Better known as one of the ‘sharks’ on Channel 10’s business investment pitch show Shark Tank, Steve Baxter told My Business that there are some basic dos and don’ts when pitching to investors for funds.
“I’ve got to believe in the person, and I’ve got to like them for a start – I’ve got to believe that they’re fundamentally honest because I’m going to be investing money in them,” explains Steve.
“I’ve got to believe in their skills and make sure they have a problem that is big enough and juicy enough that people will pay to have solved, and then the last thing to look at is the idea. So there’s a long list, but it’s people down.”
When asked as to whether he would invest in someone with a strong business or innovative idea but who has poor presentation skills, Steve is blunt in his response.
“If you can’t actually sell your idea – and when you’re pitching a business for investment, you are selling an idea, you are selling equity. If you can’t sell that properly … then you don’t deserve to go anywhere,” he says.
“If you don’t interact with people, it will always hold you back! Fair or not, it doesn’t matter. The only people that care about fairness are the federal opposition [of the day]. Life isn’t fundamentally fair,” he says.
Steve’s assessment demonstrates the value not just in having your business plan and documentation in order for an investment pitch, but in practising your people skills – how you present, your ability to respond to questions (both foreseen and unforeseen), your honesty and integrity, as well as the basics of your handshake, smile and eye contact.
However, even with all of this down pat, finding success ultimately rests in finding the right investor for your business. So if someone says no, it could mean nothing more than that person is simply not the right fit for you and your business.