Are you ready to present your business idea to the wealthy investors on the Shark Tank? Just remember that the five successful Sharks sitting across from you (or Dragons in the UK, Lions in Finland, or the original Tigers in Japan) were once in your shoes, and have all learned where to look, and how to pitch, to secure funding for their entrepreneurial ideas.
Baybars Altuntas is a shark, or rather a dragon on the Turkish version of the reality TV show. He is also a successful entrepreneur, and as an Ambassador of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, a global think tank dedicated to entrepreneurship, he has contributed a chapter to the book Planet Entrepreneur, with advice on where to find potential investors, and how to pitch to them.
Not that he has always got it right himself. As with so many entrepreneurs, the learning curve can be steep, and he has his fair share of inspiring and funny stories. Back in the days before the Internet, for example, he tried to put together a list of franchise companies wanting to do business in Turkey. Pre-Google GOOG +1.75%, remember, you would have to turn to books for such information. So he used a book he found in an old bookshop and discovered later, when furious readers reacted, that it had been written in 1922 and all the franchises had long gone out of business!
1. Prepare yourself, not just your idea.
2. Capture the essentials.
3. Have a plan from day one.
4. Do your investor research
5. Take care of due diligence upfront
6. Negotiate a term sheet offer
Lack of experience can make this a very painful part of the whole project. You can go to the websites of the Angel Capital Association (ACA) or European Business Angels Network (EBAN) to learn more on this step.
7. Learn the vocabulary—it’s all there on the Internet.
Altunas suggests preparing four different presentations for the potential investor:
- Business plan of no more than 50 pages
- Business plan condensed into PowerPoint presentation of no more than 20 slides
- This Powerpoint should be condensed down to a 2-page brief
- A 5 minute elevator pitch
In Planet Entrepreneur, he then gives a list of 8 things that will turn OFF your investor, and points out that only 25% or propositions make it past the first phase. But on a hopeful note, he concludes by saying “It doesn’t matter if you are from the Americas, Europe, Asia, or Africa; the world is waiting for your good ideas.”
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