Pitching to different groups requires a different focus.
Pitching to different groups (potential investors, interested buyers, or prospective customers) requires similar skills. However, the actual pitch requires a completely different focus and packaging. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to convey this difference to business owners who are consummate sales people. These sales-savvy owners insist they know what they’re doing and don’t need input on crafting an investor pitch, although they’ve never done one before. Then they pitch and do not get the feedback they anticipated. I do say, “I told you so!”, then I have them accompany me to an angel group presentation or to a venture conference.
Pitching to investors and prospective buyers is similar but different.
Pitching to investors and prospective buyers are the most similar. However, with investors, the focus is on what can your business do for them in the next 3-5 years and how you are positioned to do this. However, the focus for prospective buyers is on what have you done/accomplished in the past 2-3 years and how does that translate into the business being valuable enough without you to pay your price.
Both are interested in the management team.
Both investors and buyers are keenly interested in the management team; for investors, this includes you and any co-founders / co-owners. Both investors and buyers believe a great management team can take a ho-hum company and really make it valuable and that a mediocre management team can run a great company into the ground.
But differences remain.
For an investor, you and your team are the ones that will execute the strategy to achieve the company’s goals, which will drive the investor’s exit and the sought after return the investor seeks. In contrast, a buyer is betting on her ability or her team’s ability to execute. A buyer is also concerned that there is sufficient infrastructure to support that execution; that “infrastructure” includes any senior management who remains with the company after you sell it.
Remember. The focus for investors is on the following: management team, size of the market opportunity (i.e., Is the opportunity sufficiently large for the company to grow and produce the investor’s expected ROI?), accomplishments to date (i.e., proof of the ability to execute), and exit strategy (i.e., How will you monetize the investor’s return so he can extract it from the company?). The focus for buyers is on the following: non-ownership management team, market opportunity, past performance (revenue, profits, cash flow), and existing infrastructure.