There are many articles focusing on how to create a perfect pitch deck, but few that really give you the inside look on how to behave in your big investor meeting. These guidelines will help significantly improve your odds of getting funded.
- The meeting should be a dialog. No one wants to listen to a 50-minute monologue – investors will get super bored. Make your points quickly and let them ask questions. The good talking-to-listening ratio is 60/40 (60% talking, 40% listening).
- Keep so simple so my Grandma would understand. Investors are smart but they don’t know everything. If you can’t communicate your idea in two sentences and simple words that mortals use, your customers may not get it either.
- Be curious and ask questions. Entrepreneurs have to be curious – how else will they find the opportunities to explore? So ask questions, engage investors by asking for feedback or their opinion – they will feel like the part of the team. Challenge conventional wisdom – make them remember you and be interested in talking to you again.
- Have an Ask prepared. It’s okay to ask about investment but do your homework and know where you stand, how much you need and what you are ready to give up. Clearly, communicate what you want from the meeting and it might just come true.
- Don’t be so boring. Running business hard but you need to know how to enjoy it – otherwise, you will burn out and give up. Show that you are enjoying the entrepreneurial roller coaster and have fun, be yourself.
- Defend your assumptions. Investors know the market and maybe even your competition – but you are the one who did the market testing so you have all the facts. It’s great that you plan to have 5 million users in month 5, but make sure you are prepared to tell how you plan to get there.
- Don’t overreact. Avoid such statements as you are going to put Google out of business or take over 100% of the market or get “all” users – it is not going to help your case but rather hurt it.
- Don’t hide “the hard part.” Every business has the “hard part” – getting customers to pay, attracting top talent, getting a license. Your potential investors want to understand what the biggest challenges will be and might actually help you.
- Let your passion shine. Investors are in the funding business because they love entrepreneurs – risk-taking freedom-fighters. They want to see your burning desire to solve customer problems and make the world a better place as well as make them money regardless of the obstacles.
“Passion leads, money follows.”