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Elevator Pitch

Working with all different sorts of companies in need of funding I see a lot of business presentations every day. If you are in need of funding you are participating in an area of heavy competition for attention. So make sure you have done your homework on a clear positioning and have perfected your documentation. Here are some Insights to help you:

1.) Does your company name attract attention? Many entrepreneurs focus on their development of technology and functionality and can explain really well the value their company provides. But this comes later. First your prospective funders will focus on the name of your company and your positioning:

What does your company name tell them? Does it trigger a story that they can associate with? Is it easy to understand and to share with others in a written or oral recommendation? Will they get an idea in what category or branch of business you are active? Will they want to spend their time to find out more about who you are and why you might be among the best investment opportunities ever? And by the way, is your company name trade mark registered in your key markets or even better globally?

2.) Is your positioning made clear in a tag line? It does not need much - just a few words - but nail your message right to the point. To help you with this involving an expert might be the right thing to do. Your positioning should make a clear statement about what value you are providing preferably for the next ten years.

3.) Are you prepared for the elevator pitch? Image you meet your dream investor in an elevator and he asks "By the way, have we meet before? I missed what you are doing?" Now the elevator goes up maybe another three floors and you are facing a once in a lifetime opportunity to present yourself in 30 seconds. Can you do that and will your introduction be so clear and exciting, that when he steps out of the elevator he will want to continue your conversation or ask for your business card?

To give you inspiration have a look at least the first four minutes of Simon Sinek's great TEDx talk about "How great leaders inspire action!". Simon Sinek did this TEDx talk in 2007 and it still contains a lot of truth!

By the way, you need your elevator pitch preparation every day when you meet new people and you have to introduce yourself. And it should also double up as an introduction line about your business.

4.Have you defined your company values? This will help you to prepare your elevator pitch. Defining your values will give a guidance to everyone involved about the basic principles of how you make decisions and act on a daily business. The word values means - no matter what will happen or how difficult things become - you will never give up acting according to these principles. As soon as you have defined your values you will have an easy time to find engaged employers or team members to follow your vision. And it will get easier for you to tell your story in the right way. But don´t mix this up with your company vision.

5.) Company vision vs. company mission: A company vision is a clear statement of what your company is doing and will do in the future. Writing it has the power to create the future, so start and define your vision: in ten, twenty or maybe even decades from now - what will your company do and how will it be seen by others? One sentence with 5 to maximum 10 words will to this job perfectly. The mission describes how you want to archive your vision. To describe this in up to five words is a great achievement. You won't believe how impressive and helpful it will be for you, if you can use this key propositions by heart in a conversation, where you compete for attention within a limited time span.

6.) Don`t mix your company name with the naming of your product line: It very often happens, that the first product is named identically with the company name. This is fine if you are always working on the same product line, but as soon as you have various product lines this might cause trouble. It's much better thinking first-hand about this than at a later stage...

7.) Facts, facts, facts! Articulate your key figures in a short and comprehensive way: Investors want to know the basic facts that prove that you are on your way to success. What did you archive so far and what are your plans for the future? They want to understand your target group, your product and/or service, your brand positioning and your differentiation from competitors. Furthermore they want to know your team, your technology or IP, your turnover, revenue and numbers from the past and your forecast for the future. And most important of all: the answer to the question "Why do you ask for this amount of money and what will you do with it?"

If all this is clear, investors will be ready to make time to understand in great detail how your product or service will work step after step and what's the perspective for the future. Most companies looking for funding start with this story and miss to prepare to make their story accessible to others who are not yet so deeply involved as you are. Investors want to get a clear overall picture first, before they decide to go into details.

8.) Form, form, form! The perfect investment proposal is no longer than two or three pages and delivers the overall picture on page one in a very comprehensive way. For in-depth information use page two or three. All additional information could be provided on a micro site or as download information. But remember: nobody wants to read 50 pages - this just proves that you did not understand or do your homework properly.

I personally also like a short video - not longer that three minutes – where anyone can see the spirit, the people, the human touch of the enterprise. We are still people making business with other people and if the chemistry does not fit, you will not make a deal. Don’t forget English skills are important if you are looking for international funding.

Provide all information as clear as possible, also contact information and everything related. If you are invited to video calls please turn on your camera. Never forget the power of the human touch! You are presenting your ideas, your vision, your company - so please take this chance and let them know, who they are talking with, so that they can recommend you! And potential investors will ask you this as well.

If you find this information useful and you still struggle to work on this please get in touch. It might be a good idea to invest some time and resources to pass this filter with the help of a professional - I´d be glad to support you with my long-time expertise. _______________________________________________________________________


Gregor Jasch has served as trusted B2B-marketing & business development expert, creative director and film producer right hand to B2B-industry leaders for over 20 years, using his experience in corporate culture as well as communications and marketing strategy to help enterprises to expand brand, sales & distribution and market reach on a global scale.

© Gregor Jasch I TML Venture Ltd.. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gregor Jasch / TML Venture Ltd. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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