7 Tips For Pitching Your Entrepreneurial Idea, Whether To Angels Or Sharks
Are you ready to present your business idea to the wealthy investors on the Shark Tank? Just remember that the five successful Sharks sitting across from you (or Dragons in the UK, Lions in Finland, or the original Tigers in Japan) were once in your shoes, and have all learned where to look, and how to pitch, to secure funding for their entrepreneurial ideas.
Baybars Altuntas is a shark, or rather a dragon on the Turkish version of the reality TV show. He is also a successful entrepreneur, and as an Ambassador of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, a global think tank dedicated to entrepreneurship, he has contributed a chapter to the book Planet Entrepreneur, with advice on where to find potential investors, and how to pitch to them.
Not that he has always got it right himself. As with so many entrepreneurs, the learning curve can be steep, and he has his fair share of inspiring and funny stories. Back in the days before the Internet, for example, he tried to put together a list of franchise companies wanting to do business in Turkey. Pre-Google GOOG +0.32%, remember, you would have to turn to books for such information. So he used a book he found in an old bookshop and discovered later, when furious readers reacted, that it had been written in 1922 and all the franchises had long gone out of business!
But in the digital age, he reminds would-be entrepreneurs that there are no borders any more. So whether you find yourself in front of five sharks and a TV audience of millions, or with five minutes and an angel investor audience of one, a big part of their decision is going to be based on the quality of your presentation, and the people involved. Here is the advice from an entrepreneurial dragon who has listened to plenty of pitches.
- Prepare yourself, not just your idea. Angel investors invest first in the entrepreneur not in the business plan. It’s important that the investor and entrepreneur can get along. They will want to see that you are fast, thoughtful and efficient, and can sustain the project through its conception and growth.