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10 Tips for an Effective Pitch

Written by Allison Way on . Posted in Get Funding

Looking for a quick and easy way to enhance your pitch to investors? Look no further than these 10 tips. Then, be sure to check out our guideline to creating the perfect pitch. You'll be starting up a business in no time!

  1. Introduce everyone in the room: Make sure that you are familiar with each investor's bio, especially if it is easily-accessible on the web. Ask the investors and the people sitting in on the pitch to introduce themselves. It helps to establish who is the most important to make eye contact with and what style of pitch to focus on.
  2. Don't act like a visionary: Feel-good visionary statements in your overview slide are never taken well. Instead of giving a mission statement, give a precise and clear value proposition when pitching to investors.
  3. Name drop: If possible, name drop brands and people that are involved with your company—customers, partners, and members of the team. The investor needs to know who is involved from the very beginning of the pitch. This increases your credibility quickly and early on. If you do decide to name drop, warn each of the people that an investor may be contacting them in the near future. And of course, don't make up names!
  4. Keep it short: If your pitch exceeds twenty minutes, your investors will get extremely fidgety and bored. In fact, it has been found that most VCs zone out after ten slides. Fifteen to twenty minutes is the perfect pitch length. Be sure to leave time for investor questions after and during the presentation.
  5. Provide examples: Examples are one of the best ways to get your investors to listen. Provide concrete, impressive examples during your pitch. Include stats, graphs, and facts. Explain to investors how customers can actually use your product or service.
  6. Make it flow: An awkward pitch is a death sentence to your potential company. Make sure that your presentation flows smoothly throughout. The audience's body language and questions will tell you what direction the pitch is going within the first three minutes. Make sure you are in charge of the flow, not the audience.
  7. Be realistic: Be realistic in terms of how long a business takes to get off the ground. Don't be too optimistic when presenting a timeline, but also do not over exaggerate the time frame. In order to be realistic, compare your timeline to that of other businesses'.

Keep it simple, stupid: KISS, one of the main principles for all presentations. Provide content-rich bullets and simple words when presenting. Slides and pages with too much text is a total turn-off to investors.

8. Don't lie: It's as easy as that. Just don't do it.

9. Your presentation should not stand alone: Finally, be sure that your presentation needs YOU in order to make it understandable. The point of a pitch is to explain to investors with your own words, not give them a document to read. If your investors want a document with all of the explanations, hand them your business plan, not your presentation outline.

Pitching to investors is a nerve-racking time for many entrepreneurs. But do it correctly, and use these 10 tips, and you will be well on your way to receiving funding!

7 Ways Entrepreneurs Waste Their Capital

Written by Blake on . Posted in Get Funding

Beware, entrepreneurs: there are seven easy ways to waste your hard-earned capital. And although that company car sitting in the garage and custom logo atop your fancy letterhead may tickle your fancy, these, and many other temptations, are just a waste of your capital. We have established the top seven ways that entrepreneurs waste their money. Avoid these seven temptations, and you and your company will have a greater chance of financial success.

Temptation #1: Icons of Success
Custom logos and fancy letterheads may make you feel like a successful entrepreneur, but, in the short-term, they make you lose money. As a small business owner, it is important to design your own logo with templates provided in a word processing software (Project Gallery of Microsoft Word, Template Chooser in Apple's Pages, etc.). When designing your own using a free template, you can also receive matching business cards, envelopes, invoices, and letterheads.

Temptation #2: The Company Car
Kate Lister, a former banker, small business investor, and veteran entrepreneur argues that "the latest luxury car doesn't make you a better businessperson, it makes you a poorer one." She couldn't be more correct. Most of the time, entrepreneurs need a car to get them to and from the office. If the car gets you to where you want to go, it may be all you need, XM radio and 24-inch rims aside.


How Entrepreneurs Can Raise Capital

Written by Blake on . Posted in Get Funding

One of the keys to starting up a successful business is to begin with secure and appropriate financing. Raising capital, the most basic entrepreneurial activity, may seem extremely daunting to a new entrepreneur. Regardless, all companies must start out with money. So where do entrepreneurs find money to start up their own companies? Although many may not realize it, the opportunities to finding money are endless.

First, an entrepreneur must know what their startup expenses are. This determines the amount of money needed to raise capital. The most basic startup expenses include rent, utilities, research, development, marketing costs, technological expenses, and employee payroll and benefits. Other start-up expenses include legal and professional fees and basic living salaries. Without a doubt, these expenses can add up, especially when the company is so young. By having a solid business plan as well as an accurate feel for what startup expenses will be, entrepreneurs already have a one-up on raising more capital for their business. Once this groundwork is laid out, a business owner should begin researching the different types of financing they can use for their new business. These capital-raising opportunities include equity financing, debt financing, bank loans, government funding, and the development of advertisements.

Equity Financing
Equity financing, in simple terms, is an exchange of money for a piece of ownership in a new business. This can be done by venture capitalists, angel investors, friends, family, or through personal funding.


Money on the Side: Making Extra Income as an Entrepreneur

Written by Blake on . Posted in Get Funding

Everyone can use a little extra cash, especially entrepreneurs. When you are developing your own business, it is always difficult to fork out the money you need not only to get it started, but more importantly, to keep it running. Today, entrepreneurs everywhere are going to great lengths just to make a couple extra hundred dollars a week. If you're struggling to raise capital, provide much-needed supply for your new startup, or just want to make some extra money on the side, here are some simple options that business men and women everywhere are resorting to. More importantly, these suggestions do not take much time, so you, as an entrepreneur, can still spend as much time as you need on your business.

1. Sell your stuff online
One of the easiest ways to make a little cash on the side is to sell stuff that you do not use anymore online. The websites for selling your stuff (without even leaving the house) are endless—just try eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, or even build your own site for selling. You'll be amazed at how much money you can make through online bidding. Selling your stuff online takes virtually no time at all. Your things may be bought while you're at work, while you're with your family, even when you're sleeping. Consider selling old electronics that still work (such as iPods, cell phones, video cameras, etc.). Jewelry is another hot-selling item on websites such as eBay.


How Venture Capital Works

Written by Blake on . Posted in Get Funding

In order to start up your own business, you need money. You need money for the space. You need money for furniture. You need even more money for equipment, advertising, supplies, and employees. The list goes on and on. And for a new entrepreneur, the list may seem a bit overwhelming. How do new entrepreneurs afford all of these startup expenses?

Some entrepreneurs bootstrap by using their own checking and savings accounts to pay for startup expenses. Others obtain bank loans. Yet, others use something called venture capitalists, or VCs; an important way to obtain large amounts of money to help a business pay for start-up expenses.

The way that VCs work may seem a little confusing at first glance. The process is quite simple and a very smooth way to raise capital for your startup business. Venture capital works in five different steps.

Step 1: Develop a plan
Most venture capitalists look for a business plan. However, you do not want to spend months and months on an overly-detailed business plan. Instead, prepare a list for your future VC on how fast you think your company will go, how much money it is estimated to make, etc. If the VC likes your overall plan, they will invest money in your company