For most entrepreneurs you will raise capital from a professional investor. I have successfully operated on both sides of this table having raised over $35 million across a couple different companies as well as distributed over $$25 million as a corporate, personal and venture fund investor. Bringing both of those experiences enables me to have empathy for both parties.
There are over 4,000 articles referencing the strategies, tips & tricks for "raising capital" just on INC.com. If you are embarking on a fund-raising tour for your startup, read them. Well maybe not all of them, but a representation of what is the current thinking.
I outlined four simple steps to raising capital in this article back in July. This is as good as a start as any. My hope for you is that you don't embarrass yourself when heading out. Or at least minimize those words and phrases that lay there like a lead balloon. Everyone screws up and says something you wish you could take back.
Here is one general scenario that has "rookie" written all over it.
You sit down at the coffee shop or their office. You introduce yourself, "Hi, my name is John and I would like to share with you my current project. I started working on this project at (fill in the blank--home, college, basement, co-working space, etc.). I think this project could be something big. Basically, we want to . . . ."
Did you see it?
Merriam-Webster defines the word project:
project noun pr-jekt, -jikt also pr-
: a planned piece of work that has a specific purpose (such as to find information or to make something new) and that usually requires a lot of time
: a task or problem in school that requires careful work over a long period of time
Professional investors do not invest in projects. Professional investors invest in companies. The word project connotes a temporary, testing-oriented, constrained outcome type of thinking. Those entrepreneurs should not get funded. As a professional investor, I want someone who is all-in and ready to stop at nothing to make his or her idea a reality.
So, when you are pitching an investor, remove the word project from you vocabulary and use words that represent your commitment to your company.