Martin Zwilling of Startup Professionals recently posted an article on a common problem with funding pitches: the founder just doesn’t come across as “fundable,” but rather gives an impression “as a high risk investment.” He offers five rules of thumb that, if followed, will convey to investors that you are a viable and experienced entrepreneur.
1. Highlight team strengths more than your own. Whereas some entrepreneurs can’t seem to stop jabbering about themselves and their accomplishments, Zwilling notes that the best ones “talk more about how they have assembled a well-rounded team, and will continue to fill in the gaps.”
2. Talk about the implementation plan, not the idea. Many entrepreneurs have great business plans, but to look and sound experienced you must be able to take the next step to discuss its implementation, including real milestones and quantifiable results.
3. Focus on customer needs and benefits first, then product features. Knowing the market is just as important as knowing your own product. The way to an investor’s confidence is weaving your innovation into the market, the opportunity, and the customer need “in a way that sounds like a natural fit, rather than a product sales pitch.”
4. Stay “laser focused,” not all over the map. To Zwilling, a successful entrepreneur is “laser focused” on driving the company, passionate about a product, and devoted to a specific set of customers. A plan that reads “like a smorgasbord of offerings” is likely to only confuse investors.
5. Present a rational business model, with prices and volumes. Finally, experienced and marketable entrepreneurs should have a clear idea as to how they will make money. “The days are gone,” writes Zwilling, “when investors want only to see a large market share or growth in eyeballs.”
In conclusion, Zwilling reminds entrepreneurs to leave their egos at the door when dealing with investors. “You must be willing to listen and work with others,” he says, “as well as share your own ideas or knowledge.”
Source: Startup Professionals Musings
Posted September 19th, 2012 under Tech Transfer