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Pitching a Business Idea: Guidance for First Time Entrepreneurs

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As a budding entrepreneur, you’ve got the business idea and a team of people ready to jump on board; now all you need is an investor.  It can be intimidating to ask someone for funds if you’ve never done it before, and this is especially true if you don’t have many connections.  Don’t let fear stand in your way, however.  Sure it can be discouraging to get turned down, but it’s important to have the confidence to keep going until you get what you need.

Here are a few tips on winning over potential investors from experienced entrepreneurs.

Seek advisors, not just investors

Rather than viewing an investor as a bank with money, find someone who can share in your vision and be just as excited about your company’s potential as you are.  This person can provide valuable advice throughout your journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Tamin Batcha, head of Community at CampFire says, “Don’t chase the dollar, chase the person who actually brings value. It’s not a monetary value. It’s a value that is intangible to your business and if they see that in your business, the money will follow.”

Sell your idea first

Investors want to know see more than just dollar amounts.  First and foremost, it’s important to sell your idea.

As an  entrepreneur, over the years, Toronto’s John Fielding has shown an ability to invest in the right businesses at the right time. He was an early investor in and served as Chairman of the Board of Ethoca Solutions Inc., an e-commerce and fraud solutions provider founded in 2005 and acquired by Mastercard International in 2019.  When it comes to asking for funding, John Fielding’s best advice is to forget about the figures and concentrate on selling your idea instead.

“While investors will eventually want to know how much money an entrepreneur is asking for, they really want to make sure the idea is worth backing.  My advice for a first-time entrepreneur would be to focus on selling the story behind your venture and your vision for its future,” explains Fielding.

Do your due diligence

Like with any important presentation, it’s best to do your homework prior to pitch day.  You’ll need to be prepared for any curveballs that may be thrown your way.

Anderson Thees of Redpoint eventure says To “wow” potential investors, it’s a good idea to do your own due diligence.

“It’s critical to do a deep dive to learn about the investors, including speaking with other founders in their portfolio. Knowing how investors think and behave is highly valuable. It’s also best to do your homework to ensure they’re an optimal fit, because no investor is better than the wrong investor.”

During your pitch, remember; it’s your job to convince the investor that your business idea will be a game changer. Reiterate that your product or service will add value to the market and fill a void that’s not already there.  Most importantly, relax and be yourself.  An investor is just around the corner.

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