Most VC (venture capitalist) investors see thousands of startups’ decks and pitches each year. They notice the common mistakes startup founders make, and most of them show that it’s frequently too early or too late for pitching your idea. Even though your pitch deck design service made the best slides ever, your project strategy might be raw or incomplete.
Therefore, let’s talk about the TOP 5 THINGS we wish STARTUP FOUNDERS KNEW before reaching out, sending a deck, or pitching a VC investor.
Know the Problem You Solve
The first thing you should know is to start talking about the big and urgent problem you’re solving. Most importantly, realize it deeply. Why? Because out of the gate, investors are in triage mode. Time is valuable, and they’re immediately trying to figure out if this could be something super interesting and profitable or not.
- Over 50% of startups will FAIL because they’re not solving any big and urgent issue customers care about deeply.
It’s like how a doctor triages a patient when they come into the emergency room. If there is no pulse in the cold body, there is no need to do anything further. Thereby, make sure your idea and created pitch deck have a pulse and life inside it. A side benefit of starting by defining the problem first – you’re putting guardrails in your mind.
Be Clever on More Than One Axis
Investors are always trying to figure out if you’re clever on more than one axis. BEFORE creating a pitch deck, understand what makes your startup uniquely clever and, hopefully, in more than one way.
- If you do not realize your startup value, nobody will.
Even boring can be great if you’re clever and develop a new algorithm device or formula that’s truly unique and protected by some form of IP.
Know About Your Competitors
It is strategically correct to comprehend the competitive landscape. So many startups get tripped up when it comes to discussing the competition in detail and why customers will choose their solution.
- Which of your core differentiators and benefits are truly important to your target customers?
Startups throw up a magic quadrant and get torn apart when they don’t really know what benefits are most crucial to their TA and why/how they’re going to win.
Potential investors want to figure out if you have your head stuck in the sand or you really know the competitive environment. Before creating a pitch deck, take care of this and have a firm grip on your differentiated benefits. Even Google Search can help.
Know Your Go-To-Market Strategy
Before creating a pitch deck, you should be aware of how much investors want to see that you have a focused, scalable, and thoughtful go-to-market strategy. Unfortunately, a big share of startups does not even know what that means, while it’s not about your sales strategy.
The investor wants to understand:
- the key attributes of early customers or markets that you’re going after;
- why these attributes are important to your strategy;
- what market you’re going after in priority order;
- how you’re going to gain traction quickly and efficiently.
Develop Your Growth Projections
Cards are completely stacked against you when you talk about your projections. Most investors won’t believe your revenue and growth projections.
- Over half of the startup founders present highly inaccurate revenue projections, and investors understand but regret it.
How do investors figure this out? They start by asking questions that peel back the layers of your assumptions to see what’s behind your thinking and forecast. For instance, they ask detailed questions about your pipeline, sales processes, conversion rates, the time required to close sales, and so on. This level of scrutiny shows that most startups do a face plant.
Do yourself a FAVOR! Think carefully through each stage of your sales process and the critical assumptions you’re making along the way. Moreover, connect with someone who will openly challenge your assumptions and make you defend them in detail.
Let’s Summarize on Main Takeaways
Except for the clear and concise idea statement, the primary task of your pitch is to context switch between pitches. Investors hear so many ideas and pitches daily, so they will appreciate it if you quickly wrap their minds about the problem you’re solving from the beginning of the conversation. Then, talk about what demonstrates you’re clever – do not brag but convey your product/service value over competitors. Last but not least, have a sensible GTM strategy that scales and solid projections built bottoms up.