Tailor your Pitch
Before entering the Dragons’ Den we had some Angel investors onboard. We had the experience of pitching many times.
We’d developed different pitches to match to the investor. There is a common perception that all investors are the same – a generic investor who simply wants ROI.
Whilst they certainly aren’t going to throw money away, investors have different interests. Different things that excite them.
We created different pitches for Crowd funding, Institutional Investors, Angels and so on.
For most investors the investment is not life changing, they have enough money already. They are looking for something more than ROI. It must appeal, have an element of excitement and fun.
Research the individual investors in advance and finding out what will appeal, then adjust your pitch. Look at the other businesses the investor has backed. Look if you have synergies with those, look at what is was about those business that appealed to the investor.
Our Dragons’ Den pitch focused on three things:
- Disruption. The consumer champion against an unfair monopoly. The David vs Goliath story.
- Sustainability. An ethical business that want to look after the environment.
- Better value. Providing graduates with a choice and saving them money
We tailored our message to the Dragons.
Stand your Ground (sometimes)
Know when to stand your ground and when to show flexibility. It’s a delicate balance and you need to be pragmatic.
Before the pitch be clear on what you stand for and believe in. Don’t rollover or pander to every investor comment.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing the investor knows your business better than you and simply agree to everything they suggest. They certainly have a wealth of experience and knowledge you won’t have.
But on some issues, you are better to stand your ground. For example, our name, Churchill Gowns and black & gold branding is very premium and traditional. We had some push back that we appeared to be positioned to look like the existing brands we are disrupting.
One investor thought we should change our branding to be fresh, new and fun. We stood our ground. Whilst we are a new fresh approach, we wanted to be respectful of the age-old tradition of the graduation ceremony. To be credible to our customers we needed to show respect of that tradition.
We still got investment even when we stood our ground. We had a clear vision and strong answer to the question. Be prepared for the questions you might get and have great answers ready.
Know who you are and be true
Gone are the days of business that are simply there to make a profit. Business needs an ideology and social conscience.
Customers are expecting more from brands. Not just to provide a product or service but to use the brand and commercial influence for the greater good. Customers now support brands that take a stance on issues important them.
Important to us at Churchill Gowns is making our gowns from recycle materials. One investor asked if that increased materials cost – it does – they said we should dump recycling and increase margin. We didn’t agree. We see a bigger picture.
Before funding raising ensure you have clear identity. Investors want to know for what you stand.
Dragons’ Den Bonus
This is specific to Dragons’ Den.
Before going into the Den, we considered our two audiences. The investors and the viewers. The Den is a tremendous marketing opportunity with almost money can’t buy brand exposure.
We considered the pitch both for getting investment and to deliver the right message for viewers. We wanted to come across well to our potential customers even if we didn’t get investment.