Just to be clear, we are not just talking about having a well-designed investor pitch book (although that can help). A great investor pitch book has the right content, organised in an investor-friendly way. It’s a document that’s a pleasure to read and that addresses what an investor needs – and wants – to know. And it’s a document that properly reflects the heart of your business.
It’s the difference between a piece of music by Saint-Saëns and by Stockhausen. They both contain the same notes, but one is a delight to listen to; the other is hard work.
Just last month I saw this tweet by VC Nic Brisbourne of Forward Partners. If you make it easy to understand your investment proposition, then the reader is more likely to meet you. What this means is that you need to clarify your investment case, and then tell your story clearly and simply.
If an investor gets ten pitch books in a pile, what makes yours stand out?
How can you get yours to the top of that pile? The good news is that there are tried and tested techniques that you can use. For example, when we re-write pitch books for our clients, we make them shorter and easier to read. Look at this collection of great early-stage pitch books for inspiration.
Does your investor pitch book really explain what makes you different?
Can you equip your investors with the tools they need to justify their decision to take investment in you to the next stage? This means finding the elements of your investment proposition that are distinctive and that underpin your success. For example, it could be your track record, your team, your approach or your investment strategy. You need to be very clear on this.
Having one strong, distinguishing, memorable feature is more powerful than having ten.
Imagine what happens after an investor reads your documents.
They might discuss you, write about you, and share information with their colleagues. Have you written your pitch document document so that it’s easy for them to do all of these things? Can they spread the word in a memorable and engaging way? That’s the sign of a great pitch book. It means writing it so your words can be easily repeated.
Every investor will have questions.
The easier you make it for them to get the answers they need, the more likely they will consider you seriously. But it must not say too much – it can’t answer every question or it becomes unwieldy. For example, in a teaser document, think of your pitch book as a CV or resumé. It should share just enough information for people to want to meet you, and no more.
When you meet investors, you want to have an intelligent conversation.
Well, what about writing your pitch so that it guides the conversation as you want it and stimulates the right questions?
For example, if you are raising money for a better mousetrap, and the key piece of evidence for the success of your business are the sales on Amazon, you want to write your pitch to encourage the investor to ask questions about that.
A great way to save time is to identify those investors who are not really interested.
A ‘NO’ is the second best answer you can get. It’s the ‘Maybe’ answers that are often least illuminating. So, be clear, be definite and show exactly who you are and who your investment is best suited for.
Your pitch book could be the start of a wonderful relationship.
If you make life easy for the investor from the start, they are more likely to want to work with you. A great pitch book is a great way to begin that process.
I am sure we have all experienced a meeting where you turned up to an investor and it was clear they hadn’t read your documents.
That might have been a sign that your pitch book was less than ideal. Your pitch book should be as easy to read as a newspaper or magazine. If it is, the investor can flick through it quickly and understand your investment case. We like to apply our ‘Flick Test’ to all pitch books to make sure the core messages are easily accessible.
As well as all the benefits for the investor, a better pitch book also saves you time.
You get to speak with the right investors and you spend less time answering obvious questions. A great pitch book should also accelerate the fundraising process. That means you can get back to managing your business – where you really add value.
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