Surviving the Shark Tank: How Marketing Teams Can Help Start-ups and Growing Businesses Attract Investors

One of the largest challenges faced by start-ups and growing businesses is raising capital. Often, the job of creating the materials required to support a business owners’ investment pitch falls upon an internal or external marketing team. Preparing perfect pitches to motivate potential investors can take a lot of time and effort. So how do you make sure those efforts aren’t going to be in vain?

You already know great marketing plays a crucial role in attracting the right investors. The first hurdle for most marketers is ensuring the business’ stakeholders know it too. You also need to ensure they know the process for preparing the brand for presentation. Your boss or client will need to agree to:

  • Commit enough time and resources to preparing to pitch.
  • Set realistic goals and investment expectations.
  • Provide truthful and transparent facts and figures.

Once everyone’s on the same page, it’s time to get started on your ‘To Do List’.

10 Things to Do When Preparing to Pitch

Research

  1. Investors: this is your target market. Like any campaign, you need to gather insights into the demographic. Create a buyer persona so you can identify investors that align with the company’s core beliefs. The right investor will believe in the business, not be too hands on, but offer advice when the owner needs it.
  2. Competitors: who are the major players? Look at marketing initiatives they have run in the past that have worked and failed. Consider branding, messaging and personality. How does the business you’re working with measure up?
  3. Value: the hard facts matter. You’ll be relying on your boss or client to provide accurate financials while you collate campaign analytics and results. Encourage stakeholders not to lie or exaggerate. They’ll need to get honest valuations, as investors can smell a rat a mile away. Realistic projections and investment expectations are vital to success.

Development

  1. Branding: present a professional image. Ensure all marketing materials are up-to-date, consistent across all internal and external communications and strategically sound. It may be time for a brand refresh or for new materials need to be developed.
  2. Goals: investors want to know the business has a mission. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. If the business sets realistic goals, they can work hard on exceeding them and delighting the investors.
  3. Strategy: marketing strategy needs to show investors you’re ahead of the curve. A 12-month marketing plan should identify the tactics to help the business achieve SMART goals. Provide insights and measurable results from past initiatives to show tactics are based in sound strategy. Clearly profile the customers and competition to show you know the marketplace. Use analytics to show your ability to grow the business and cheaply acquire new customers.

Implementation

  1. USP: a truly unique venture simply can’t be ignored. If the business you’re working with doesn’t have a real point of difference in the marketplace, you may have to workshop with them in order to invent one. Together you must find something of value that makes the business different; a way in which they can solve a problem better than anyone else. That USP must be at the core of all messaging. Need inspiration? Take a look at some of the most successful Kickstarter campaign pitch videos and the ways in which they communicate their USPs.
  2. Dream: show the passion and tell the story to capture the heart and imagination. Many investors were once entrepreneurs with their own start-ups to pitch. They understand dreams. A clearly communicated vision will help attract the right investors who believe in the business.
  3. Benefits: what’s in it for the investor? Your most important job when preparing to pitch is to highlight the benefits to investors. Yes, the dream can win their hearts but realistic and believable benefits will convince their business minds. Don’t overpromise, but understand these are business people looking for ROI.
  4. Network: connect with the right people. Follow and engage with potential investors online. Share the brand vision, dream and story on digital media. Progress updates on social media can show the business is heading toward its goals. Present the brand as thought leaders in their field, striding in the direction of their goals.

There are plenty of great networking events throughout the year, some of which specifically cater to businesses seeking investors. One example is the ‘We’re Going Live Investor Pitch Night’ which is free to attend on Wednesday 23rd August 2017 (6-8pm, The Triffid, Book Tickets Here). It’s a chance to hear from top investors about what they’re looking for in a pitch and why we should be seeking investment from their VC funds.

Guarantee brand consistency with professional pitch materials. Contact us about our design support services.

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