a conversation with structure. Put yourself in the listeners’ shoes and consider what they need to know, what would be nice to hear and what’s just unnecessary chatter.
Play to each presenter’s strengths
If more than one person is presenting, make sure that everyone presents something, as otherwise your audience will wonder why those people are there. People are naturally better at presenting information they know well, so have each person talk about the subject they’re most familiar with.
Cover all the basics
This includes the history of the business, the management, what the business does and its USPs, the finances, competitors, trends in the markets, what you want personally and what the business needs from an investor.
And if there are any problems in the business, be open about them; it’s better that an investor hears this from you than through their due diligence.
Every industry has its own jargon, but don’t assume your audience will be familiar with it: an investor needs to understand exactly what your company does if they are to invest, so describe any products and services in a clear, compelling way.
Internal inconsistencies – £4m on one page becoming £6m on the next – undermines your credibility. To avoid this, ask someone outside the presenting team to review any materials in advance of the meeting.
Print out the presentation
It may seem a small point, but it’s important that you give each person in your audience a copy of the presentation. They want to listen to you and not spend their time scribbling down information that’s in a print out.