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23rd March 2012
Deirdre Collins , #allaboutbusiness #all about business #allaboutbusiness.ie #bank of ireland #dee collins #dee’s wholefoods ltd #dragon’s den #niall o’farrell #farmer’s markets #veggie burgers #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #business start up #sme #own business
Lots of people ring me asking for advice on what to do when pitching to investors. The truth is, before I went on Dragon’s Den, I had not even stood up in a room and spoken about my business. You could say that I had no experience in pitching to investors, but what I did have experience in was my business. As a start-up business you are your brand. If you don’t 100% believe in what you are doing and 100% know who your customers are and why they will buy your product or service, you can forget about convincing anyone else to part with their cash.
1. Know who your customer is
Who buys your products and why. Can you describe them? What are they wearing? What are their interests and what goes on in their lives!
2. Prove this customer exists
One way to do this is to get your product, try and sell it and see if anyone will buy it. For food businesses the farmers markets are a great way to test this. You might not make a fortune but your customers will tell you what they want.
3. Know your figures
They don’t have to be pie in the sky projections; you will need to control growth at the very beginning as cash flow will more than likely be limited. Aim for something that you can realistically achieve.
4. Your product or service must be different
Why are you different? Does it really matter if you are or not? Do people care? You must have answers for these questions.
5. What is next? Where is the plan?
You must have thought about what comes afterwards. Seek help from people that know what they are doing accountants, mentors anybody you can gain advice from.
Protect yourself and your brand as much as possible in terms of trademarks and patents. Is is not expensive to register a trademark.
7. Know what you want from the investor
Is it just cash investment, is it mentoring – you need to press the Dragons on just what they can bring to the table too.