This is a contributor’s blogpost …
Even the most hardened corporate warriors are likely to get nervous before a shareholder or investors’ meeting. This goes double for a startup owner trying to get their first lucrative investment to expand their operation. The negative feedback loop here is that if you come across as nervous, you don’t seem reliable and confident at the helm of your business. Luckily, no matter how great you are at pitching an idea, you can take some preemptive steps to ensure you come across as efficient, knowledgeable about your operation and wise about where you’re headed.
Without putting pressure on yourself, it’s important to realize that this could be one of the most significant days of your startup’s history. If you’ve arranged a meeting, that shows the investor is interested in your business and wants to hear more about it. That is a positive first start. Developing the inner confidence to best communicate your deepest business ideas will serve you well, but you can also adopt these other methods to best help you breeze through it:
How you dress says a lot about you. Jeans and turtlenecks might be applicable for geniuses such as Steve Jobs, but unfortunately, not all of us can match his creative intellect. Dressing in a sharp suit and keeping your hair cut short, or tied back to look professional will help your outward appearance, promoting a wise, safe and reliable persona for the investor. You need to look like a person worthy of being trusted with money. Look yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself, “If I didn’t know me, and I had to go off of looks alone, would I trust this person with my money?” Strive to answer a resounding “Yes” to that question.
Keep The Office Professional
If your office is a mess of paperwork and employee ornamentation, ask them to tidy it up. If your office layout has seen better days, purchase modern office furniture to raise the aesthetic. Part of the investors meeting will be showing them your operation, and you want to seem capable of meeting the task you’re professing you are ready for.
Photo Courtesy of stevepb via Pixabay
Know Your Business Plan Back To Front
Read your business plan thousands of times. Refine it hundreds of times. You need to know it with your eyes shut. You need to know what contingencies you have in place if something fails. You need to know exactly when the investor can expect to start making a return. Do all of the financial work for them, so they have no calculations to muster. All they should have to ask and figure out is ‘Should I invest in this?’. Every other question should be accommodated by you.
Compromise, But Not Too Much
Investors can be a stickly bunch. They’re present to maximize their money, and they want the best deal possible to do so. If they sense you’re a novice in business, they will try and squeeze a better deal possible out of you than they could get elsewhere. It’s nothing personal, it’s just how the business world works. You need to state your case strongly. Be willing to compromise to help the investment look attractive, but don’t be flabby. Part of the test is them figuring out how strong of a leader you are. They’re more likely to compromise themselves if they see you as a strong leader, but be sure to balance both of your needs intelligently.
In summary, you should prepare yourself from all angles. You should practice your communication skills as well as your ability to hold eye contact. This is like a job interview x 10. Be the best individual you can be, and you’re sure to achieve that cash injection you sorely desire. Good luck!