Many youngsters rock up at my door asking for money to chase their dreams. Some of the ideas are great, but the pitch is amateurish.
If you can’t execute your pitch, most investors will assume you can’t execute, period.
Here are some tips. These are not Silicon Valley tips. These are tips for pitching to South African angel investors.
- Dress neat. Don’t be late. Have manners. Bring a gift (read Cialdini on reciprocation).
- Start with summary. Very few ideas are original. Make it easy for the angel to quickly decide whether it is original and worth concentrating, or whether he should press the secret red button that opens the trapdoor to the shark tank beneath your chair.
- Talk about your business model. Explain how you will make more cash than you spend. Inside of Silicon Valley there are 16 metrics to chase. Outside of Silicon Valley there is only one metric: Cashflow. “One day we’ll sell to Google” is not a business model. “We’ll sell advertising” is not a business model.
- Explain how what you’re doing is not something anyone in Silicon Valley can do, or how you will be the first-mover in a network-effects business (i.e.: eCommerce or social networks). Never ever take the Valley head-on. The Valley has more smart people, more money, more tech, more networks, more competition, more everything. The Valley will crush you.
- Be cool with being interrupted, and do not interrupt. When you are interrupted don’t show signs of impatience. Be cool. You’re the supplier, you’re selling, the client is always right. Don’t interrupt the angel.
- Explain why only you can execute your idea. Do you have some unique talent? Do you have a unique relationship that is needed for success? Do you have a unique track record? Do you have any traction with your idea? Do you have any feedback from customers? Is the job so crappy that only you will want to do it? Ideas are worthless, execution is everything. You need to explain why you’re essential for the business. If you can’t, then you’re not essential for the business.
- Never ask for an NDA. See point 6. Your idea is worthless. The only value you bring is your unique ability to execute the idea. Anyway, NDA’s simply delay betrayal. If the angel is going to screw you, he’ll screw you. Rather find out early what type of person you’re dealing with.