Are you having trouble getting the funding you need for your startup? Maybe you need some help when it comes to pitching to potential investors? It’s all right, we know, pitching can be nerve-wracking and can take a toll on you. What if we told you it doesn’t have to be? Get your karak and keep sipping to find out how.
At Startup MGZN we wanted to help you Bahraini entrepreneurs make your life a little bit easier when it comes to pitching – yes we care about all of you, we even spoke to some members of the StartUp Bahrain community, Hussain Haji co-founder and CEO of Inagrab, and Yasser Abdulaziz co-founder and COO of Malaeb; and so, we’ve compiled some tips for you that you can make use of when pitching:
- Turn it into a story. We all love hearing stories, and it’s probably the best way to attract an audience. It’s more likely that people will remember a story than just you rambling on about your business. Make it exciting and stick with the audience – tell them about how your mom use to make the best biryani in the freej, something like that may tug at some of your investor’s heartstrings, who knows? Just make sure that you don’t go off tangent since we Arabs love doing that.
- Short but sweet. Timing is critical, the less time your pitch is, the better – but make sure it makes sense. Here’s some math for you, if you’re given x time to pitch, then make sure that at least 75% of x timing is utilized to get the core message across to the audience. Some pitches are even as little as 3 minutes so keep in mind the message you want to put across. Keep it concise and don’t beat around the bush or nakhla.
- Know your audience. If you by some miracle end up knowing who the investors are, please do your research – even if it’s as little as knowing if they like corn in their cheese samboosa or not. Pro tip from Hussain, “learn who your investor is when you walk into his office. That’s really important. Otherwise you’ll be talking to him about your ride hailing business, while he invests in AI – putting you in an awkward situation.” Knowing your audience and investors might just put you a step ahead of scoring the big cash, because then you’ll know how to approach your pitch, and what angle you need to take. Always remember, a little research never hurt nobody.
- Is your product that unique. We’re not saying that your product needs to be unique or anything to get the money, even some of the most simple startups with the simplest ideas can get funding (although having an IT factor does help a little), it’s all about execution and what resonates with the investors. It’s like karak, there are those that are sold in cafeteria side shops, and then there are those in high end restaurants, they both taste good and both bring in the money, but which one would you go for? #Food4Thought.
- Be Transparent. According to Yasser, it’s extremely important to be transparent with investors. “Communicate with your investors, give them good news and bad news (it’s okay to have bad news). Communicating with investors is extremely important, so that they’re in the loop and know what’s going on, that’ll also keep you on their radar.”
- Anticipate the questions. Most of the time, questions means that investors are interested. It’s also your opportunity to give in more insight on your startup and clear any uncertainty that people may have. “What usually happens is that sometimes, investors ask questions and the pitcher doesn’t have the supporting information to answer the question, so it’s really important to do your research. You have to really study the market your in. If you don’t do your research and do your background work, it’s going to show – always try to have the right information to back you up,” explains Yasser.
- Talk about the money. Investors love making money, and are essentially investing their cold hard dinars for return on investment (ROI). An investor will care more about your pitch when you tell them how you – the startup, can make the dinars follow in and how fast.
- Have a solid team behind you. This may not be very relevant when pitching, but having a great team cheering you on is a major plus in an investors eye. “Most investors from my experience, invest in the team, so if they trust you and know you, it’s more likely that they’ll invest in you,” says Yasser.
- Lastly, practice makes perfect. There’s really nothing to it, keep practicing until you get the hang of it.
The goal here is to have a successful pitch, and a successful pitch means investors are willing or maybe even begging to invest in your company. What are you waiting for? Get to it and start practicing your pitch! Happy pitching.