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How to Become Unstoppable When Pitching to Investors

Got an idea? Well, there’s a plethora of money available from angel investors, venture capitalists, and other funders who are willing and ready to support your endeavors. All you have to do is package your products or services in such a compelling way that investors flock to your idea.

That’s exactly what happened during the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Scale-Up Pitch Competition sponsored by FedEx. Ten NBMBAA semi-finalists were selected to pitch their idea to a panel of judges at the 40th Anniversary Conference in Detroit that was held from Sept. 25-29. The competition was quickly narrowed down to three finalists who shared their revolutionary ideas in the entertainment, food, and housing industry.

Kwame Boler, the co-founder and CEO at NEU Inc. won the competition and walked away with the Grand Prize of $50,000. During an interview with Boler, he spoke about his preparation techniques and the requirements of a first-time founder.

Do you want more insight to get you started on the road to pitching success? Here are top tips from founders who attended the NBMBAA Conference:

Communicate with Confidence

If you want to prove your competence, you have to communicate with confidence. Eliminate the killer filler words such as ah, ya know, so, and hmmmm and replace it with clear and concise words that clearly communicate your value proposition. Pay attention to your non-verbal cues such as eye contact, body posture, and hand gestures because they can overpower your words if you are not intentional.

Ready to take your communication skills to the next level? Find a speaking coach or mentor who can help you take your communication skills to the next level.

Share Your Vision in Simplest Terms

“Not everyone is going to get it, and when they don’t; that means your pitch is wrong. Dumb it down so that a 5th grader can explain it to a friend,” says C.J. Mitchell, Co-founder of and 3rd place winner of the 2018 NBMBAA Scale Up Pitch Competition. “Try pitching to 10-year-olds to see if they can understand your business and the problem you’re solving. If they can’t… you’re doing it wrong.”

Become a Market Expert

“One of the most important things we can do when starting a business is to look around and see what the market wants and what the market needs,” says Tamira Chapman, leading attorney and entrepreneur in Detroit who led the breakout session titled Tech & Innovation – Big Data: Algorithms vs. Human Analysis at the NBMBAA Conference. “If you start off in an area where you are providing products that are already in demand to a group of people that want them, that gives you capital, access to opportunity, and momentum to put out something later that you may have had in your heart. We’ve got to start off smart first.”

Know Your Numbers

Investors want to know about the market opportunity and profit potential for your idea. Do you have an expense budget? What is your sales forecast? Do you have a cash flow statement, balance sheet, and profit and loss statement?  If you can’t effectively communicate your financial future, you’ve already wasted your time.

Think about it. Would you invest in something that doesn’t have a positive financial outlook? Investors aren’t in the business of losing money. They want to see a sizable return on their investment. Work with an experienced CPA who can help you communicate the numbers with ease and confidence.

Ask for Advice

“You’re going to have to work two to three times as hard to prove and validate that you’re credible,” says Boler. He recommends that first-time founders start the conversation with investors at the idea stage and build relationships. “There’s a growing mantra that’s quite prevalent within this industry, which is that if you ask for money, you’ll get advice. And if you ask for advice, you’ll get money. So be sure to do the latter.”

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About Charlene Rhinehart, CPA

Charlene Rhinehart is a Certified Public Accountant, Founder of Wealthy Women Daily, and Editor-in-Chief of the Dividend InvestHer and The Wealthy Woman Investor. Charlene is currently the Chair of the Illinois CPA Society Taxation Individual Committee. With over a decade of experience in the financial services industry, Charlene is one of the few leaders who design insights specifically for the woman investor. Charlene’s work has been featured in a variety of publications including the Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In 2019, Charlene released her book “Dividends Are a Queen’s Best Friend”, on Amazon.

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