22 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching to Investors

Entrepreneurs have to pitch investors to raise financing. Numerous business owners from earlier stage companies make typical mistakes that could be prevented. Read below for some pointers on how to improve investor interest and increase the likelihood of funding.

The mistakes are classified as follows:

  • Mistakes to avoid when preparing financier outreach
  • Mistakes to prevent in your financier pitch deck
  • Mistakes to prevent during the discussion of the pitch

Mistakes to prevent when planning investor outreach

Error # 1: Sending your executive summary or business strategy unsolicited

While some investors are opening their procedure to cold outreach in reaction to leveling the racial and gender equality playing field, the majority still regularly do not check out unsolicited emails. They get hundreds, if not thousands, of such emails, and don’t have the time to sift through them to discover that diamond in the rough.

But what they will pay attention to is a referral from somebody in their network: a legal representative, an entrepreneur from one of their portfolio business, or a fellow investor. Ask your advisors that you deal with (e.g., your board of directors or a law office) to see if they have suggestions on financier recommendations and can use any direct introductions.

Mistake # 2: Not doing your homework on the financier– pitching your business without being clear that you remain in a space, phase, and location the financier has an interest in

Some investors only appreciate biotech or mobile apps; or the internet and digital media. Other financiers have required about the stage and/or geographical location of a business. Do your homework first before pitching to make sure your business is aligned with the financiers’ goals.

The very first location to look is financiers’ sites, which typically state the exact phase, sector, and the lace they buy. Other resources include PitchBook or CB Insights. If you were introduced to the investor, find out whatever you can about the firm and individual from the individual who made the recommendation.

Showing some awareness of an investor’s background and the business it has bought will facilitate the conversation, and likewise shows you have done some advance due diligence for the meeting.

Mistake # 3: Pitching your perfect financier first

Each time you pitch, you will gain important feedback that will enable you to further refine your deck and presentation. Start with “warm” or “friendly” investors first so you are well-positioned by the time you pitch a highly desirable financier. You need to be prepared to supply crisp responses to questions; and practicing will hone your actions and discussion.

Mistake # 4: Asking to have an NDA signed before sharing details

Most financiers have a policy not to sign non-disclosure arrangements. Why would you desire to put difficulty in the way of being able to get in touch with a financier? If you have something highly personal, don’t share it. As soon as you send a pitch deck, you ought to assume that it will be shared more broadly.

The purpose of a pitch deck is to generate interest between an investor and a company– not to supply a deep dive, which would typically occur throughout the diligence procedure. For your legal defense, put a copyright notification at the bottom of your pitch deck and add the phrase “Confidential and Private. All Rights Scheduled.”

Mistake # 5: Not having an effective and concise e-mail intro

Develop a thoughtful, short 4 to 5 sentence e-mail introduction that briefly sums up the business and encourages someone to open the pitch deck. The e-mail needs to not be overly technical, however rather convey why this is an amazing financial investment opportunity. Your consultants and others might utilize this blurb to help link you with pertinent investors.

Mistake # 6: Not taking a look at other pitch decks and executive summaries

Examining other pitch decks and executive summaries can assist you to improve your own. You can ask your legal representative, other entrepreneurs, or angel investor buddies for samples. Plenty is also offered online. See A Guide to Investor Pitch Decks for Start-up Fundraising.

Mistakes to avoid in your financier pitch deck

Mistake # 7: Having more than 15-20 slides in your deck and making it hard to see

You will have an hour at the majority of to make your pitch. So overloading your deck with too many slides will cut into the clarity of the presentation, and you will not have time to get to the slides at the end of your deck. If an investor is interested, you can constantly offer more comprehensive info later on.

The deck will in a lot of cases be seen on a mobile device or tablet. Having a file size of 5MB or smaller will make sure that any e-mail filters or cellular download constraints will not stop your deck from being seen. Also, do not make financiers go to Google Docs, Dropbox, or some other file sharing service to get the deck. Include it in the e-mail as a PDF file.

Mistake # 8: Not fully comprehending and articulating competitive landscape

A competitive landscape analysis ought to always belong to your discussion. Informing a VC that you have no competition likely says you are impractical or naive. Naturally, you have competitors, whether direct, indirect, or somebody who supplies a replacement service. And your analysis of your rivals will show a financier whether you have an understanding of the marketplace.

An investor will wish to know why your product or technology is much better than or different from what is currently out there. You can presume that they will understand about competitive items or technology, so you need to have an excellent response. For example, “We are different from Instagram in 3 essential ways: (1) we are simpler to utilize; (2) we have much better editing functions; and (3) we are generating income from earlier than Instagram had the ability to.”

Mistake # 9: Not describing traction or current consumers

Among the most essential things to relay are signs of early traction or consumers. If you have an app, investors desire to know the number of downloads you have and how numerous extra ones you are getting per week. Have you gotten any brand-name customers if you are a software application business? How can the early traction be accelerated? What has been the principal factor for the traction? Demonstrate how you can scale this early traction.

What betas/pilots/proof of principles do you have out there? This can have an excellent signaling impact.

Do not forget to convey any early buzz or press you have gotten, particularly from popular sites or publications. Feature the headings in a slide on your deck. List the variety of articles and publications discussing you.

Mistake # 10: Failing to highlight your team’s experience and credentials

Numerous financiers consider the group behind an early phase start-up more crucial than the idea or the product, specifically if the team includes a serial business owner. The financiers will want to understand that the group has the ideal set of abilities, drive, experience, and character to grow business. Investors wish to be revealed all of this, together with a passion to do something truly great and special. Expect these questions:

  • Who are the creators and essential employees?
  • What pertinent domain experience does the group have?
  • What secret additions to the team are required in the brief term?
  • Why is the team uniquely capable to perform the company’s business strategy?
  • How lots of workers do you have?
  • What inspires the founders?
  • How do you plan to scale the group in the next 12 months?
  • Who is on your board and why?

Mistakes to avoid throughout the discussion of the pitch

Mistake # 11: Not demonstrating why the market opportunity is big and can thrive in the current climate

Many financiers are searching for companies that can scale and end up being meaningful, especially in the current COVID, political, and economic climate. So make certain you resolve this problem right up front regarding why your company can end up being big. Don’t provide any little ideas. If the marketplace opportunity for your preliminary item is not large, then perhaps you require to place the business as a “platform” company, allowing for the future advancement of several items. Financiers wish to know the actual addressable market and what percentage of the marketplace you prepare to overcome time.

Mistake # 12: Showing boring or unrealistic projections and assessments

If you show projections for the business to end up being $5 million in earnings in 5 years, there will not be much interest. Financiers wish to purchase a company that can grow substantially and becomes an exciting organization. Alternatively, if you reveal projections where you are at $500 million in 3 years, that will be seen as impractical, specifically if you are at absolutely no earnings today. Avoid assumptions in your projections that will be tough to validate, such as how you will get to a 400% growth in profits with just a 20% development in operating and marketing costs.

The very same goes for appraisals. Typically, it’s finest not to go over assessment in a very first meeting, other than to say you expect to be reasonable on valuation.

Mistake # 13: Punting tough concerns

You have to expect challenging concerns. Telling a financier that you will return to them with an answer seldom leaves a good impression. If an investor is asking you questions, that’s a good sign that they are engaged. Do your best to respond to questions immediately. Don’t evade the difficult concerns or say you will get to them later in the discussion. Investors wish to see if you can believe in your feet. Anticipate getting interrupted during your presentation.

Mistake # 14: Not comprehending client acquisition costs and long-lasting value of the client

Investors will be interested in your understanding of consumer or user acquisition problems. What costs will you incur to obtain a consumer? What will be the most likely lifetime worth of the client? What channels will you use to acquire that user or client? What marketing expenses will you incur? What is the typical sales cycle between preliminary consumer contact and the closing of a sale? Not being gotten ready for those types of concerns will injure the understanding of how well you have considered your business strategy.

Mistake # 15: Not having the ability to articulate a meaningful marketing method

Even if you build something terrific doesn’t mean it’s going to offer or get user adoption. Discuss your plans to market your service or product. What outlets are you going to use? How can you cost-effectively get to potential clients? How will you utilize social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.? Will you do content marketing and put sponsored posts on websites like BusinessInsider.com, Forbes.com, and AllBusiness.com? Will you do online search engine marketing, and can you show it will be efficient? What steps will you take to get some fast sales or adoption of your offering?

Mistake # 16: Not presenting a demonstration

A demo deserves a thousand words. Program a prototype or working demo of your product, app, or site. This will offer investors a better sense of what you are trying to do. Make certain it works well and isn’t “buggy.” Impress the financier with its feel and look. When possible, consider consisting of a video/demo link in your deck.

Mistake # 17: Not comprehending the possible threats to business

Investors will wish to check what you see are the dangers to business. They want to comprehend your thought process and the mitigating preventative measures you prepare to take. Inevitably there are risks in any business plan, so be prepared to answer these concerns attentively:

  • What do you see are the primary risks to the business?
  • What legal dangers do you have?
  • What technology threats do you have?
  • Do you have any regulatory risks?
  • Are there any product liability threats?
  • What actions do you expect to alleviate such risks?
  • How does COVID-19 impact your organisation moving forward?

Mistake # 18: Not having the ability to explain the key assumptions in your forecasts

For an investor to believe your monetary projections, they will want you to articulate the crucial presumptions and persuade them they are sensible. If you can’t do that, they won’t feel you have a genuine handle on the company. Expect clever investors to press back on the numbers in the presumptions; they will desire you to offer a cogent, thoughtful reaction.

Mistake # 19: Not plainly articulating usage of funds and runway

Investors will absolutely wish to know how their capital will be invested and your proposed burn rate– (so that they can comprehend when you might require the next round of financing). It will likewise enable an investor to evaluate whether your fundraising strategies are sensibly offered your capital requirements. It will also allow them to see whether your estimate of expenses (e.g., for engineering skill, marketing expenses, or workplace area) is affordable, given their experiences with other companies.

Mistake # 20: Not highlighting your copyright

For many companies, their intellectual property will be essential to success. This holds true in numerous circumstances, but even more so for early-stage business. Investors will pay particular attention to your answers to these questions:

  • What secret copyright does the company have (patents, patents pending, copyrights, trade tricks, hallmarks, domain)?
  • What convenience do you have that the business’s copyright does not break the rights of a 3rd party?
  • How was the company’s copyright developed?
  • Would any prior companies of a group member have a prospective claim to the business’s intellectual property?
  • What actions are you requiring to safeguard your intellectual residential or commercial property?

Mistake # 21: Not explaining the service or product all right

You must plainly articulate what your item or service includes and why it is unique, so anticipate to get the following questions:

  • Why do users care about your service or product?
  • What are the major item milestones?
  • What are the crucial differentiated features of your item or service?
  • What have you discovered from early variations of the services or product?
  • What are the 2 or 3 key functions you prepare to include?
  • How frequently do you envision boosting or upgrading the services or products?


Mistake # 22: Stopping working to send out a personal thank you after the pitch meeting

Failure to send a thank-you note, or worse, sending out a generic note, is an error. Constantly send an authentic and customized thank-you note to each of the investors that you are satisfied.


Not all of these mistakes are fatal. As you practice and make more discussions with consultants and financiers, you will discover what they appreciate and what does not resonate with them. Make certain to adapt your pitch deck and presentation from these ideas.

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