Introducing Your Start-Up to an Angel Investor by E-mail

Angel investor, start-up You can only make a first impression once. Introducing your start-up to an angel investor is nerve-wracking to begin with. However, introducing your start-up to an angel investor by e-mail is a lot more challenging. You cannot charm or socialize with an individual by e-mail the same way you would in person. Standing out is much harder. Of course, you are better off reaching out to an angel investor by e-mail after having met them in person. But this isn’t always the case. For this reason it is important that you hatch out a plan that will captivate the interest of an angel investor. As said Alex Iskold, Managing Director of Techstars, there are 3 key notions to stick to when contacting an angel investor: be simple, clear, and awesome.

Your Structure should be simple-

Being concise is key. Your initial e-mail should only about 5 sentences long, with a one-pager attachment maximum. An angel investor should be able to decipher, based on just these few lines, if this is an opportunity of interest. Keep in mind that your e-mail does not need to answer every question that an investor would have. It simply needs to strike enough interest to schedule a meeting. The following steps can provide for a good blueprint for your email.

Introduction: Your name and the name of your business
Business: 2-3 sentences about your business & why it’s interesting
Traction: 1-2 sentence about your traction, customers, and progress over time
Why: Looking for feedback, or connecting because you have background.
Ask: Schedule a quick phone call, meeting, or ask for feedback via e-mail
Be as clear as possible-

Do not use complicated jargon or terms in order to explain your business. Most investors do not have time to untangle your e-mail in search of clarity. Your first e-mail must be able to stand alone as a comprehensible pitching tool. Note that you should have two goals with this introductory e-mail. First, you have to persuade an angel investor to engage with you in conversation.  Second, give this person the tools to communicate the information clearly to others if need be. This is not to say that angel investors should not have questions about your business after reading your e-mail. It is simply to make clear that the questions they have should not be with regards to your description of the company but with regards to the company itself and its potential.

Focus on Market-Product Fit-

Often times entrepreneurs mistakenly put an excessive amount of focus on the solution instead of the business problem. Reaching out to an angel investor should include focusing on the ‘why’. A strong opportunity statement, which will communicate exactly why an angel investor should care about your business is crucial. When a profitable opportunity presents itself, investors will almost always be willing to listen, at the very least.

Adopt the right attitude, don’t oversell yourself and be truthful. Standing out by e-mail will be difficult. Especially since many angel investors are busy and receive numerous e-mails daily. Just remember that more times than not, less is more. Keep it simple, and make your case as to why they should at least hear what you have to say.

When to Say “No” to an Investment Offer

startup, investment, VC, venture capital Finding an investor is challenging. So it is understandable that when you are ready to start accepting term sheets that you would be tempting to accept your first offer after having reached out to countless investors. Though lack of financing can cause you to overemphasize the pros of accepting an investment offer, remember that there is much more at stake when dealing with an investor than your finances. Sometimes simply saying ‘no’ or ‘you are no the right fit’ is the smartest move. In order to evaluate compatibility with your potential investor, there are two things you should focus on:

  1. The Term Sheet

It’s not just about how much money you get, but about how much you are willing to give up for it. Your term sheet is an agreement that establishes the terms and conditions at the base of an investment. It addresses information pertaining to the identification of parties involved, initial purchase price, contingencies that may constitute changes in your agreement, time frames for decision making, equity, etc. It is your responsibility to know and understand its content. In most cases your term sheet is the starting point for negotiations. Investors, backed with their professional experience and legal team, will draft term sheets in favor of their interests. Be ready to come to the negotiating table equally prepared. If you do not see eye-to-eye on an important matter, it may be best to walk away from the offer.

 

  1. What your investor can offer you

Money will help businesses grow. However, it should not be the only thing that the investor has to offer.  The reputation of the venture firms is often taken into consideration. Having a credible investor attached to a startup can assist with credibility, which can be helpful in forming business partnerships and hiring new employees.Many investors wind up taking board seats, so for these roles it can be helpful to find someone with industry experience or an expertise in scaling startups. Investors can help with problem-solving and can also make introductions. A good investor should be available to communicate with you, offer expertise, and give you honest feedback on your operations when needed. You should also look to see if said investor has a contact pool that you may be able to leverage in the future.

Declining an investment offer doesn’t mean you are closing the door to a particular relationship. Explain your business needs are for the time being, and express to an interested investor that you look forward to doing business with them in the future. Refusing to accept an investment offer does not have to be a negative experience. Show gratitude, explain your reasoning, and exchange pleasantries on your way out. You never know when you may cross paths in the future.

 

Why So Many Crowdfunding Campaigns Fail

crowdfunding, startupCrowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have become mainstream in the past few years. There are many reasons why early stage entrepreneurs have turned to crowdfunding. Some of these reasons include not wanting to take out more debt, validating product market fit or  simply to create a brand following. Crowdfunding serves many benefits such as crowdsourcing, opportunities to pre-sell, and starting a campaign is usually free. As great as these things might sound, having a successful crowdfunding campaign is harder than it seems. For every successful Kickstarter campaign, two fail, and about 9 out of 10 Indiegogo campaigns fail to reach their goals. Here are a few reasons why experts believe that so many crowdfunding campaigns fail.

  1. Companies Fail to Establish Credibility

There are so many projects and initiatives on crowdfunding platforms, you must find ways to stand out in the clutter. Many crowdfunding initiatives have a reputation for unmet promises. Highly publicized credibility issues run deeper than product or supply-chain issues. The PME funded company, Revols, had managed to avoid such issues with their highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which garnered 2.5 million dollars in just a month. Their Kickstarter video showcased their credible partners, endorsements from industry experts, and specific accreditations to their name. They also hired a PR firm in order to make sure the right image was being spread prior to launch. Two weeks prior to starting their campaign Revols visited established media outlets with product demos in various North American cities. Like Revols, you have to be on top of your PR game.

  1. The Video is Too Long

A video that is too long is not likely to be shared on social media platforms. Keep your video length between 1 to 3 minutes long, so that people who would like to share your video with their network will be likely to. Sharing aside, people are also busy and have short attention spans. They want something, short and informative to watch.

 

  1. The Video Doesn’t Tell a Story

Videos have the capability to tell stories better than any other medium. Your video should have a story line that elicits emotional feelings from the viewer. If your video doesn’t seem sincere, you will have a difficult time getting investments or even people following-up on your brand down the line.

  1. Companies Aren’t Clear About How They Will Use the Funds

If you know exactly what you’re going to be using your money for, so should your backers. Investors want to know how their money will help you. Putting out vague statements such as “help our business grow” or “we need your help to expand” does nothing to show that you have a strategic plan moving forward. To our previous point, not being specific also doesn’t do anything to boost your credibility.

  1. No Testing

By testing we are referring to two things. The testing of the product and the testing of your Kickstarter page prior to launch. Before investing people want to know that your product has been tested and that it has garnered positive reviews from users and industry experts. Investors and backers want to be sure that their money is going into a quality good that has been vouched for. Testing your Kickstarter page means sending it to friends, family, mentors and trusted individuals in order to get feedback on its presentation and content. Building social capital prior and during your launch will have immense payoff.

  1. Your Goals are Unrealistic

Don’t aim to get millions of dollars right off the bat. Even Revols had the objective of raising only $100,000 before they reached their $2.5 million mark. You should plan and set a timeline for the investments you hope to receive. Being conservative with your estimates is always better. Your goals should be SMART, in other words, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

These are some of the main reasons why crowdfunding campaigns fail. If you do the right planning in order to avoid these mistakes your crowdfunding campaign will already be more likely to rise above the clutter. Even if you don’t achieve your campaign goal, you should still be leaving the platform with more than you entered. You should have more supporters, a longer e-mail list, and most importantly, a better idea of what it is that your consumers want.

Pourquoi tant de campagnes de financement participatif échouent-elles?

Financement Participatif

Au cours des dernières années, les plateformes de financement participatif, comme Kickstarter et Indiegogo, sont devenues dominantes. Il y a plusieurs raisons pour lesquelles les jeunes entrepreneurs peuvent se tourner vers les campagnes de financement participatif, incluant, en autres, le désir de ne pas s’endetter, valider l’adéquation produit / marché, ou tout simplement créer une visibilité de sa marque. Ces campagnes de financement offrent de nombreux avantages tels que l’externalisation ouverte et des possibilités de prévente, sans compter qu’il n’y a généralement aucuns frais pour démarrer une campagne. Cette approche peut sembler très excitante, mais c’est plus difficile que ça en a l’air. Pour chaque campagne Kickstarter réussie, deux échouent, et environ 9 campagnes Indiegogo sur 10 ne parviennent pas à atteindre leurs objectifs. Voici quelques raisons pour lesquelles les experts croient que tant de campagnes de financement participatif échouent.

  1. Des entreprises ne parviennent pas à établir une crédibilité

Il existe tellement de projets et d’initiatives sur les plateformes de campagnes de financement participatif que vous devez trouver des façons de vous démarquer de la masse. Plusieurs de ces campagnes ont acquis une réputation de promesses non tenues. Des problèmes de crédibilité hautement médiatisés vont bien au-delà des questions sur les produits ou sur la chaîne d’approvisionnement. La société Revols, financée par PME, a réussi à éviter ces problèmes grâce à une campagne Kickstarter très réussie qui a recueilli 2,5 millions de dollars en un mois. Leur vidéo Kickstarter présentait leurs partenaires crédibles, le soutien d’experts de l’industrie, et une adhésion spécifique à leur nom. Ils ont également embauché une agence de relations publiques afin de s’assurer de propager l’image désirée avant le lancement. Deux semaines avant de lancer leur campagne, Revols a visité des organes d’informations reconnus de différentes villes nord-américaines avec des démonstrations de leur produit. Tout comme Revols, quand il est question de relations publiques, vous devez bien maîtriser votre jeu.

  1. La vidéo est trop longue

Une vidéo qui est trop longue n’est pas susceptible d’être partagée sur les plateformes de médias sociaux. Limitez la longueur de votre vidéo à 1 à 3 minutes — ainsi, il y a plus de chance que les gens la partagent dans leurs réseaux. Mais, même si on laisse le partage de côté, il faut admettre que les gens sont très occupés et qu’ils ont une capacité d’attention limitée — ils veulent regarder quelque chose qui est court et informatif.

  1. La vidéo ne raconte pas une histoire

Mieux que tout autre moyen, les vidéos offrent la possibilité de raconter des histoires. Votre vidéo doit avoir une trame qui suscite des émotions chez le spectateur. Si votre vidéo manque de sincérité, non seulement aurez-vous du mal à obtenir des investissements, mais les gens auront peu tendance à retenir votre marque.

  1. La façon dont les fonds seront utilisés n’est pas claire

Si vous connaissez exactement la façon dont vous utiliserez l’argent, vos bailleurs de fonds devraient la connaître aussi. Les investisseurs veulent connaître comment leur argent vous aidera. Des déclarations vagues comme «contribuez à la croissance de notre entreprise» ou «nous avons besoin de votre aide pour grandir» ne démontrent aucun plan stratégique pour l’avenir. Comme nous l’avons mentionné ci-dessus, le manque de précision ne fait que renforcer votre manque de crédibilité.

  1. Aucun test

Par test, nous faisons référence à deux choses. Tester le produit et tester votre page Kickstarter avant le lancement. Avant d’investir, les gens veulent savoir que votre produit a été testé et qu’il a reçu des critiques positives des utilisateurs et des experts de l’industrie. Les investisseurs et les bailleurs de fonds veulent être certains que leur argent est investi dans un produit attesté de qualité. Tester votre page Kickstarter signifie l’envoyer à des amis, la famille, des mentors et des personnes de confiance afin d’obtenir des commentaires sur la présentation et le contenu. Développer le capital social avant et pendant votre lancement offre des avantages considérables.

 

  1. Vos objectifs sont irréalistes

En partant, ne vous fixez pas comme objectif d’obtenir des millions de dollars. Même Revols avait pour seule ambition de récolter 100 000 dollars avant d’atteindre la barre de 2,5 millions. Vous devez planifier et fixer un calendrier pour les investissements que vous espérez recevoir. Il est toujours préférable d’être prudent dans vos estimations. Vos objectifs doivent être SMART, en d’autres termes, spécifiques, mesurables, atteignables, réalistes et temporels.

Voilà donc quelques-unes des principales raisons pour lesquelles les campagnes de financement participatif échouent. Une planification appropriée qui évite ces erreurs vous offrira déjà plus de chances de vous démarquer de la masse. Même si vous ne réalisez pas votre objectif, vous devriez tout de même être en mesure de quitter la plateforme plus fort que vous ne l’étiez à votre arrivée. Vous devriez avoir plus de sympathisants, une liste de courriels plus longue, et surtout, une meilleure idée de ce que vos clients veulent.

How to Find Investors for Your Business

investors, business, start-upsFinding the right investor for your business, let alone any investor, is a difficult task. You have to know where to look, who to network with, and the kind of resources your business needs. The last thing you want is an investor who can only provide financial support. You will likely speak to over a dozen of investors before finding the right one for you. It will be a tiring process, but meticulousness is necessary if compatibility is what you’re looking for. Here are 4 tips on how to find investors for your business when the time is right.

  1. Get an introduction from a mutual acquaintance

Asking members of your professional and social networks if they know any investors should be your first step. Entrepreneurs will have an easier time to get a meeting with an investor when introduced by a mutual acquaintance that the investor trusts. It is important you network constantly and consistently. Networking, whether in a social or professional setting brings about many advantages. The more good relationships you build, the better your chances of being introduced to an investor that is willing to give you his time. Remember that when networking you are not just gaining exposure, you are building connections with the networks of others as well. If someone they know has a need that matches your business, or vice versa, and you’ve made a good impression, chances are you will get a referral.

 

  1. Research where they’re going to be

If you have particular investors in mind, research where they are going to be. Many investors spend time at speaker series and conferences open to the public. In order to get the attention of your prospects make sure to attend these events, and have your elevator pitch ready. You might just have a small window of opportunity to speak to them, so make sure you provide them with just enough information to spark their interest, and provide them with your business card. Make sure to get permission to contact your prospect in order to continue the discussion further.

 

  1. Understand your KPIs and market

Your KPIs and market will help you determine exactly what kind of investment your business needs. This is what will lead you to the finding the right investor for your business. Understanding your KPIs will showcase precisely where your business is lagging and where it is prospering. You will therefore be able to identify your selling points to your investor. Additionally, understanding your market will indicate the kind of experience you need your investor to have. Which companies have they invested in? What industries are they most interested in? how does their investment track record look? What do they provide the companies they invest in?

 

  1. Research credible online communities

LinkedIn is a great online platform to find investors. It is, however, not the only one. There are many social networks that connect you directly with investors from other countries. These investors are usually interested in contributing to the global business environment. Such platforms include Crunchbase, AngelListXing, Plaxo, Startup Nation, and Meetup. While it will take much more work and precautions to assess compatibility with an investor you met this way, it should not prevent you from expanding your search to online resources.

 

Finding investors for your business will be a difficult task. Especially at the beginning stages of business development when your business hasn’t gained much traction yet. Just keep in mind that your relationship with your investor is worth more than a business transaction. Therefore, make sure you know exactly where you are looking and what you are looking for.

 

What Your MVP Should Accomplish

MVP, start-up, business, MontrealYour business’s MVP is more than just your minimum viable product. Sport teams aren’t the only ones with a most valuable player.  As an entrepreneur in the product development stage, your minimum viable product is without a doubt your most valuable player.  A team’s most valuable player teaches, remains focused, sets reasonable goals, is a representation of security, and gets the job done. All of these are also embodiment of a quality minimum viable product. Saying that your minimum product is also your most valuable may sound like a contradiction. Here are a few reasons why they are not mutually exclusive and what your MVP should accomplish.

  1. Fix the basic problem you are trying to solve:

This is your testing stage. It is the first step you must take in order to validate consumer need. What do your customers want? How will your product satisfy consumer needs before you decide to invest a significant amount of capital into your product development? Here is where you must balance your product efficiency and usability. At this stage you must aim to identify the core problem your product is going to solve. Products can have a varied set of interesting features, however, if you are unable to prioritize and rank your features based on importance you should probably take a few steps back and re-evaluate your strategy. Your MVP is supposed to be the most basic version of your final product. This will allow you to make the necessary modifications, if need be, based on the responses you will get. An MVP is about learning from your potential customers, not about impressing them. The goal here is to learn about your product and your customers’ expectations in order to prevent spending on unnecessary costs in following stages.

  1. Identify your Early Adopters

Your early adopters are your trend setters. Identifying the wants and needs of your early adopters during this testing stage is key. First of all, this will help you define your marketing strategy and sales process in the upcoming stages. Because early adopters are very knowledgeable on the industry you intend on entering, they are known to be credible sources of information to members of their network. By identifying who your early adopters are and how you will be able to satisfy their needs, you are bettering your chances at word-of-mouth advertising. Secondly, from the perspective of feedback, they are your most honest critic. They know of most products out there and are not interested in the popularity of your brand or impressing those in their surroundings by purchasing your brand. Early adopters want quality. Early adopters live for new and cutting-edge products. Learning about their expectations will allow to create a quality product and a compatible marketing plan.

  1. Figure the amount people are willing to pay for your product

Finding out the price customers are willing to pay for your product during the MVP stage will give you further indication on the positioning of your product in the market versus other competitors. This will also give you a better idea for your pricing strategy moving forward. If you are met with feedback that indicates a higher willingness to pay for your MVP, you can explore the possibilities of a more expensive pricing strategy for example. Of course, such a decision also depends on how much it costs to make your MVP.

  1. Inform yourself on the positioning of your product

Simply put, positioning symbolizes the place your product holds in the mind of the consumer. If you intend to enter a market where you will be competing against numerous other similar products, it is crucial you occupy a unique and easily identifiable place in the consumer’s mind. Because your MVP is such a basic version of your final product, there is much flexibility with the route you can choose for branding. The goal here is to start developing your brand persona and identity based on the feedback you get from your testers. Of course, this in addition to marketing research will lay the foundation for your marketing strategy moving forward. For instance, based on the feedback you will be getting on your MVP, you will be able to identify your main product differentiators, your strengths, weaknesses, and base some of your market research on these components.

 

  1. Map out your following stages toward market
Learning from your MVP, means setting up metrics and different forms of measurement prior to testing. Your MVP findings will be your foundation in mapping out the following stages of your business activity. What you need to do is find tangible ways to record and monitor your feedback and research findings. There are some Pre-MVP considerations you should establish prior to testing. You can create a grading scale for answering each of the questions listed below. For instance, a low response would mean 0 points, medium; 5 points, and high level; 10 points. Lower points for questions would require further investigation justifying the unfavorable responses.
  • Whether the problem you are trying to solve is really important to users
  • Whether users are actively trying to solve this issue now with other services or self-made solutions
  • Are they active during the interview
  • Do they agree to come and discuss the solution with you when it’s ready
  • Do they agree to refer other people to you
  • Are they ready to pay for the solution right away
There are also many available online programs and application that will not only help you with the planning process of creating an MVP, but also provide you with useful KPI tools.

Your MVP is your most valuable player. Think about it. A general manager of a sport`s team first secures his star player, his MVP. The team’s MVP is the reliable player that can be counted on to lead the team, deliver the needed results, and perform. At this point the general manager starts to form the team around his MVP. Hence, your added product features. Without your MVP your product loses almost all of its value to its customers. Would you have bought tickets to a Chicago Bulls game if you knew Michael Jordan wasn`t playing? Probably not. At this stage, the goal is to learn. Sometimes this can mean going back to the drawing board. But, what this always means is that you are saving yourself time and money moving forward.

A PME Success Story: Catching up with Hayes Nulman

startup, montreal hayes nulmanHayes was part of PME’s 2014 funding round. Still heading operations of his business, Hayes Nulman Design, he embodies true entrepreneurial spirit. With his furniture design and fabrication studio, and his outside-the-box thinking, he has paved quite a way for himself. We were able to sit down with him for a few minutes to talk about his journey and what he looks forward to in the future.

Q: How did you come up with the idea to start your own furniture design and fabrication studio?

A: It was a dream as a child. I also didn’t really fit into other workplaces so I sort of just wanted to create my own space.

Q: Where did your passion for furniture design come from?

A: When I was a kid I always liked to build things. I kind of always wanted to make stuff with my hands. From there it evolved. For me it was more about seeing something be created at the end of the day as opposed to the type of building that would be created over long-term projects. The immediate gratification part is what I like about it.

Q: How did you learn to master your craft? Did you teach yourself or were you professionally trained?

A: I went to a school called École National de Meuble et de l’Ebénisterie. It was an interesting experience seeing that it was all in French. The school is specialized in furniture making and design.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR design PROCESS? What’s the thought DEVELOPMENT that goes behind it?

A: Our business shifted. It started off as us doing residential.custom pieces.  However, we’ve pivoted more into a commercial aspect. That means that more of what I’m doing is interpreting a designer or architect’s design into a final product, suggesting changes that will make it more stable, and producing technical drawings based on their original rough wire frames.

Q: Do you find it difficult to compete in an industry where people tend to buy standardized products from big name corporations?

A: I feel that I’m more in a niche. There is certain clientele that doesn’t care much about the quality, they just need a piece. Then there are others that actually care about the quality in the final product. Typically we cater to the higher-end final quality products. We also cater to a clientele that knows what they want to have versus someone who doesn’t have a clear idea of what they want and is more open to suggestion. We build someone’s dream piece, not a piece to fill a void.

Q: Your father, Andy Nulman, has a big presence in the Montreal business scene. How were you able to pave your way for yourself?

A:  I think that what we do is unrelated. I think the underlying values that were instilled to me as a child was big into entrepreneurship. Growing up surrounded by an entrepreneur vouching for entrepreneurs really pushed me and my brother to go our own separate ways and to pursue what we like doing. Also, pursuing it in a way that we can build a business from it. It’s funny, my brother is a computer programmer, I build stuff with my hands, and my dad’s just completely in another space. We’re all different, but also the same, because it`s all in entrepreneurship. That`s how I see it.

Q: Why start to a business in Montreal?

A: It’s cheap rent. My business unfortunately requires a lot of space. Space in a lot of other cities comes out premium. I can see Montreal as a place to raise a family, raise kids, have a life, as well as have cheap rent. Those are the factors that make me want to stay here. I wanted to originally go to New York and then struggled paycheck to paycheck and realized that Montreal is a better option.

Q: How has PME helped you on your journey?

A: They believed in me when I first started. It took a little bit of convincing but they liked the approach. We’ve strayed so far from what we originally set out to do, but the funding they gave us has helped us secure our first commercial contract and helped us grow into more of a commercial oriented company than a residential oriented company. When we first started with PME we were in a 1000 sqft space, now we are at 12000 sqft. We’ve also increased our employee count. We were 2 last year and now we are 9.

Q: Where do you see yourself and your business 10 years from now?

A: I see us continuing to do more commercial projects. Continuing our same stroke. Hopefully doubling in staff and seeing where we can take everything.

Doing what you love is one of the biggest perks of being an entrepreneur. Doing it successfully is an even greater one. Hayes had some much needed insight to share. Best of luck to him moving forward!

Pro-Montreal Entrepreneurs (PME) is a social business model created to help young entrepreneurs build and strengthen their business roots in Montreal. PME offers business plan feedback, a network of mentors, and access to sources of funding. Entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-40 can also get access to capital of up to $50,000. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions that you may have.

Le top 5 à préparer avant la grande présentation

présentation

 

Comme le dit le proverbe, on n’a jamais une deuxième chance de faire une première bonne impression. La dernière chose que vous voulez, comme un entrepreneur, c’est de commettre une erreur évitable pendant l’une des plus importantes présentations de votre vie. Amy Cuddy, psychologue à Harvard Business School, étudie les premières impressions depuis plus d’une décennie. Selon elle, les gens sont portés à rapidement juger les autres en fonction de deux points: Puis-je faire confiance à cette personne? Et, puis-je respecter les capacités de cette personne? Ce sont des questions que tous les investisseurs se posent lors d’une présentation. Ces investisseurs sont fort occupés, et généralement, vous n’aurez qu’une seule chance de faire vos preuves.

À ProMontréal Entrepreneurs, nous pouvons témoigner de présentations mémorables. Certaines étaient meilleures que d’autres. Voici les 5 éléments les plus importants qu’à notre avis vous devriez préparer avant votre grande présentation afin d’obtenir les meilleurs résultats.

 

  1. Sachez à qui vous vous adressez

Il n’existe pas de formule parfaite pour donner une présentation qui garantira un investissement, mais effectuer une bonne recherche est certainement un pas dans la bonne direction. Cavan Canavan, PDG de FocusMotion, offre de bons conseils : «Si vous pensez arriver en disant: “Ta-Dam! Voici la technologie. Donnez-moi de l’argent!”, ça ne fonctionnera pas», explique-t-il. «Il est essentiel de savoir à qui vous vous adressez et de savoir ce qu’ils cherchent à entendre.» Voici quelques questions à vous poser: À qui je m’adresse? Sur le plan économique, comment peuvent-ils profiter de mon entreprise à long terme? De quoi se soucient-ils le plus? Comment puis-je adapter ma présentation spécifiquement pour eux?

 

  1. Préparez-vous à répondre à toutes sortes de questions

 

Généralement, vous pouvez vous attendre à vous faire poser au moins une dizaine de questions à la fin de votre présentation. Des questions sur les ventes prévues, le taux de croissance anticipé, les concurrents du secteur, les stratégies d’affaires à court terme et à long terme, comment vous prévoyez dépenser l’argent de l’investisseur, et comment vous allez faire de l’argent pour l’investisseur sont les moindres de vos soucis. Une bonne recherche, vos connaissances, et surtout, la répétition mènent à la perfection.

  1. Présentez vos propres questions

Plusieurs disent qu’il n’y a pas de questions stupides. Nous ne sommes pas d’accord. Pour nous, une question qui révèle un manque de recherche et de préparation (donc le point numéro 1 de cette liste) est une question inutile. Poser des questions intelligentes et pertinentes à un investisseur potentiel peut être très impressionnant. Les questions à poser peuvent inclure le degré d’implication dans votre entreprise auquel vous pouvez vous attendre, et ce, à court terme et à long terme, de la part de l’investisseur; de quelle façon votre entreprise s’inscrit-elle dans leur portefeuille actuel, etc.

 

  1. Ayez l’air présentable

C’est un point fondamental, nous ne passerons donc pas trop de temps sur ce sujet. Avoir l’air présentable est probablement l’un des aspects les plus importants de toute présentation. Les apparences en disent beaucoup sur une personne. En cas de doute, la règle de base est d’avoir l’air propre, d’apparence soignée et professionnelle.

 

  1. Vous êtes ce que vous publiez
Ne présumez pas que les pages de médias sociaux de votre entreprise seront les seules plateformes examinées avant votre présentation. Les investisseurs visiteront fort probablement vos comptes personnels de médias sociaux afin de se faire une meilleure image à votre sujet en tant qu’individu. Avant d’investir dans votre idée, ils veulent savoir si vous paraissez digne de confiance. On entend souvent dans les médias que Facebook peut vous coûter votre emploi, mais croyez-nous quand nous disons que cela peut aussi vous coûter un investissement.

 

N’oubliez pas que vous n’essayez pas seulement de vendre une idée, vous devez aussi vous vendre. Ce sont donc les 5 éléments principaux que vous devez examiner avant votre présentation. Ces points de vue peuvent sembler évidents, mais vous seriez surpris de constater à quel point ils sont souvent négligés. En outre, nous comprenons que le processus peut sembler fort stressant, mais rappelez-vous de vous détendre! Si vous vous êtes suffisamment préparé, votre passion pour votre projet sera transmise aux investisseurs.

Top 5 Things to do Before the Big Pitch

top-5-things-to-do-before-the-big-pitchAs the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The last thing you want to do as an entrepreneur is make an avoidable mistake before the pitch of a lifetime. Amy Cuddy, a psychologist at Harvard Business School, has been studying first impressions for over a decade. According to her people make quick judgements about people based on two questions: Can I trust this person? And can I respect this person’s capabilities? These are questions that all investors ask themselves while being pitched to. These investors are busy, and often times, you will only have one chance to nail it.

At ProMontreal Entrepreneurs we’ve had some memorable pitch moments. Some better than others. Here are the top 5 things we believe you should consider before your big pitch, to yield the best results.

1. Know who you’re pitching to
There’s no one right formula to pitching that will yield to a sure investment, but doing the right research is definitely a step in the right direction. Cavan Canavan, CEO of FocusMotion, gives some great advice: “As far as walking in and saying ‘Ta-Da! Here’s technology. Give me money,’ that doesn’t work,” he explains, “Know who you’re pitching to and know what they’re listening for.” Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Who am I talking to? How can they benefit financially from my business in the long-term? What do they care about most? How can I tailor my presentation to them specifically?

2. Be Prepared to Answer All Questions

Typically there is a set list of at least 10 questions you can expect to be asked after a pitch presentation. Answers to questions about projected sales, expected growth rate, competitors in the industry, long-term/short-term business strategies, how you will be spending the investor’s money and how you will make money for the investor, should be the least of your worries. Research, knowledge, and most importantly, practice, make perfect.

3. Come with Questions
Many say that there is no such thing as a stupid question. We beg to differ. To us, such a question is one that shows lack of research and preparation (Hence #1 on this list). Asking intelligent and insightful questions to a potential investor can be very impressive. Questions to ask can include the degree of involvement that can be expected, the investor’s short-term and long-term expectations from your company, how your business fits into their current portfolio, etc.

4. Look Presentable

This is a given, so we won’t spend too much time on this one. Looking presentable is probably one of the most important aspects of any presentation you will ever have. Appearances say a lot about a person. When in doubt, the rule of thumb is to look clean, put together, and professionally appropriate.

5. You Are What You Post
Do not assume that your business’s social media pages will be the only platforms looked into prior to your pitch. Investors will most likely be visiting your personal social media accounts in order to have a better picture of you as an individual. If they’re going to be investing in your idea, they’re going to want to know if you seem trustworthy enough. The media has often talked about how Facebook can cost you your job, but trust us when we say that it can cost you an investment as well.

Don’t forget that you are not just selling an idea, you are selling yourself. These are top 5 things you should go over prior to pitching. They may seem obvious but you’d be surprised at how often they are overlooked. Also, we understand that this can all seem stressful but remember to just relax! If you’ve prepared yourself enough, your passion for your project will shine through to investors.

Comment créer un slide-deck pour une rencontre face à face

slide-deck

 

Il est important de disposer de différentes présentations en fonction afin d’être prêt en fonction de situations variées. Étant donné que tout point de contact avec un investisseur répond à un but différent, il est nécessaire d’avoir une présentation appropriée pour chaque type d’interaction. Par exemple, le courriel est une plateforme qui sert habituellement à organiser une réunion en personne avec un investisseur, il est donc préférable de se limiter à des informations essentielles (juste assez pour susciter de l’intérêt).

La présentation en personne, d’autre part, est d’une grande importance, car elle est utilisée pour convaincre les gens. Cela ne servira à rien si la présentation n’est pas réalisée correctement. Pour cette raison, elle doit être plus approfondie et plus détaillée. Le but de cet article est d’expliquer ce qu’il faut inclure dans vos diapositives pour une présentation en personne.

À ce stade, un investisseur a accepté d’écouter ce que vous avez à dire. Les conseils et les suggestions suivantes vous permettront d’utiliser à bon escient le temps qui vous est accordé.

  1. Établissez une structure conforme à vos contraintes de temps

Diapositive 1: Vision/Rapide plaidoyer

Diapositive 2: Créer de l’intérêt/Validation

Diapositive 3: Débouchés

Diapositive 4: Le problème

Diapositive 5: Produit/Service (Solution)

Diapositive 6: Modèle de revenus

Diapositive 7: Marketing et stratégie de croissance

Diapositive 8: Équipe

Diapositive 9: Finances

Diapositive 10: Concurrence

Diapositive 11: Demande d’investissement

Diapositive 11+: Annexes ***

 

Vous pouvez utiliser une présentation légèrement différente, c’est correct. Assurez-vous seulement de présenter l’information essentielle dirigée vers le marché potentiellement lucratif que votre entreprise a l’intention de combler. La plus grande partie de votre temps devrait être consacrée au problème, au produit, au marketing et à la stratégie de croissance, et à l’aspect financier. Si vous souhaitez ajouter des diapositives supplémentaires, mais doutez de leur pertinence, placez-les dans les annexes. Gardez en mémoire l’utilisation d’hyperliens pertinents qui vous mèneront aux annexes prévues afin d’éviter de fouiller à travers les diapositives devant les investisseurs.

 

  1. Intégrez votre marque à vos diapositives

N’utilisez pas d’éléments qui donneront une allure générique ou amateur à votre marque. Clip art, des transitions de diapositives créées avec WordArt et trop d’animation auront tendance à diminuer la qualité de votre présentation. Prenez note que, parfois, moins on en met, mieux c’est. Utilisez les couleurs de votre entreprise, intégrez votre logo sur toutes les diapositives — n’utilisez pas un modèle PowerPoint préfabriqué, et n’ayez pas peur des polices standards. Même si vous n’êtes pas concepteur graphique ou génie du PowerPoint, créer une présentation professionnelle qui reflète votre marque peut requérir beaucoup de temps, mais c’est loin d’être compliqué.

 

  1. Créez une histoire

 

Des diapositives magnifiques sans une exécution remarquable ne vous mèneront nulle part. Créer un récit ou une histoire vous aidera à captiver les investisseurs dès le début. Les investisseurs ont une courte capacité d’attention, et la dernière chose que vous voulez c’est de les voir perdre tout intérêt quelques minutes à peine après le début de votre présentation. Vous devez trouver un récit qui déclenchera une réaction émotionnelle chez votre public, même si le domaine est un peu difficile. Il vous faut comprendre comment engager votre auditeur en agençant votre récit aux diapositives PowerPoint appropriées. Des techniques de narration particulières sont utilisées pour produire certaines des présentations les plus efficaces. Vous devez rappeler aux gens l’état du statu quo et révéler votre cheminement en démontrant une meilleure façon de faire les choses.

 

Divers investisseurs ont des styles différents, mais si vous êtes en mesure de les convaincre qu’il s’agit d’une occasion d’affaires rentable, vous aurez efficacement accompli votre travail. Montrez-leur pourquoi cette opportunité commerciale est digne de leur temps et de leur argent. Afin de réussir dans cette entreprise, vous devez répéter, répéter, répéter. Même si vous n’obtenez pas l’investissement espéré, mais que vous réussissez à impressionner les investisseurs avec votre présentation, vous aurez créé une impression durable qui jouera à votre avantage la prochaine fois.