Although not all startup founders seek external financing to grow their business, those who do are well aware of the difficulties of the pitching process.
Raising funding for female founders is even more daunting than for their male counterparts due to prevailing stigmas around women making big moves in business. Only 1% of early-stage capital flows into enterprises started by women.
You hear lots of “no’s”, venture capitalists are not impressed, the opportunity is not big enough, or it’s too early for them to invest.
However, rejection often comes because you don’t sell yourself enough during your pitch. In other words, VCs aren’t convinced you have a clear vision, ambition, and/or the right attributes to execute and lead your business.
This article discusses the importance of pitching confidently to present yourself and your business as an investable and worthwhile opportunity.
We see the most incredible women in our cohorts, whose achievements in both their business and personal lives are outstanding, yet they’re resistant to sharing these achievements boldly and loudly. It’s so important that as women we avoid underselling ourselves and get comfortable talking about what we’ve accomplished as well as our vision for what we’re building.
Investors First Invest in People, Then Business
Many entrepreneurs go to their pitches armed with numbers, financial forecasts, and other factual data about their business model. Of course, hard data and a robust product are essential elements, but who you are and how you present yourself can play a more significant part than you think.
At this stage, VCs are looking to invest in people (i.e., the founder and the team) rather than the product. Your product hasn’t been put through its paces enough, so it’s too early to determine whether it’ll be a success.
Therefore, many investors judge you and your team “by the emotion and confidence” that you instil. Are you and your team capable of turning the company into a success story? Do you have the set of skills and expertise required to grow your endeavour?
Investors are counting on you and your employees to provide a positive return on their investment. For this reason, they want to see devoted and passionate entrepreneurs fully committed to the idea.
How to Sell Yourself During a Funding Pitch?
Founder confidence can make or break your pitch. Many female entrepreneurs are more reserved than male business owners regarding certain parts of the pitching process, such as projections on ROI.
Women frequently undervalue themselves and highlight modest returns, which may be less appealing to investors seeking big wins. Furthermore, they tend to be more careful not to oversell their idea, which can be read as a signal of low confidence.
A winning business pitch should be a confident one where you demonstrate strong ambition and determination to lead the venture through its highs and lows.
It’s imperative to remember that, as a founder, you are the most valuable asset, so don’t shy away from clearly articulating your skills and experiences and why you’re the best person to lead.
Above all, investors will always back a founder who has a solid grasp of her product and target market’s pain points while balancing it with strong leadership skills and the ability to grow from setbacks. They want to invest in a well-rounded entrepreneur, so prove that you’re the one!
You Need to Emanate Passion
Investors have no idea who you are or whether you have the drive to build the business, you’re pitching. However, they want to work with someone passionate about the endeavour, its mission, and the team responsible for making things happen.
What’s the best way to get it done? Make your pitch memorable so it leaves a lasting impression on the investors.
But sometimes, portraying passion can be challenging; thus, ensuring how you come across to investors and what visual information you’re communicating is critical.
A study by University College London found that to boost your chances of delivering a winning pitch, you must focus on visual signs, such as your body language, gestures, facial expressions, and visible passion.
Such visual cues can often be more powerful than your pitch deck, so you must learn to leverage them to your advantage.
Show You Can Execute
If your business is in the early stages, you don’t have a viable product or the most robust strategy, but you can still nail your pitch.
Investors are not only looking for a unique business idea but also for solid abilities to execute your go-to-market plan. In the beginning, there might not be enough factual data to judge you on, so investors make a bet on you as a person and how you make them feel.
Do you come across as someone who can execute the idea and penetrate the market? Have you refined your vision and goals and know exactly how to get there?
You must present yourself as someone who leads with action and doesn’t play safe.
The Bottom Line: You Need to Find the Balance
Successfully pitching your business to investors is about marketing yourself with confidence and passion while having an in-depth knowledge of your product and the market.
At The 200 Billion Club, we understand that women have a small chance of getting funding because of unconscious biases and gendered assumptions in a male-dominated venture capital industry. We offer a bespoke 12-week programme for high-potential female founders to equip you with strong negotiating and persuasion skills to help you land an investment.