I have seen so many mistakes over the years made by people looking for funding. While covering various events I always take time to speak with the people trying to get in on the startup game. And most of these people make the same mistakes.
Just because you really do have a great idea this does not mean that other people will see it that way. Just because you think that you have a great idea does not necessarily make it so.
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So here are some tips for you based on my years of experience.
Whether it’s for sales, for charity or for investments in a new company, the pitch is probably the most important thing to get right. Never go before prospective investors, especially not those from serious VC firms, until you have yours set.
Test it out. Make sure that you have a good power point presentation. Be certain to have all the facts at your fingertips and anticipate any questions that might be asked.
And always remember the old sales adage KISSS: Keep it short and simple stupid! You only get one chance at making a first impression. Be sure to be able to explain your vision in less than a minute. If you ever meet a potential investor or collaborator then you will be expected to quickly articulate your vision.
I have lost track of how many times I have seen people at investment conferences and other events who were unable to do this when asked of their plans. If you can’t get a person interested with your first few sentences then you will not succeed.
Don’t just try to horn in on what other people are already doing. The world does not need another Facebook or YELP. Come up with an original product or service.
This is another mistake I see whenever I cover a business event. Would be entrepreneurs show up looking to pitch their ideas. But they keep on reinventing the wheel with something that is really no different than Uber or Bitcoin.
I once met someone who wanted to offer just another restaurant review site, but one that would somehow verify its reviews and would make money from the restaurants themselves. The restaurants were supposed to pay fees for this service.
I also once heard of a plan to offer a service for people to share cabs. Unlike Uber, complete strangers who just happen to be going the same way from the same place would split a ride in a regular taxi. Who would share a ride with strangers and how often is there such an opportunity anyway?
Make sure that your idea is truly unique!
Do your Homework
Be sure to do your homework and research the market to see whether or not anyone really needs what you intend to offer.
You do not need to have a
lot of money at hand to do this. If you really have a good idea then you can just look up whatever may already be out there on the internet. If you see that it is already being done then get another idea.
If there is no real demand for what you want to do then then there will be no reason to do it. If there is a demand, then be sure to compile the appropriate data as to who, what, where and when the product or service might be needed.
As with sales you need to play the percentages game. Sometimes you need to knock on 100 doors a day or make 200 calls a day just to make a single sale. But if you do not do so, if you even just skip a few doors here and there, you might miss the one who will buy.
Too many people get discouraged. Don’t! You have to keep at it. Think of all the actors and musicians who finally made it after countless rejections. Be like them.
If you are not truly passionate about your idea then why should anyone else be?
Don’t ever be insecure or show any lack of certainty. Be confident! Maybe even over-confident. Show potential investors that you yourself are a true believer. No one will believe in you or your idea if they sense that you are not 100% sure about it yourself. This is surely not the case if you cannot be passionate about it.
So be passionate, be optimistic, be a true believer.