Published on August 5th, 2008 | by Leah Edwards2
How to Pitch Your Green Business to a Venture Capital Firm or Other Investor
In my last post I talked about the pitch-to-pitch, that is, how to even get a potential investor to listen to your pitch for funding your green business. In this post, I’m going to assume you have a good plan for networking and outreach to venture capital firms and/or angel investors. The next question is how to distill all of the supporting points for your tremendous chances for success into one paragraph or a brief conversation.
If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are living and breathing your new business or business idea, and everything seems important. And truly it all is. However, you need to step outside of all of that for a moment and extract a few uber-important points.
Look at your business from the point of view of a potential investor. The investor wants high returns with low risk. And if you are reading this blog, you probably have a green venture and will be reaching out to double-bottom line investors, so you need to have a forecast for an impressive environment impact as well.
Four Points to Fit into Your Green Business Elevator Pitch
High Financial Returns: You can’t go into your full financial model, so as a proxy you can talk about the revenue potential. Pick a year, not to far out in the future, when your business is forecasted to achieve impressive revenues for your industry.
Impressive Environmental Impact: Depending upon your green business, you might mention CO2 emissions reduction, reduced transportation, responsible sourcing, fair trade supplies–anything quantifiable, even if it is just a rough estimate.
Experience: If you or anyone on your team has direct experience, that is a great risk reducer. If you or someone on your team has started a successful company before, be sure to at least slip in “successful entrepreneur” into your elevator pitch. If there was an impressive exit, such as, “I sold my last company for X million dollars,” all the better.
Differentiation: Being able to fend off competition lowers the risk of your green business. What sets you apart from your competition, in three words or less? A patent? A cheaper supply source? A strategic partnership that helps you get visibility in your target market for less than the going advertising rates? You don’t need to explain your differentiation or substantiate it. For now, just say that there is one and what it is.
I don’t recommend sending your business plan or executive summary to any potential investor unless you have spoken to them first and are sure they would at least consider investing in your business. You can use your elevator pitch or a brief email touching on the four points above to test someone’s interest in your business or idea and then follow up with more details later.
Foto from freefoto.com.