20 Essential Steps For New Entrepreneurs Preparing A Funding Pitch

Expert Panel® Forbes Coaches Council

Launching a new business venture is an exciting journey, but success often hinges on securing essential funding. For budding entrepreneurs who are gearing up to pitch their ideas to potential investors, meticulous preparation is key.

Below, Forbes Coaches Council members recommend 20 steps new business owners can take to enhance their pitch and increase their chances of securing the financial backing needed to bring their vision to life. From crafting a compelling narrative to understanding the market, these actionable tips will help entrepreneurs fundraise with confidence.

1. Use Personality And Showmanship To Connect

Think about your audience; you are here to change how they think and how they feel. Do this with all the “rizz” you have in you; razzle-dazzle them and change their state of mind. Leaders forget that leadership is showmanship—it’s how people can connect with you and your vision. When people truly connect to your vision, to your personality, they give you their all. You are here to change them. – Mark Antoine, Inspired Keynotes

2. Ask For Mentor Feedback

Before high-stakes funding pitches, have mentors check to see if an entrepreneur’s passion shows deep resilience versus superficial swagger. Do they show perseverance, tenacity and stamina? Mentors can help confirm whether you have these nonnegotiable attributes and are truly ready to lead the charge without the hidden doubt that cautious investors can sense in unsure leaders. – Devika Das, CORE Executive Presence

3. Emphasize The Return On Investment

New entrepreneurs are most excited about the project or product they have developed and the value it can bring to the world. They often neglect the business case for the proposition. Investors are interested in one thing: return on investment. This should be at the forefront of the conversation. – Susan Jordan, MBA, MSODL, PCC, Sphereshift Coaching and Consulting

4. Use A Pitch Deck You’ve Gotten Feedback On

The preparation for pitching requires a carefully thought-through pitch deck that you have gotten feedback on. You need to be able to show that you are solving a problem in the world, how you intend to solve it, what experiments you’ve already done to prove your business case and how you intend to spend the investment if it’s granted. Last but not least, prepare to pitch from the heart—many times! – Pernille Brun, Session

5. Take The Perspective Of The Investor

Take the perspective of those to whom you’re pitching, rather than pushing your perspective. Why would a reasonable person be excited by the proposal? Why would a reasonable person have doubts? And can you acknowledge and address those doubts? – Dr. Joel M. Rothaizer, MCC, ABPP, Clear Impact Consulting Group

6. Define Your Win

Know what outcomes you want from your pitch so you can keep the conversation on course. Your audience already has what they need—you don’t. It’s your responsibility, and yours alone, to know when the conversation or presentation is drifting off course and make corrections. – Erica McCurdy, McCurdy Solutions Group LLC

7. Know Your Numbers

Investors are interested in how much you make, what your margins are, how much capital you need and what you are going to do with that capital. Ideas are great. Numbers and an action orientation are better. As a small-business and entrepreneurial investor, if an entrepreneur does not know their numbers, I walk away. When they don’t talk about action, I walk away faster. – Dennis Volpe, LRI

8. Understand That You’re Not Pitching In Isolation

Understand that you are not pitching your business and idea in isolation. You are pitching amid many competing investment options. Therefore, the current business climate, interest rates and other companies competing for funding all factor into whether the funder finds your alternative attractive. Timing can often play a large role in your success. – Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, LLC

9. Clearly Articulate Your UVP

Focus on clearly articulating your unique value proposition. Highlight what sets your business apart and how you solve a problem, demonstrating both passion and a deep understanding of your market. – Michelle Maree, The Nomad Escape

10. Display Your Level Of Commitment And Sacrifice

To attract investors, it’s crucial to display commitment and sacrifice. Many new entrepreneurs arrive with a flashy pitch, minimal market feedback and hopes of a comfortable salary post-funding. Investors seek grit—those ready to sacrifice, work relentlessly and hunger for success daily. – Tawn Albright, Bowstring

11. Pitch What Investors Want To Hear

Don’t pitch what you think is interesting; pitch what an investor wants to hear. Why this idea? Why you and the team? Why is now the right moment to invest? – Michele Cohen, Lead to Growth Coaching

12. Build Materials For All Stages Of The Investor Pipeline

To prepare for a business funding pitch, the entrepreneur should think of the pitch as a collection of materials, not just a pitch deck. Building and telling a story through a pitch is the wrong way to approach it—some want the punchline, while others want a lengthy written plan or presentation. Accordingly, build materials that are effective for all stages of the investor pipeline. – Ben Levitan, Cedalion Partners

13. Know Your Data Inside And Out

Know your data and numbers. Venture capitalists are pitched to all the time, and their role is to discern the good ideas from the bad. Show you’ve done your homework by knowing all of your numbers inside and out. Know your profitability, cost per customer, margins, market size, addressable audience, and more. Data shows you know your stuff. – Krista Neher, Boot Camp Digital

14. Know Your Audience

One crucial tip for newbies getting ready to pitch their venture: Know your audience. Seriously, do your homework about who you’re pitching to. Understand their interests, investment history and how your business can align with their goals. It’s not just about telling your story; it’s about making it relevant to them. – Peter Boolkah, The Transition Guy

15. Craft A Story That Makes Your Business Stand Out

Start by asking, “How thoroughly do I understand and articulate my unique value proposition?” Craft a compelling story that makes your business stand out, showcasing how it uniquely solves a pressing problem in the market. This narrative should ignite the imagination of potential investors, leaving them confident in the extraordinary potential of your venture. – Alla Adam, Alla Adam Coaching

16. Align Your Pitch With The Needs Of Potential Investors

Aspiring entrepreneurs must thoroughly research and understand their target audience. By aligning their pitch with the needs and interests of potential investors, they can effectively communicate the value proposition and demonstrate a solid business plan. Remember, preparation and relevance are key to securing business funding. – Jonathan H. Westover, Ph.D, Human Capital Innovations

17. Show How Your Proposition Capitalizes On Trends

I would advise new entrepreneurs preparing a pitch for business funding to focus on demonstrating the relevance of their business to emerging trends. Today, investors are particularly keen on businesses that are not only viable, but also adaptive to future changes and disruptions. Entrepreneurs should demonstrate how their proposition capitalizes on these trends in terms of products and services. – Thomas Lim, Thrive Consulting Pte Ltd

18. Keep Your Ancillary Materials Neat And Polished

Get your ancillary materials together in a very professional way. Founders and entrepreneurs need to have their pitch, pitch deck and PowerPoints tightly wound and their marketing materials polished. This does not take the place of “the numbers” and the justification for funding, but sloppy presentations can lead people who can help to believe that other things are not together. Sharpen all saws. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

19. Be Sure To Have Something People Want

Perform market research; have social proof of the business concept and an understanding of what your data says about how well you will perform in the bigger market. This means knowing where your funding request will help you have a greater impact and the “why” behind your desire to scale. Lastly, have a contingency plan for a pivot if required by shifts in the industry. – Ariel McGrew, Tactful Disruption®

20. Show Why You’re The Right Person To Make The Idea A Reality

Deeply understand your audience to tailor your presentation to align with the interests, priorities and concerns of potential investors. This means demonstrating a clear understanding of the market, a well-thought-out business model and a feasible plan for scalability and profitability. Showing them not just why the idea is exceptional, but also why you are the right person to make it a reality. – Lital Marom, LITAL MAROM