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Write a killer deck; perfect your elevator pitch; avoid common mistakes; talk to 'enough' customers
Among the popular articles written by VatorNews contributors are those about pitching VCs and writing the perfect pitch deck. Here are five articles that we hope will help you articulate your ideas in 2011.
The key preparation material that most people create for pitching potential investors is a presentation deck. This is normally a PowerPoint/Keynote presentation that highlights key parts of your pitch and something you talk along-side when pitching. To help you write your deck I have complied the most common advice I give to most start ups.
The two most important aspects of pitching are: 1) being confident and 2) conveying a consistent powerful story.
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I am constantly pounding in the importance of your executive summary, but something that may be even more powerful for your business is your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is just what it sounds like, if you stepped on to an elevator with a potential investor and new that you had seven floors before he got off, what would you tell him about your business?
These “elevator opportunities” happen everyday when someone asks, “So what do you do?” Obviously not every person you speak with is a potential investor, so you might tweak your pitch a little bit.
But ultimately you need 200 to 300 words that you can recite on command when the opportunity presents itself. Here are a few guidelines as you create your elevator pitch: 1) The grab 2) Big problem 3) Unique solution 4) Vision 5) Request
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Entrepreneurs hear that VC pitches ought to be short - 10 to 20 slides. What most don’t know is that there is no way they can deliver a presentation that short by just “writing” the slide deck. Most of the advice founders get about Venture Capital slide decks are from the recipients of the presentations – the VC’s – letting you know how they want to see the final deck. And most of their recommendations are essentially “show us your business plan in PowerPoint.” Few VC’s have experienced the process a founder uses to get their idea into 10-slides. And none of them tell you how.
If you find yourself trying to shoehorn your 35-slide presentation into a “VC-ready” format, you don’t know enough yet. And you won’t know any more by sitting in your office surfing the Web and writing more slides. Get out of the building and talk to potential users and customers. The irony is the more you know, the easier it is to make your presentation short and concise.
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Once you have learned everything about how to put together a great pitch, business plan, and understand how much you need, the next step is getting a meeting with an investor. The best way to get the first meeting is to get referred by someone the VC knows. Someone like a former entrepreneur, board member, another VC, one of your advisors, etc. The chances of a first-time entrepreneur getting a meeting without an introduction from a trusted advisor are very small.
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Top 30 business plan mistakes - by Adam Hoeksema
Raising capital is hard enough as it is. Don't make it even harder by committing any of these common business plan mistakes.
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