Looking to give a shot for an early seed funding. So would having rendered specs design of a prototype be enough or an actual bench mark model is propose to be a good visual. Obviously the numbers have to make sense with an ideal ROI for the investors but visuals is what I concerned about.
When someone invests in your business they aren't actually investing in your business, they are investing in you. It's good to keep that in the back of your head.
From that point then when they say "go prepared" it probably means in relation to how well you know the person. If you're asking your super rich Uncle, you probably don't need too much more than a good idea and a smile. If you're asking angels, then you want to impress them. You want to convince them that you are a "winner". An amazing pitch, an amazing product, knowing all your numbers, already have raised 10%-50%, those are all things that impress.
So when you are thinking about getting prepared, you want to do whatever you can that you think is going to impress the person you are pitching. For an experienced angel/entrepreneur that will probably mean knowing your numbers super solid & have a bunch of great charts/examples.
I would suggest that you are not likely to succeed in raising early seed funding, except from people you already know very well.
While raising funding before your product is commercially available does sometimes happen, it is less frequent for physical goods or hardware devices and when it does, it's backing a team with a very strong background of relevant success. Increasingly, early-stage funding for hardware and physical devices happen through crowdfunding and I would suggest you explore that as your first source of outside capital. This also is a crucial step in market validation which will help with fundraising down the road.
I've written many answers here on Clarity about early stage fundraising so would encourage you to read my existing answers and if you'd like to book a call to discuss the specifics of your situation, I'd be happy to do so.
Being prepared is not only knowing about how to pitch, your financials or what is great about your idea. It is just as important to know what are the weaknesses, pitfalls and risks in your business. Put yourself in your potential investors shoes. What fears are you going to have to quash for them to be interested. It doesn't mean you have to have all the solutions but at least give them the confidence that you are aware of them and that you need to solve them.
It's already been mentioned, early stage investors are investing in you and your ability as much as the idea, if not more. Your goal is to give them the confidence you know what you are getting yourself into. You know it's not going to be a cake walk and yet you are still prepared to back yourself and the idea.
If you'd like to discuss further any specific details, I'd be happy to jump on a call.
Being prepared means demonstrating knowledge of your market, your background, your strengths, your weaknesses, your business' numbers (revenues, expenses, etc.), an ability to be flexible, awareness that the numbers you present may not be relevant six months to a year from now as you learn more about the market, who your competitors are, etc.
If you're interested in learning more, I'm happy to jump on a call.