Pitching High and Outside

July 25, 2011

4:30 pm

It is a common trap for entrepreneurs pitching to investors to demonstrate their brilliance by conveying in a wealth of detail that they are subject matter experts. After all, if the investor is going to invest in your business, they really need to understand your business, right?


If you are taking up an investor’s valuable time pitching the small details of your business, you are pitching low and inside when you need to be pitching high and outside.

I fully understand why this happens.  You have a passion for your business, which is going to make you a great entrepreneur, which is going to enable you to build a great business.  But when pitching for money, especially in your first pitch to an investor, subject matter expertise is one of many elements you have 10 minutes or less to convey.  And while it’s your passion, the investor’s passion is making money. Demonstrating your ability to make money is what you need to convey in those precious few minutes.

So here’s what you have to demonstrate:

  1. There is a large identified need for your product or service
  2. A person can make money fulfilling that need
  3. You have assembled a team capable of delivering
  4. You have integrity
  5. You are intelligent
  6. You are a leader
  7. You are coach-able

That is a lot of information you have to convey in such a small amount of time, and, believe me, if you haven’t made a potential investor confident that you meet those criteria in 10 minutes, that potential investor will lose interest and never be anything but a potential investor.

Say you’ve invented the best bread slicer since sliced bread. Don’t squander your time training a venture capitalist in the baking and slicing side of the business.  Investors like making dough, not bread!  Demonstrate quickly that you’re a subject matter expert, and then go on and show them why they can trust you to make them rich.  Pitch them high and outside.

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Glen Hellman (@glehel), is an angel investor, serial entrepreneur, and works for venture capitalists as a turn-around specialist. He is the Chief Entrepreneureator at Driven Forward LLC, frequently muses on his blog, Forward Thinking, and works with entrepreneurs to help them figure out what to do and get them to do it.

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