Nine Questions You Need to Answer Before Pitching Investors
Going after investors to get their money is not a good approach and mostly ends up being rejected. Investors are smart, and they don’t get into any business and not with anyone. They are selective and want to get what they most want, which is the return on investment (ROI).
They will not say Yes because you are smart, got an MBA, or go to Harvard. Most investors care about the ins and outs of any business opportunity. They are after entrepreneurs who show their work.
Here are the nine questions that you need to ask yourself and answer before getting into a meeting room with investors — I have separated the question into three phases:
Note: This article was inspired by the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.
Phase 1: Past
- Where Have You Been?
You need to state the experiences that you've gone through to reach this point: your successes, failures, and other states.
- What Do You Want?
What is it that you want to achieve at the end of the day? What is the problem that you are trying to solve? Be clear on what you really want to achieve—your dreams and hopes for proposing your solution.
- How You Come to Wanting It?
What are the steps/paths that led you to see the problem? Why are you trying to solve this problem? Make sure to think about the leads that pulled you to want to solve this problem.
- What Have You Done So Far to Get It?
Show your work! This is the most important step that you need to show the investors. They are waiting for you to say want did you do about it so far? They assume that you did your homework and research to figure out the ins and outs of the problem and solution.
Phase 2: Present
- Where Are You Now?
What have you accomplished so far? What is the current status of your venture? Ensure to show your work along the way and take the investors into the process you’ve been through.
- How Have You Worked?
Basically, they are looking for your magical ingredient. What problems did you solve, and how better is your solution?
- How You Used Your Resources?
Did you call someone? Who are the people/institutes/companies that helped you out? You have to show them that you did the homework of reaching out to others and being resourceful.
Phase 3: Future
- Where Are You Going?
What is the scope of your solution? What are you expecting in the future? And where are you going in the next 1 to 3 years? Investors need to know your future plans for the venture to get a sense of what they are dealing with. Give them real numbers. Don’t say “maybe” and “I don’t know.”
- How Can the Investor Help You Get Where You Want to Go?
Tell them what you want from them, whether money, power, status, resources, support, etc. Be clear and specific.