Recently I read an article talking about why female founders are getting nowhere in their attempts to raise funds. It seemed to to imply that the problem was that many of the funders (90%) were male, and because they were male they were unable (or even unwilling) to understand why they should invest in a woman leader, or product that is for the female marketplace. They just did not understand the female marketplace.
I suggest that if the investment pitch had been presented in a way that they could understand, they may have invested.
Pitching To Raise Funds
I suggest that female leaders and founders need to learn how to make investment pitches. If the person in front of you is male and is going to invest in your company, you need to understand what makes them excited, interested and willing to ask more questions. I’m not suggesting that you become male, but think like an investor. Since the majority of them currently are male, with a certain focus and training about business, it’s important to adjust your fund raising pitch to that.
Understand that all investors are interested in the return on the investment and risk involved. Then build your pitch based upon the desire for that information. Give this person statistics that support your position and allay his fears. What’s the capital cost, what is the size of the market place, what is the potential of return, how long before the return occurs? Give them the financial information and statistics they crave. This is not a conversation. It’s not primarily about building trust and rapport – it is definitely about intriguing and involving them in the way that “they think” – speak their language!
Your Research Is Key
When I am preparing a client to make a pitch, I do deep research into the potential investor. What are their investment tendencies – what firms have they invested in previously? What were the people like that they invested in? Only when I have built solid a profile on this individual (or company) do I start to build the pitch.
If you are a female founder pitching your idea to a predominantly male investment group, you must be prepared to think like them and to educate them about the size and the potential of the female marketplace. Many of them have no idea about the potential, or even that the majority of consumer purchasing decisions today are being made by women. A little education using facts and statistics from reliable sources here can turn your gender into a strength.
Don’t Try To Raise Funds Based On Feelings
While my client might be passionate about their idea and how good it is, the investor has none of those feelings. They may get them after they have invested, but when they first see the proposal and hear the business pitch, they have none of that. In fact, most are trained to keep feelings out of it.
They are in an analytical, probing mind set. They need reassurance that it will work on paper. Of course they do know that no plan goes as planned, but at this point, it’s what they have to go on. All of their focus is on the facts, cerebral, analytical and critical thinking, so there’s not much room for emotion.
Enthusiam And Rapport Aren’t As Important In Investment Pitches
When I have coached female business people, the biggest challenge for me is getting them to understand that they are pitching to analytical and critical thinking investors. Pften they believe that if they tell a good story in an attractive way, it will work, and they will get the investment they desire. Rarely do they stick to the numbers, focus on the facts and offer full financial projections.
I suggest this behavior is probably a natural result of socialization of the sexes. It has nothing to do with talent and ability and leadership. Many males are socialized within the business community to look at the numbers first, the idea second and then the leadership involved. It is not about possibility thinking for them. Responding positively to a pitch to raise funds is about practical financial results and that’s it!
Don’t Expect The Investor To Change – Change Your Pitch
That is why you will hear the comment that they have “missed a great opportunity” because of the fact that they are narrow minded and have a narrow way of looking at investing. Even if this IS the mindset of the investor, you will not get them to change overnight. If you’re going to make your pitch successful and raise funds, you need to satisfy that part of their needs. Then and only then can you sell them your dream – your large vision.
This is why female offenders are getting nowhere with their investment pitches to try to raise funds.