May 15, 2015
When raising money for your startup, the narrative matters. That’s advice many VCs have given, including Mark Suster from Upfront Ventures. He recently wrote about the power of narrative in his blog, especially for companies looking to be the next “unicorn.”
Most investors, as well as customers, remember the story behind the company.
“Narratives matter. Narratives are memorable. I’m not talking about raising money at a billion dollars. I’m talking about making your company memorable by describing it with a narrative that people will later remember,” wrote Suster.
Suster goes on to say that showing your features and recent performance “lacks context and won’t be memorable.” Instead, your business needs to be cast in a story that puts it into perspective.
How can founders nail their narratives, and include them in their pitch? Here are a few tips:
1. Develop Your Why
You can start by talking about why you are so passionate about this issue. People are more likely to understand and even relate to your business once they understand your personal motives. Suster’s advice is to understand, why is your market broken? Why is your solution 10 times better? Why are you the unique person to solve this problem? Why is it a really big market? Why is it ready for disruption? Why is now the right time?
2. Get Feedback From Your Team
Your narrative guides both major executive decisions and the day-to-day grind. In order for you to create a well-rounded point of view of your story, talk to your team and get some input. Ask them why they like to work for your company and what motivates them. You are more likely to create a better story using other perspectives.
3. Make it Human
“I try to remind people that raising money is about building rapport and you can’t build rapport wading through 60 pages of charts or showing 45 product features,” said Suster.
When creating your story, focus on how your products or services touch the lives of actual people. Make sure to be specific enough to be believable and universal enough to be relevant.
Read Suster’s “The Most Important Advice I could Give You About Unicorns” here.
Image Credit: Flickr/Jim Pennucci
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