Here is some advice to people with a great idea looking for help, ideas or investment:
5 big flaws in communicating:
FLAW #1: Not Succinctly Saying What You Do – If you can’t say what you do in one succinct sentence that an average person would understand then chances I won’t understand either.
Tick off these three elements:
Position where your company plays,
State what product or service your company sells,
Clearly identify your target market
e.g. We are a software business, that offers a cloud based accounting service to small business owners.
FLAW #2: Not Able to Remember Your Pitch – Don’t read off your page or even show me a pre-prepared powerpoint. Know your business and tell me about what it is and why it is awesome in a conversational tone – if you can’t then your business is not cooked enough to invest my time or my clients cash in or I don’t get the confidence that you will be able to sell to customers, staff or partners which will make-up the backbone of your business. Sure rehearse but then know it so it doesn’t sound rehearsed.
FLAW #3: Not Speaking Frankly – Some people hear a lot of pitches so have a keen ear for the uninformed use of buzz words. Don’t say “we are all about curation” if you aren’t a librarian, say that your product “start’s slow but will eventually go viral” or throw in how your vision will “soon be able to use virtual reality”. Use simple language that doesn’t make you look like you are a walking jargon bank or someone whose vision is just a conglomeration of the latest band wagon trends designed to impress. Trust me it’s not about the words.
FLAW #4: Not Being Authentic – Investors say they buy the person first and the business second. You don’t get past first base if nobody can’t buy into you. The best way to achieve this is to be authentic, passionate and of course very likeable. You should also nominate why you have an authentic connection to the customer need or problem you are solving – story tell it.
FLAW #5: Sort out if before you meet, you can save a lot of time – People know what they can put in. Tell them how much you are looking to raise and often including the valuation and / or the type of investor or advisor you are seeking eg We are raising £500,000 at a post money valuation of £1.5 m with an expected close by end of December. But mostly we want someone who can help us access retail markets. That can sort things out, I keep tabs on people who do things well, even if i can’t help i will push them towards someone who can.