You’ve gotten the meeting—now don’t blow it.
- What do you actually do for your customer? Who are your customers/markets?
By this time, I’ve sat through either techno-talk or a disjointed conglomeration of PowerPoint slides (or worse, both), when all I really wanted the entrepreneur to do was tell me a story.
Story #1 – Imagination
- A victim (your customer).
- A hero (your company). Note that I did not say your product or your technology. This is a very conscious choice because the hero is the whole solution you offer the customer.
- A villain (the business pain or problem).
- A plot (just when you came along, your customer was tied to a railroad track and a train was approaching). And of course . . .
- A happy ending.
Story #2 – Greed
And, if you’re really confident, tell me how you’ll get out—your exit strategy. But be careful in discussing the exit; many pitches are ruined by carelessness in this area.
Story #3 – Intellect
Include whatever competitive advantages you bring to the playing field—people, patents, genius. Don’t be shy, but do be specific and credible. You might also throw in some of the tech stuff here—but be ready to cut it short if my eyes glaze over. If that’s the case, make your two key tech points and move on. On the other hand, I might light up and even try to ask you some technical questions. That should be fun for you, but still resist the temptation to go too deeply into this.
As always, follow the investor’s lead. You might be surprised that some early-stage technology investors are technologically illiterate—not many, but you just may have found one!
So that’s all—three little stories. You can tell them in 15 minutes or 30 minutes—and, after a few dozen tries, you may even be able to tell them at a cocktail party and not have your listener walk away.