With most VCs, you will get just one chance to present your business case. VCs are usually a skeptical lot because they see a lot of bad presentations.
Here are some mistakes to avoid when pitching to investors
- Poor assessment of the risks in your venture: All businesses have competition. VCs are not looking for businesses without risks… in the businesses they are interested in, they are looking for teams who understand the risks and have a plan to manage the risks.
- Poor assessment of the competition or assuming that there is no competition: If there is no one else doing what you are doing, how are the consumers currently solving the problem? E.g. in a online food ordering business, just because there is no other brand dos not mean that there is no competition. ‘Calling up the restaurants using menu cards available at home’ is your competition.
- Exaggerating management strengths: Remember, most VCs will do due-diligence… and most are experienced enough to know what is practical and what is fluff. E.g. for a professional with 2-years experience to claim “In my role as Client Services Manager I was responsible for formulating strategy and operations planning for fortune 500 clients” is usually not going to be an accurate representation of your role. However, “was involved with” instead of “was responsible for” is perhaps closer to reality. Also, giving the right picture of your current skill sets and capabilities helps investors understand what assistance they may need to bring to the table, in case they decide to invest. Investors are not looking for ‘we know all and we have been there done that’ teams… those are rare to find. Investors are interested in honest teams who are passionate about the domain and are smart enough to learn the things that they currently don’t know.
- Impractical and unrealistic growth projections: While aspiring for scale is important, planning ‘how’ you are going to achieve it is critical. Without a plan, aspirations of scale are merely a statement of intent. Investors invest in a team with pans… not just on statements of intent.
- Don’t include names of ‘advisors’ if they are not genuinely involved. Plain show & tell names just because you know a few people don’t impress investors.