You’re about to meet a prospective investor or buyer for the first time. The way you present your business and plan can influence an investor’s degree of comfort with you and the value they place on your business. How should you handle the meeting? Whether you are meeting with aventure capital firm or a strategic buyer consider these guidelines:
It’s your meeting. Investors want to finance confident leaders. Plan to make a presentation no more than half an hour long. Your goal for the first meeting is to prompt further investigation by the investor. Don’t expect to present every detail about your business at the first meeting.
Assume the investor has no knowledge of your business. You may have sent him or her executive summary or a business plan, but for your first meeting, start at the beginning.
Generally, a solo presentation of the entire opportunity by the chief executive is best for the first meeting. You won’t need your functional managers on hand if you stay focused the big picture
The personal contact of an informal discussion is effective in building rapport with an investor, while a brief programmed presentation can also help to convey data and illustrate the business opportunity.
Insisting on a signed confidentiality agreement can be an impediment to trust and obtaining financing.
In a future meeting it may be appropriate to request a confidentiality agreement in order to protect a well-defined secret such as a chemical formula. Or, you may need a secrecy agreement to avoid public disclosure of an invention in order to maintain patent potential.
It is premature at the first meeting for you to bring up financing or sale terms or price. Rather, speak in general terms and indicate flexibility if price and terms are requested by the investor. But, be confident in your assessment of financial needs and the use of financing proceeds.
State your goals for the company. Discuss the obstacles you face and your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Specify how you will utilize the proceeds of the financing.
philosophies about management and control; industry preferences; related investments; source of capital; exit objectives?
Discuss a decision process with tentative milestones and dates.
Don’t expect an instant response and thorough analysis from the investor. However, most experienced investors will usually provide some initial feedback before ending the meeting.
For more information, contact our team of industry experts at Impact Capital Group