The first step entrepreneurs must complete in order to secure outside funding to facilitate their company’s growth is participating in a Screening event.
This is the first article in a series of posts focused on deconstructing the process through which entrepreneurs and investors initiate, negotiate and finalize a start-up investment deal.
The Screening event involves presenting your business's broad start-up strategy to interested investors using a pitch deck in a 10-25 minute presentation, followed by a 10-30 minute question and answer session.
The presentation should cover what the business essentially does, how it does it, who is leading it, and what the opportunity can represent to the investor(s).
This Screening event is critically important, because it represents the first interaction between entrepreneurs and potential investors. Significant time and reflection should go towards the creation of a great pitch deck and towards preparing for the presentation.
The screening process can be characterized as follows:
A. A 10 minute company pitch.
Your pitch deck should cover the following topics:
- “Who We Are”
- What Problem The Business Solves
- The Solution
- The Company Vision and Future Operational/Strategic Plan
- The Team
- Go To Market Strategy
- Financial Projections
B. A 10-30 minute question an answer session.
Entrepreneurs should be prepared to address:
- Barriers to Entry
- Professional Network
- Strategic/Operational Needs
- How The Potential Funding Will Be Utilized.
When creating your company pitch deck, it is best to keep things clear and simple. Entrepreneurs should conform to the following 10 slide format as closely as possible.
The format is advocated and created by Guy Kawasaki, the Apple chief evangelist responsible for the Macintosh marketing campaign in 1984.
To ensure that the presentation goes smoothly, practice it at least 10 times with a different audience at each time. Doing so will generate a variety of suggestions and comments, from which entrepreneurs can improve their deck and build confidence around their entire presentation.
Confidence is probably the most important and least talked about topic concerning pitch decks.
Ultimately, as an entrepreneur your objective is to sell a great business opportunity to investors who, in the case of the Screening event, can be thought in this case as clients.
Therefore, new business leaders should treat the screening process as a sales event.
Be confident, inspire the audience and demonstrate boundless desire & energy to make the venture happen no matter the obstacle.
Investors want to be inspired, and want to believe that the entrepreneurs leading the venture are not only the right people, but the only people who can transform the venture into reality, and ultimately a resounding success.
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