Freddie Achom is a British-Nigerian serial investor and tech entrepreneur with offices in London and New York. We caught up with him recently, and he shared some tips for business owners on how to throw the perfect pitch to investors.
As CEO founder of Rosemont Group Capital Partners, Achom, who is 44, specializes in early stage investment. As such, he knows a thing or two about what makes for a perfect pitch.
He operates in a wide range of luxury, energy, and emerging technology companies. His investments span markets across Europe, South America, East Asia and Africa.
Here is what Freddie Achom had to say about making the perfect pitch:
Pitching Is Never Easy
Pitching is never easy. However, getting it right first time could make the difference between your business idea taking flight—or falling flat. In order to give the perfect pitch, you must be sharp and concise. You must demonstrate the depth of your knowledge about your industry and your business.
Develop Your Perfect Pitch by Asking Yourself These Questions
- Do I have a deep understanding of the user problem I am attempting to solve?
- Who am I, and why do I care?
- Can I explain clearly and succinctly my unique and compelling value proposition?
- Do I understand the landscape of what is out there?
- Do I have a way of distributing my solution effectively, positioning it for my target customer?
- Why my customers should care? Is my solution better for them than anything else on the market?
- If and or when other businesses follow suit, what are the barriers to entry? In other words, what are my economic moats (as popularized by Warren Buffet)?
Once you have considered these questions, frame your ideas for your perfect pitch in light of your answers to them.
Death by PowerPoint? No Thanks!
Ditch the slick slides. Investors are only interested in your robust business plan.
In the past, we have made decisions to invest in entrepreneurs whose ambition, passion, and depth of understanding come through crystal-clear in conversation. In other words, without relying on fancy slides, they were able to share with us their compelling vision of an opportunity no one but them had seen before.
A solid business plan will help you to structure the conversation for your perfect pitch. It will enable you to spread knowledge only you are privy to. And you won’t need to have the same conversation repeatedly.
Most importantly, a robust business plan will clarify your own thinking as a leader. What’s more, it is a great way to get your team on the same page with you. Believe me, you’ll need them to share a singular vision for your company with you. You’ll want them to have a stake in your plan for execution.
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What Are Your Plans for Growth?
Each stage of building a company carries different risks. For example, the initial stage requires hyper focus. Development and delivery require different qualities. And defining the product-market fit calls for yet others. Finally, you’ll need to figure out how to grow your customer base efficiently and consistently.
Once you have your growth formula, you could fall prey to the danger of pushing faster than you can manage. This is natural, as you’ll feel impatient to achieve market leadership and establish a defensible higher-ground position.
If your customer base grows, you’ll need to be agile enough to respond to success. This scenario requires building a company that can support its own growth . You’ll need an executive team composed of leaders then, and an organization that can operate and adapt effectively. At this point the founder will need to step back and learn to operate in a more hands-off fashion. It will no longer be feasible for the founder to drive every decision.
What Is Your Strategy for Distribution and Customer Acquisition?
Your product might be amazing. However, without a solid distribution and customer acquisition strategy you’re unlikely to attract investment.
The transformative developments over the past two decades—the Internet and the extraordinary rise in the use of mobile technologies—represent new forms of distribution.
Many of today’s Internet and enterprise giants are difficult to attack. That’s because of their distribution and reach to the customer, not because other, newer engineering teams cannot build something better.
However, if you are thoughtful about distribution, you’ll immediately gain our confidence. Then we can begin to talk seriously about investment.
We Aim to Inspire the Next Generation
I grew up believing that I could set up my own business, that I could aim high and achieve. I never felt I had a limit, and I could see my future.
That was my normal, but sadly I know that it isn’t the same for everyone.
A lot of young people, especially those from less privileged backgrounds, feel cut off from the business world. However, that shouldn’t be the case.
The Rosemont Foundation tries to bridge that gap. There is still a lot of work to do to level the playing field. However, I like working with people, with new talent, helping people to develop and realize their potential.
Self-belief and aspiration are both very important. We need to help young people develop both of these qualities.
When I see people on the TV show Dragons’ Den sharing ideas, I notice that they often have great ideas that they’ve developed while working for someone else.
I think it’s sad that they haven’t been able to share this within their current role, to access or implement that creativity as an employee. Unfortunately, though, most people are living somebody else’s dream. They often need a push to jump out on their own.
Yes, there’s a lot of heartache and stress that come with setting up your own business. However, it can be extremely satisfying, too. We need to flag that, to promote that positivity and its potential benefits.