I couldn’t help but cringe. I was at a statewide technology conference. A small group of start-ups were giving their investor pitch presentations. They were competing for the crowd’s votes. The most votes would win the day. Things were not going well. It was painful to watch.
Have Plan B, C, D, and Maybe Even E
The first group crashed and burned even before takeoff. Their video of their investor pictch presentation wasn’t working. At all.
I believe the technical difficulties were no fault of theirs. But that really didn’t matter to the audience.
We all know that hateful media demons live inside tech equipment. They wait to strike when everyone is watching you. That will always be during your investor pitch presenation, tradeshow or exhibition. Things will go horribly wrong. Know this and be ready for it.
Unfortunately, these guys responded like deer in headlights. They kept pushing buttons and clicking icons, all in complete silence. Finally the moderator had to tell them that their time was running no matter what worked or didn’t.
Remember that. Time is ticking, whether you’re ready for it or not.
Plan A works great when all goes well. But if when the media demons strike, have plan B in place. In fact, have plans C, D, and E in place too.
Know each one very well. Practice each, long before you get in front of an audience.
And if all that fails, ditch the technology. Use your own voice.
Know your own story and be prepared to tell it. If you believe in yourself and your company, that should be just as compelling as any presentation.
Use Story In Your Investor Pitch Presentation, But Use It Wisely
The next start-up presenter went low-tech, which was a good idea.
He tried to use story, drama, and audience participation. All good ideas.
Unfortunately, he executed them all wrong.
He was a young guy, but he pretended to be a professor. That made his story unbelievable from the start.
Next he asked the audience to stand up and do something. Before you ever do that, know your audience’s mood.
When you have a high energy crowd, or a crowd that is clearly on your side, that might be a good idea. This crowd was tired. It was the end of an already long day. The audience was more annoyed than engaged.
The greatest sin of all, despite using story, drama and audience participation, was this: I have no idea what his startup was or what business problem he solved. All I remember is being annoyed.
One way to prevent these mistakes is to have trusted partners. Seek people you can practice your investor pitch presentation in front of.
You need people who will tell you the truth. If your investor pitch presentation sucks, you need someone to tell you before you try it in front of a crowd.
The Clearest Message Always Wins
The last participant of the day had her media presentation ready. She knew her material. She understood her message. She knew exactly what pain she solved and to whom she was selling.
Big surprise—she won the day.
I can tell you her name, her company name, exactly what problem her product solved, and I knew exactly what markets it was aimed at and why. I saw the potential in it without knowing very much about her market at all.
She wasn’t reliant on her media to tell her story. She didn’t use weird back stories and setups. She was straightforward.
This is my product, this is what it does, this is why it’s needed, this is the market it serves.
Simple. Clear. Precise.
Make your message so clear that your grandma or your 5-year-old could understand it.
Don’t make people work to understand what you are trying to sell. They will not grant you that much of their attention.
Have you ever had a presentation to potential investors bomb? What did you do? Have you ever witnessed a presentation go south? Do you remember the product or only remember how bad the presentation was? I’d love to hear your comments. Please chime in.
And of course, if you need help telling a better, simpler story, contact me. I’d love to help.