LoudounPreneur entrepreneurial newsletter
 Information for the Innovative, Enterprising and Brave
September 2014

Eight Ways to Get Investors to Say Yes

You need funding.  An investor has said "yes" to a meeting. Now, how do you get them to say "yes" to your pitch? Here are eight secrets to successful pitching, according to national business experts featured in USA Today, CNBC, the Huffington Post, and other sources.


1.     Know That You Have Less Than Three Minutes -- in Fact, Around 30 Seconds.

New York-based business strategist Geri Stengel reveals that investors make their decision about your pitch within 30 seconds. Goldman Sachs says your pitch should only take three minutes max.  You need to get to the point quickly. Figure out what's most compelling about your product or service and say it in the shortest amount of time, with passion.


2.     Sell Yourself.

Investors have to believe in you. They want to know that you have the expertise and perseverance to make your business succeed. Tell them why you're a good risk.


3.     Don't Rely on a Power Point.

There's a reason why TV shows like "Shark Tank" don't allow contestants to use Power Point: it's too easy to create a presentation that's dense and boring. Your goal should be to engage investors with a passionate dialog about your business.


4.     Do Your Homework.

Know who's sitting in front of you. What is she interested in? What other ventures has he backed? Know as much as you can about your potential investors before you step into the room.


5.     Solve a Problem.

What specific problem do you solve? For example, if you're selling a new type of drill, understand that your customers don't really want a drill. What they really want is to make holes in wooden boards. Be able to tell investors exactly what problem your service solves.


6.     Know the Facts.

What are your competitors doing? How will you compete against them? What is the research that supports your performance projections? Give investors solid reasons for confidence in you and your team.


7.     Practice, Practice, Practice!

What's the one question you hope investors won't ask? Know the answer to that question in advance, and practice explaining it calmly and clearly. Rehearse your whole presentation over and over so that when you're in front of investors, you'll be relaxed and confident.


8.     Ask for What You Want.

A vague request will get vague results. End your presentation with a strong, specific request. Ask for the funding range you need, and explain exactly how you'll use it to accomplish a return on their investment.


Do you have a story to tell about a successful pitch? Send it to us for possible publication in our newsletter or blog: LoudounBiz@Loudoun.gov.

Get Up to Speed in One Minute

Loudoun SourceLink is a website designed to help Loudoun business owners and entrepreneurs connect to the nonprofit and government resources you need. You'll also find a startup checklist, a calendar of networking opportunities, funding information, and articles full of useful business tips. This short video will give you a quick overview.

Events and Training

The Agile Mindset: How to Keep Your Company Lean and Nimble

Learn how to use a five-step approach pioneered by software developers to bring high quality products to market quicker.

Date:     September 17, 2014

Time:     5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Place:    Lost Rhino, 21730 Red Rum Drive, Ashburn

Cost:      Free; register online


Driving Business Results With Other People's Content

Content marketing promotes your brand and generates sales leads. Mark Amtower, host of a Federal News Radio show, will reveal how to get results by sharing other people's content on social media.

Date:     September 19, 2014

Time:     7:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Place:    ICF International, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax

Cost:      $45, register online


Small Business and Entrepreneur Networking Event

The Northern Virginia Technology Council's Small Business and Entrepreneur Committee invites you to discover future business partners and grow your company in a relaxed atmosphere.

Date:     September 22, 2014

Time:     6 - 8 p.m.

Place:    Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar, 1934 Old Gallows Road, Vienna

Cost:      $10 NVTC members; $20 nonmembers. Register online.


Mid-Atlantic Small Business Summit

The Turkish American Business Network will host business owners from across the region for three workshops followed by a reception and dinner. Topics include how to raise funding and how to get government contracts.

Date:     September 30, 2014

Time:     3 - 9 p.m.

Place:    Marriott Hotel, 3111 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church

Cost:      $100; register online


1 Million Cups

Join us for six-minute presentations from Loudoun business owners. Engage in peer mentoring by giving the presenter the benefit of your knowledge and experience in resolving business issues and making companies grow.

Date:     September 10, 17 and 24, 2014

Time:     9 - 10 a.m.        

Place:    Mason Enterprise Center, 202 Church Street SE, Leesburg

Cost:      Free


Start Your Business

Learn the steps for starting a business and the potential sources for funding.

Date:     September 11, 2014

Time:     11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Place:    Loudoun Small Business Development Center, 202 Church Street SE, Leesburg

Cost:      $10 online; $15 at the door


Tech Breakfast

Network and learn as four innovative companies make showcase-style presentations to techies, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs.

Date:     October 1, 2014

Time:     8 - 10 a.m.

Place:    AOL, 22000 AOL Way, Dulles

Cost:      Free; register online

Read It and Reap

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso

This former dumpster-diver began her $100 million online retail empire by selling vintage clothes on eBay during her boring day job. Now, using wisdom sprung from her unconventional, rags-to-riches beginning, Amoruso brings #GirlBoss to entrepreneurs hacking the winding, treacherous path to success. With frank observations, bold wake-up calls, and firsthand behind-the-scenes stories, #Girlboss proves that what matters is to trust your gut and go with your instincts. Amoruso's meteoric rise has been touted by Forbes, Fortune and the Wall Street Journal. To learn from the success - and failures - of Nasty Gal's CEO, check this book out from the Loudoun County Public Library. 

Gut Check From a Guru

"We trusted our instincts, and stuck to the two tenets of my philosophy: Sell things for more than you pay for them, and save more than you spend. Simple, yes, but that is the philosophy that ultimately led to a really big business." -- Sophia Amoruso

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Loudoun Economic Development DC's Technology Corridor 
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