I Say Potato, You Say Potarto

November 4, 2009

How most entrepreneurs initially present their idea to a Venture Capitalist.

Me Me Me!
2 mins
Introduction: why they’re amazing
5 mins
The Problem: why everyone else is wrong (why they’re amazing)
15 mins
My Solution: passionately explaining their solution in depth (why they’re amazing)
5 mins
Capital Expenditure: whiz through what they will spend the money on
2 mins
The Plan: Blue sky 5 year plan on how the business will grow exponentially

Then they wonder why it didn’t work. The ask, “is it because they didn’t explain their vision clearly enough? mmmm, surely not… it must be because the VC is short sighted and doesn’t like or understand their idea?” So, the entrepreneur asks how can they get the VC to be as passionate about their idea, as once they do, surely they’ll invest?

It won’t work and they won’t (except in rare occasions), they’re only investing with the entrepreneur for one reason, to make money! They’re not interested in the problem, or the solution, or what the entrepreneur does, so the entrepreneur shouldn’t waste their time and effort trying to get the VC interested. The entrepreneur has to think like the VC! so if you’re presenting to a VC here’s the way to do it.

Show Me The Money!
5 mins
ROI: What is their return and when will they receive it
10 mins
Capital Expenditure: How much investment you need, time frame, phases and why
10 mins
Risk Assessment: Company structure, detailing assets, IP, tangibles etc
2 mins
The Idea: The product
2 mins
You: Your background and history, contact details

This doesn’t only work on VC’s, try this approach with your next client presentation, get all the guess work, the money & nitty gritty details out of the way at the beginning, then show them where there money is being invested, that way you’ll know right from the start whether you’re wasting your time or not, and if they’re really interested they’ll extend the meeting to talk through your ideas.

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2 Responses to “I Say Potato, You Say Potarto”

  1. Jodi Kaplan Says:

    Works for marketing, works for client meetings, and for elections too. We just had one with nationally known conservative Republicans coming in and trying to sway voters in a local area. The trouble was the national folks only cared about themselves, and their own issues, not what the district cared about. The seat had been held by Republicans for 100 years. They lost.


  2. oh boy, sounds like they got somewhat complacent and didn’t think they had to try any longer… sort of like this.
    http://blog.brendanmitchell.com/2009/01/05/dont-become-indifferent/

    What I was also trying to get across (although re-reading my post, I didn’t make it clear enough) is to reverse the order of your entire presentation. Don’t blabber on about yourself for ages at the beginning, as the client will likely have switched off as they’re thinking “mmm, how much is this all going to cost me?”. Get the capex out of the way at the beginning, that way everyone has a clear mind to discuss the solution you’re presenting.


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