It seems kind of unfair. When you’re a kid in school, they start by teaching you simple things, and they let you practice for a while until you have those down. Then they add onto those simple things, and your education builds. While the lessons get tougher, they don’t get so hard that you can’t do them. They come at a pace you can keep up with. Then you get out into the real world, and you have a great idea for a business. You have to figure out how to do everything at once, and one of the hardest parts, presenting to investors, comes almost at the very beginning.

Fortunately, once you’ve built your business model, written your business plan, and made it through your presentation for your investors, things actually do get a little easier. For a lot of entrepreneurs, though, getting over this first hurdle is the worst part of starting a business. After all, without any real experience and nothing to show but your research, projections, and maybe a prototype, how do you expect to impress investors who’ve been around the block more than a few times?

Actually, if you have a good idea and some confidence, you just need to do your homework, and you’ll be ready to impress just about any Shark on Shark Tank or any other investors. All you have to do is build the confidence to stand up and tell them what you want, why, and how it’ll help them. It sounds simple, but I know it’s harder than it seems. So here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks for getting the confidence you need to wow your investors.

DO LOTS OF RESEARCH

Want to be successful in a meeting with investors? Get prepared. In fact, get overprepared. Do so much research on your market, competition, and industry that you have information coming out of your ears. The more you know, the more easily answers will come to you when potential investors ask questions about your business, products, and services. Nothing in the world is better for confidence than knowing your stuff.

That said, don’t delay talking to investors too long. Set yourself a deadline for doing your research and writing your business plan, and stick to it. By the time you reach your deadline, you should be an expert on your niche, and another week of studying won’t help you.

PRACTICE TALKING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS 

Whether it’s with friends, family, coworkers, or strangers, get in the habit of talking to people about your idea and your business. Doing this will help you in a couple of ways. It’ll give you a chance to get comfortable talking about the things you’ve learned, and it’ll help you see flaws and weaknesses in the way you describe your business plan, your products, and any other details about your idea. When you find these flaws, you can figure out better ways to describe and present your business that’ll go over better with your investors.

WRITE YOUR PRESENTATION AND PRACTICE IT

Finally, don’t try to wing it with your presentation. You’ll feel nervous, and you won’t have a good plan to cover all of your points. When you sit down to write your presentation, brainstorm all of the most important points and arrange them in an outline. Then fill in the outline until you have a good presentation written. After that, practice in front of a mirror and in front of friends and family. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel and the more professional you’ll look when you talk with your investors.

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