4 Things That Are Ruining Your Investor Pitch

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You’ve got the best idea for a business startup that the world has ever seen. You’ve spent months tirelessly researching the market and you’ve got the qualitative and quantitative data to prove it. You know that there’s quantifiable interest in what you have to offer and that you’re the only one who can give it to the world. You’ve constructed a rigorously detailed business plan that will one day be hailed as a classic of world literature. You’ve even done some exhaustive calculations and determined your first year’s cash flow projections and… it all looks good.

Yet every time you get in front of a bank, a business lender or a grant assistance board, you’re met with rejection after rejection. It’s frustrating, emotionally draining and with each rejection the process becomes a little more soul destroying. Is it possible that your investor pitch is making one of these cardinal errors?

Too much information density

One of the problems with carrying out exhaustive research when developing your business plan is parsing out what information is necessary to sway an investor and what isn’t. As a result we can throw everything but the kitchen sink at them, bombarding them with so much information that the pitch starts to lose its clarity and if an investor doesn’t understand something, they’re more likely to shy away from it than to take the time to get to know it.

Not adapting to the environment

The environment and context are a huge factor in how your pitch should be presented. If it’s an elevator pitch, you want to narrow it down to a few scintillating sentences that will leave them wanting to know more. The last thing you want is to become a nuisance as you stalk down the corridor bombarding them with facts and statistics. If, however, it’s at a lavish business event, you’ll want to match the mood and feel of your presentation to the theme of the event.

Furthermore, you should appear comfortable and at ease whatever the environment as if this is your natural habitat.

Not showing a clear knowledge of your market

When your attention is based solely on your business and why it’s such a surefire investment, it can be easy to neglect showing off your knowledge of the market in which your business operates. Again, you don’t want to bombard them with statistics (though a few cherry picked market trends can do wonders). Little things like knowing what software you’ll use to track calls for inbound sales and how your product fulfills a niche that isn’t being catered to by your competitors can make all the difference. Failing to acknowledge your business’ market can lead investors to believe that there isn’t sufficient interest to establish a consumer base.

Being a robot

Finally, it’s important to imbue your pitch with personality and passion. This is your project so get emotional about it. Your passion and enthusiasm may well be contagious! Remember that consumer behavior is driven by emotion and justified by logic. If you can engage with an investor emotionally and then use your data to show why they’re right to be engaged, you’re on to a winner.

Why Going Viral Shouldn’t Be Your Goal

going-viral

15 minutes of fame.

Instant gratification at it’s best…but does it mean anything?

Going viral does wonders for your ego, yet puts nothing in your pocket.

If longevity is what you’re after “hits” should be an afterthought.

Nothing wrong with it, but not an accomplishment in itself.

Investors, like on Shark Tank, don’t care about your free PR. They want to see sales. Marketing is crucial, but only effective when it converts. Social media “likes” aren’t the same as purchases.

In the gig economy side hustle is a way of life. If you don’t have one now, you should in the near future. It doesn’t need to put food on the table, but supplemental income is more than just gravy. Plus you’ll never know without trying.

Take for instance a rainbow. Although visually beautiful (marketing), the pot of gold is what you should be after (sales). Nothing screams validation more than results.

More exposure is always a good thing, but don’t stop there. Remember William Hung from American Idol? He got his 15 minutes of fame, but where is he now?

You shouldn’t settle for being a one-hit wonder/flash in the pan, rather build something of substance that stands the test of time. Going viral may be part of the journey, but it should never be the destination.

Click that.

Why You Shouldn’t Follow Your Dreams

dream-killer

Before you label me a dream killer, hear me out…

It’s inspiring to pursue your passions, but it’s not practical. I’m not trying to sound like your parent(s), but a voice of reason.

The more important question you should be asking yourself is: “How can I monetize my dream?

Shark Tank, Pitch Fests and Startups have us obsessed with chasing what we love, yet the problem is the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow is usually empty.

I’m as guilty of this as you. I think of a great idea, my mind (and heart) starts racing. I think of all the possibilities, but rarely about the obstacles. I chase the future, but am not always rooted in the present.

Only in the past 10 years have most professionals started saying: I want to do something I love.  That’s awesome, but not realistic.  If I can teach you anything, it’s to study how to make money from your idea from the beginning. There’s enough information on: TV shows, You Tube Videos & social media to get you started (no, you don’t need to go to school for a degree…experience beats education every day).

You learn by doing. Make mistakes. Ask experts. It’s smarter to launch your idea as a side project initially and if it takes off, make it your main thing. If not, lesson learned and at least you’re not depressed and unemployed. I’ve seen too many people chase potential only to be living at their parents house into their 30’s waiting for lightning to strike.

If I could go back to college, I’d give myself the following pieces of advice:

– Intern to learn a sales model then try to better it.

– Sell something, a product or service because it doesn’t matter how great your idea is until someone else sees the value in it and buys it

– Network like your life depends on it. The world is about who you know, not what you know. Remember that.

So my message to you for 2016 isn’t to settle for a corporate gig, it’s to find work that can support the lifestyle you desire. Success is defined by you and you only. Chase your dreams, but work relentlessly at the process.

My First Startup – Educational Comic Book For Kids

Move over Shark Tank: Comic book teaches kids entrepreneurship

We live in the age of innovation, of companies started by young entrepreneurs – from Apple to SpaceX. Every year, the founders get younger and younger. Yet, entrepreneurial education has not kept up. Children have spending money before they learn about financial literacy. They are given “perfect career” tests before they’re even aware that working for someone else’s dream is not the only way – that every one of us can create real value pursuing own dreams.

In comes a comic book, My First Startup, that lets children (especially 8-12 y.o.) learn entrepreneurship on their own terms, in a fun and non-patronizing way. Without telling them what they must do, My First Startup helps kids develop problem solving skills, creative thinking, time-management, work-life balance (it’s never too early for that one), mathematical and analytical skills, and so much more.

Created by a Brooklyn-based custom comic book company, Your Comic Story, My First Startup helps parents teach kids an alternative to the 9-5 career, as well as a reasonable response to “buy me more presents” (Want that new game console – earn the money for it.) Ultimately, it’s helping parents raise kids who feel empowered and comfortable in the world where running your own business is as welcomed and rewarding as having a traditional job.

My First Startup was just launched through Kickstarter to let the people decide if teaching entrepreneurial thinking to children is important. To make the comic book especially useful to budding entrepreneurs, its creators brought in some key business service providers, including Shopify, Instapage, Jukebox Printing, SendInBlue and Shippo.

Learn more about the Kickstarter project and pledge your support here.

 

Winsight Episode 46: The Need for Rivalries

Rivals make you better

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/winsight/46_Winsight_Episode_46_-_The_Need_for_Rivalries.mp3]

 

A rivalry is defined as: competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field

Since we talk about sports examples, here are some of the most heated rivalries: Lakers/Celtics, Yankees/Red Sox, Duke/UNC…

All are emotionally-charged & rooted in tradition and I’m sure you have your favorite rivalry too…

In this episode, I’ll discuss:

  • Who is/was your personal rival? What are you both competing for?
  • One of our main motivators is achievement. We need healthy competition to raise your standards.
  • In “Shark Tank” the investors always ask “who are your competitors?”
  • Your rival(s) push you harder than you can push yourself

Why are rivals necessary? How can your rival push you to achieve more? How can your rivals make you better?