Editor’s note: “The Angel Connection” is a regular feature in WRAL Local Tech Wire. LTW asked consultant Bill Warner to share advice for entrepreneurs seeking angel investors and/or venture capital investment. He is chairman of the Triangle Accredited Capital Forum, an angel investor network with over 100 members throughout the Southeast.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Like all good Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared!”

Having all your business plan material organized is not all you need to do. Being prepared for your audience and delivering your story effectively is equally important.

Size Up Your Audience

It is well worth your time to do some research on your audience. You should get a basic understanding of:

• The business they are in

• The role they play in their company

• Why they want to meet with you

If your audience is financiers, you need to understand:

• Their investment strategy and criteria

• Industry interest

• Technology interest

• Current portfolio

• Size and status of their fund

• Typical investment size

Be Prepared

All audiences are not the same. Customize your presentation to the needs of your audience. You need to cover all the basic material, but emphasis should be placed on the areas of most interest to your audience.

Have your story down to 10-15 minutes for most audiences. You can give a complete and compelling presentation in that amount of time. If your audience gives you more time, then you can always add material that is appropriate for them. Always leave about half your time for questions and discussion. The discussion time is need for you to get a commitment to proceed further.

Focus on Technique

• Practice your presentation, including with other business associates, to ensure your message is concisely delivered.

• Show your respect for the audience by finishing on time.

• Focus on explaining the business of your company, and not so much on the details of the product or service.

• Use economic, net and results oriented language. In other words, get to the point and don’t ramble endless on minor details.

• Be honestly positive about your company and its outlook. Express your points from the optimistic side.

• Be professionally enthusiastic, without disparaging anyone or any company.

• Let your energy and drive for success show. If you are dull, your audience will think you really are.

• Be engaging and use good eye contact and body language.

• Don’t preach or try to educate. Your audience may know more than you think.

• Dress appropriately for your audience.

• Answer questions directly and concisely (45 seconds).

If you use presentation material like PowerPoint, it should be professionally formatted and appropriately worded to complement the power of your presentation.


All said and done, success is measured by whether or not your audience trusts you and is willing to take the next step with you. It will make all the preparation work worthwhile.

About the author: Bill Warner is the managing partner of Paladin and Associates, a business consulting firm in the Research Triangle Park area of central North Carolina, and is the chairman of the Triangle Accredited Capital Forum, an angel investor network with over one hundred members throughout the southeast.