To succeed in the startup world, it's essential to have a scrappy attitude. It's not enough to know that cash is king – you have to know how to spend and save your money to push your startup forward. But chasing your first round of funding will be both exhilarating and soul crushing -there’s a reason that many of your fellow entrepreneurs take a few weeks of vacation after completing a round of funding.
But if this sounds like a fun experience to you, then you’re in the right place! Let’s take a closer look at 3 key components you’ll need to have ready-to-go before hitting the VC circuit:
A Strong, Comprehensive Business Plan
I’ve read a few posts where other founders recommend a simplified, 10-part business plan. While that’s a great starting point, I created our plan around 7 core points, and then expanded in-depth on each point. And just like in other areas of life, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your plan. What matters is that you can exhibit to a potential investor that you’ve done the research and due diligence necessary to claim that you are an authority on your market and your opportunity.
Clear, Concise Visual Aids that Inspire Confidence
A powerful pitch deck was a key element of our presentation. We understood the market and the opportunity, our business plan proved it. But, our comprehensive business plan was boring compared to our enthusiastic presentation. To combine the magic of a live presentation with the analysis of a business plan, you need to do the following:
- Select 10-20 powerful points or statistics. These are the basis for your slides.
- As Guy Kawasaki puts it, 20 minutes is your outside target for the timing of your presentation.
- Dive into Dave McClure’s “Startup Viagra”, which provides an excellent template for your 10-point presentation.
- Go heavy on images (infographics are great) and light on text.
Above all else, never read off of you slides. There’s a reason they’re called ”visual aids”, not “scripts”.
Focus on Team, Then Market, Then Solution
Above all else, VC firms are looking at the makeup of your team. Anyone can see a problem and dream about a solution. Do you have the organization to execute and capture the market? Step out from behind the brand, product or app. Your team members define you more than anything else. Spotlight how awesome you are and how the team will add immeasurable value as you execute on your vision.
I’ve personally witnessed investors jump onboard a poorly conceived product with the understanding that they could help direct the talent in the right direction. Without proven, exciting talent, you’ll have a tough row to hoe on the path to raising capital.