This article first appeared on December 7th, 2011.
It is an interesting question. My view is that it is a good idea to practice.
The opportunity that you are pitching should be interesting in its own right. But more to the point, you, as the entrepreneur, need to be interested in it.
Not just interested – passionate and consumed. A potential investor wants to see the commitment you have for the idea.
If after rehearsing you are somewhat bored with it, then perhaps it’s not such a great idea to try to get someone else interested in it.
I don’t think doing it off the cuff is going to add to the genuine enthusiasm. On the other hand, if you don’t rehearse there are a number of pitfalls.
If you are nervous at all, that may come across as lack of knowledge about your business. Or you may get derailed by questions that you intended to cover later on.
The more you can jump around in your planned pitch to suit your audience, because you know it so well, the better.
Of course, delivery is just one aspect. Content matters too. My suggested agenda for a pitch is:
- Introduce yourself and the team (speak to your background, how you know each other, how you came across the opportunity).
- Describe the problem (touch on the market size).
- Describe your solution.
- Outline your business model (what and how you are going to charge and to whom).
- Present you projected financials (and any underpinning assumptions).
- Ask for what you want (how much money do you need, what ownership are you giving, do you want anything else from the investor, eg. introductions or help in a specific area).
You really want to keep it short – no more than a dozen slides and 30 to 40 minutes long to leave plenty of time for the investor to ask questions and become engaged.