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Pitching to Investors – Avoid the Pitfalls and Mistakes


Continuing our series of advice from Bethan Bannister, Growth Finance Services Delivery Manager at Grant Thornton, Cardiff, today’s guidance seeks to develop your confidence in pitching to investors by helping you to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes often heard and seen in business pitches and encourage you to think in the mind-set of a lender or investor.

There are typically three different types of business pitch which G by Grant Thornton have categorised as:

  • The Introduction or “One-liner”
  • The Elevator Pitch
  • The Investment Pitch

Having the knowledge and ability to deliver a well-rehearsed and natural pitch in different scenarios can be an invaluable asset and one often overlooked by entrepreneurs. No matter what type of pitch, you should always make sure you clearly cover the key points below in all your communications:

  1. What problem are you solving and how does your product or service solve it?
  2. How do you take your product/service to market and how will it make money?
  3. What is in it for an investor and why should they invest?

The introduction or “One-liner”

A short introduction and/or elevator pitch will often be required in various situations which may not necessarily relate to raising finance, for example at a networking event.

Although the shortest in length, ideally one or two sentences maximum, an effective introduction is often the hardest one to get right and it can affect your chances of making that important great first impression.  When you meet someone new and introduce yourself and your business, you need to be able to convey to that person clearly and succinctly who you are and what your business does.  You never know, that might be your next best customer or your future investor about to walk away! Consider what a listener would want to hear from you, rather than what you want to say in your introduction. You need to be engaging to encourage the recipient to want to find out more.

Top Tip: Have a number of introduction ‘scripts’ ready for different scenarios, e.g. networking, sales meetings, exhibitions, etc.

You want your business to stand out, but for all the right reasons

Elevator Pitch

The name Elevator pitch reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver a summary of your business during an elevator ride from one level to another, typically a duration of no more than 1-2 minutes. It positions the scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important to your business in the elevator. A target customer, new supplier or perhaps a potential investor, and if the conversation inside the elevator in those few minutes is interesting and engaging, the conversation will either continue after the elevator ride, or end in exchange of contact details and a follow up action.

Top Tip: Remember the following structure; problem – solution – benefits.

Investment Pitch

At this point, you have successfully introduced your business, delivered your elevator pitch and you have now have been asked to present your business to an interested investor or panel of investors at a formal meeting. You now need to bring your business to life and provide further detail on it as a rewarding investment opportunity. Remember investors see many more deals than they invest in. You want your business to stand out, but for all the right reasons!

Investment pitches vary in length and format. It is important to ascertain how long your pitch is expected to take so that you can tailor the content accordingly. If you pitch at an investment network/club, your pitch will be timed and will be ended irrespective of whether or not you have finished within the allocated time – this is really frowned upon by investors as it shows you cannot succinctly present your company and you appear unrehearsed. If you plan to deliver a slide presentation, ensure the meeting room can accommodate this with the necessary equipment available, and that your technology is compatible with the venue.

The key areas an investor will expect to learn about your business in your pitch are:

  • Business overview
  • Product/Service
  • Target market
  • Management team
  • Financial information
  • Funding Requirement
  • Exit

Top Tip: Your business is about far more than what you are selling; investors want to understand how your business makes money, not just how the product/service works

An investment pitch should be supported by further detail within a documented business plan, which can be provided to interested investors after the pitch. It is also good to have a one-two page summary of your business available as a handout during or after your pitch too.

Are you thinking about raising investment for your business and need help to:

  • Identify and impress suitable funders,
  • Create high-quality financial documentation,
  • Ensure your business plan stands out,
  • Deliver a great pitch presentation?

If you are thinking about seeking and/or pitching to investors and want to understand what help is available please contact Beth or call her on 029 2034 7558 Visit our website for more information on how G can help you to achieve your growth ambitions