The Beginner Startup Owner’s Guide To Talking with Investors

As fresh-faced startup owner making their way into the business scene, talking with seasoned executives and investors can be intimidating. However, schmoozing with lenders is a must-have skill for those looking to make it big in the startup scene.

For those with little experience, chatting with investors may feel like learning to speak a different language, as high-ranking executives often have years of experience and lingo at the ready. Fortunately, you can crack the code with a little bit of preparation and research.

So, if you’re looking to pitch to investors, read on for a handy how-to guide ripe with tips on standing out amongst the crowd.

What to talk about during your pitch to the investors

When heading into a meeting with investors as a freelancer, you need to come prepared with a strong, attention-grabbing pitch. Lenders and executives meet with herds of prospects, so finding a way to eclipse the competition is a must.

Have a forecast ready

Before you dive into a meeting, ensure you have a detailed forecast at the ready to bring investors into your vision and show them your projected plan. Make sure to highlight the length of the project, resources needed, and how you plan to implement their aid.

Ultimately, having a comprehensive business forecast, as explained by Divvy (, can help startup owners show off the potential value of their business model to investors.

Give your elevator pitch

When you go into a meeting with investors, you will have a set amount of time to pitch your idea. Typically appointments are limited to avoid wasted time, so you’ll need to have a fool-proof elevator pitch ready to grab their attention early on.

A coherent elevator pitch should explain the problem, solution, and core value you’ll provide to the investors in around 30 seconds. That way, you can keep investors from spacing out during the meat of your presentation by drawing them in initially.

Learn how to tell a story

As a startup owner, you need to be able to tell a story. Though it may sound strange, part of networking and garnering support is your ability to outline your plans in an impactful, comprehensive way.

Though you should add flair to your roadmap, try not to stray too far from the main objectives by going off on pointless tangents or digging too deep too quickly.

While describing the project and painting a clear picture, cover all your bases and clearly state critical details. Though your elevator pitch can act as an introduction and bait, the bulk of your story should focus on information relevant to an investor.

Provide numbers, projections, and data that show what you need and why it benefits the investors.

Be clear on how much money you need as an investment

When meeting with investors, the topic will inevitably land on money—and you need to be ready to tackle finances reasonably and confidently. Before you go in, think long and hard about your actual financial needs. That way, you can avoid beating around the bush when it comes time to settle on a price.

Avoid statements like, “I’ll take as much as you can give me.” All this does is tell investors you’re ill-prepared regarding your financial needs. Or, they may see hesitation as a lack of confidence and write you off before you have a chance to prove your worth.

Instead, remain direct, outline your financial needs, and prepare to negotiate if the time comes.

Discuss the potential of your business

Putting money into a new business will not likely pay immediate dividends to investors. They know that, and as a result, you should not try to pitch profits in the first month of business. Instead, talk about the market potential for your new company or project.

Discuss the current and future market of the product you’re selling, and address the market size. Keep in mind that investors are unlikely to be interested in small numbers. You shouldn’t lie, but give them the numbers on the upper end of your projections.

Be honest about potential risks

Those with experience in business and financial sectors understand that investment is not without risk. As a result, investors will ask about the dangers of your project or business during your pitch. You should be ready to answer all questions they have in this area.

For example, they may ask about legal, technological, political, and liability risks, so make sure you understand the ins and outs of your project. That said, steer clear of worst-case scenarios—simply outline reasonable risks and remain upfront with potential partners.

Describe your marketing strategy

If your business or project is going to be successful, you’ll need an effective marketing plan. New ideas are exciting but mean nothing if you cannot correctly market and sell them.

As a result, you need to outline how you’ll take your product to market, how customers will find you, and how you will attract new clients. You should describe your strategy in all three areas to potential investors.

Do not avoid difficult questions

There will be a time during your pitch meeting when difficult-to-answer questions may pop up, leaving you feeling unprepared or on edge. When that happens, you may feel tempted to talk around the question without answering it. Doing so will lose some of the confidence you have built up with the investors throughout the meeting.

Instead, display confidence by answering tough questions without hesitation, even if it means getting back to them at a later date with additional information.

Follow up after the interview

You should follow up with a thank-you note a few days after your pitch. Doing so shows you are grateful for the opportunity. Additionally, it keeps you in the investor’s minds days after the meeting.

Final thoughts

Making a pitch to investors for a project or business can be stressful. After all, you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position, so it is easy to lack confidence. However, it’s crucial to maintain a strong voice and pitch your product confidently to make an impact on potential investors.