Top 10 tips for cooking up an investment pitch
Anyone who knows me well is aware that I am something of a foodie. After living in Italy for a few years I came to love the way they approach family mealtimes and we do the same at home. It’s a time for conversation and debates and friends are always welcome.
As well as doing a lot of cooking, I also find myself drawn inescapably to culinary programmes on television.
The other night I was watching My Million Pound Menu on BBC 2. I suppose you could say it contains elements of Masterchef, Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice. Hosted by top maître d’hôtel Fred Sirieix, the show is billed as “a battle for investment between new restaurant ideas”.
The budding chefs are asked to cook their signature dish, pitch their concept and say how much of an investment they are looking for. Many of them are already in business in real life, something that usually consists of delighting a loyal bunch of followers from a street food van. By coming on this show, they are hoping to find a fast way to scale up.
The team of investors sample their dishes and collectively decide which has the most potential. The lucky winner gets to go to Manchester and run a 40-seater pop-up restaurant for a three-day trial and see if they can make a profit.
Obviously, being a marketing strategist as well as a foodie, this really appeals to me.
For most of the contestants, doing what they do best is the easier part. They usually make a good job of cooking and serving delicious food to appreciative diners. The problems arrive when they have to attend a meeting with their investors to go through their business plan.
As is often the case for people who have set up a business based around their talent or passion, they have no problem focusing on delivering to customers, sourcing ingredients and planning the next dish. Working in the business is the relatively easy and fun bit. What doesn’t come so naturally is working on the business.
It amazes me that the chefs, despite their lack of business knowledge and experience, often compile their own numbers and projections without consulting someone who can assist them in getting to the next level. They may be great at creating food, but it’s not so clever for them to be cooking up figures.
Are you planning to upscale your own business? If you are hoping to gain investment, are you taking the time to consult someone who has done this sort of thing before?
An outside view can be very valuable. Understanding where your weaknesses and gaps are will help in your expansion.
There are cases where an entrepreneur has asked for a million pounds for an idea on a back of a Post-It note and been successful. But such stories are few and far between and the odds are stacked against you.
The exercise can become expensive. But this doesn’t have to be the case if you focus on the important aspects.
Here are my top ten ingredients for putting together a delicious investment pitch:
- Think of this from a business objective. Create a team that are not just operational.
- Define your market and your differentiating characteristic.
- Make a plan of what “good” looks like.
- Define your perfect customer (this will change).
- Avoid the temptation to be over ambitious with your first step.
- Plan key milestones and costs
- Make sure everyone inside the business knows your elevator pitch. They should be able to explain the company they work for and why it is exceptional.
- Focus on no more than 3 entry points to market.
- Put together a budget with your projections.
- Create a communication plan aligned to your proposed brand and don’t be afraid to call for help.
Just remember: we’ve all had our disasters but having it planned out certainly makes it easier and reduces the risk of errors.
If you have a business and are serious about making a pitch for the investment in your next stage, it is worth talking to us at CC Limited. We have experience of this sort of thing, having helped put together successful plans in a number of different sectors. Plus, we have the commercial and creative talent in house to help with every aspect of your planning and communication.
Give me a call or send me a message. We can have a chat, perhaps set up a meeting. You might even end up being invited to one of our family dinners. There’s always a space free.