Blog, NewsBy Tribeca Venture Partners
It’s not only OK but good to answer “I don’t know” to a question for which you don’t have an answer. You can’t bulls–t a bulls–tter.
We see thousands of entrepreneurs and hear countless pitches each year, and the good ones stand out. I’m often asked how to create the “Perfect Pitch,” and while there’s no industry standard, I’ve broken down my approach in 7 steps to demystify the process. Here are some practical tips as well as a window into what’s happening in my head when you pitch:
- It sounds cliche, but all my good companies can say what they do in one sentence. Force yourself to do it. The hard part is what you don’t say. Also, you only have about 10 minutes before you lose the room. Sad, but true. For almost all my good companies, I knew I wanted to invest in less than 20 minutes into the first meeting.
- I like a 12-16 slide presentation. Think of your presentation as a way to structure a conversation, not overwhelm the audience with information. The goal of a first meeting is to get a second; there’s plenty of time to dive into the detail.
- Don’t bring a lot of people to the first meeting. Bring 2 people max if you have a co-founder, but I prefer one person. Again, there’s plenty of time in the process to expose your team to investors.
- It’s all diligence…how you present reflects how you operate. Don’t be all over the place toggling through multiple apps and discussion threads. If there are two of you, don’t talk over each other and watch your body language. If you are frustrated with each other in a pitch meeting, how can you run a company together? Independent of the merits of your idea, market, business model, etc., how you handle the meeting is my first and best proxy for how you run your company.
- It’s not only OK but good to answer “I don’t know” to a question for which you don’t have an answer. You can’t bulls–t a bulls–tter.
- Some investors like to engage with you by throwing out ideas. A lot of the ideas will be dumb, but that’s OK. Let them go. It’s a good thing that he or she is engaged.
- Finally, we’re all in sales. Solicit feedback. Establish next steps. It’s OK to ask for the order.