Fear of public speaking is a common affliction for many people. As a startup founder, not only do you have to face it head on, but the stakes for you are also much higher. You are not just doing it to win a competition at school, or to get a promotion at work. You are pitching your dream, your idea that you have been developing into a fledgling business for months, a company ready to soar and it’s up to you to give it its wings.
In this article and the corresponding video, we discuss four strategies for making a lasting impression on investors and getting funded faster.
Tip # 1: Tell a story.
We, as humans, respond to emotion. Even though investing should be a purely rational process, it still has an emotional component. If you are able to emotionally connect with an investor, you can build the trust required for him or her to make an investment in your venture faster.
Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of Theranos, now facing federal charges on wire fraud, perfectly executed that strategy when she convinced numerous private wealth individuals and elite venture capital funds to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in her venture. She never had a working product, but she had an ambitious vision and, most importantly, she could present that vision eloquently and intelligently. In other words, she told and sold her story exceptionally well.
Tip # 2: Articulate your long-term vision.
No early stage investor is going to invest in a company without a long-term vision. In order for them to take as much risk as they are taking, they need to see a very high potential for a reward. In other words, investors are constantly on the lookout for unicorns-to-be, and you can’t claim to be a unicorn-in-the-making without a highly profitable, disruptive product and a thorough, multi-pronged long-term strategy to conquer the world.
Tip # 3: Know your numbers.
Financials are a traditionally weak point for early-stage startup founders, and yet, that is what investors use to evaluate the feasibility and desirability of your idea. While it’s important to know your KPIs, assumptions, and revenue goals, it’s even more critical to understand where all of your assumptions are coming from and have every number backed up by either research, or strategy, or both.
Tip # 4: Turn negative questions into positive.
As Dana Kanze discussed in her TED talk, many female founders often get asked negative questions when they pitch. This ultimately results in them not able to sell their startup adequately and, consequently, not getting funded. While you, of course, have to address the immediate question and concern, you then should turn it around and focus on the bigger picture, on the long-term revenue potential, on the frontiers that your startup is poised to conquer. Get investors excited and make them want to join you on your journey to the stars!
To learn more about fundraising strategy and financing vehicles, check out Course # 5.
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