Big Red Car here. Nice cool, cloudy morning here in the ATX, also know as God’s Country. [But that irritates people, Big Red Car. Sorry.]
So when you’re making your pitch one question you know you are going to get is — “What are you going to do with the money?” Obvious questions, y’all. Be ready for them.
We’ve discussed that your pitch deck should be the chapter headings for your discussion with an investor. OK, we’ve got that. We discussed that here: Pitch Perfect.
We’ve discussed that the call to action is to generate engagement in the form of questions.
There are several questions that are obvious. Perhaps the most obvious is as stated above — “What are you going to do with the money?”
This should be answered with three documents:
1. The Chinese Menu development scheme for your web based product or software. We discussed that here: The Chinese Menu – Product Development.
2. A series of dollar weighted organization charts which show the development of your team. We discussed that here: The Dollar Weighted Organization Chart.
3. A simple bar chart which is also dollar weighted.
These three documents should be at your fingertips — laminated slides waiting to be unleashed in all their glory — and your explanation should be rehearsed like singing the Star Spangled Banner.
Dollar weighting these documents allows the investor to see how the money will be deployed and that there will, in fact, be at least 18 months of funding. The Boss recommends a minimum of 24 months but that is a discussion for another day. Remember that “contingency” is a real cost and don’t forget to budget for it. That sharp pain in you butt? That’s contingency. It is real.
Slides and follow up
The Boss is a huge fan of making your pitch into laminated slides rather than using a lap top or other projection device. You can see all the slides at the same time.
1. When the slides are “hand held” you have a better ability to face and engage with the investor or pitchee. [You, of course, are the pitcher.]
2. When the investor or pitchee has to take the slides in her hands it forces a subtle level of engagement like a handshake.
3. Whichever slide the investor focuses on and which initiates the most conversation may be your money slide. Find it and use it.
4. You can have an entire platoon of additional slides ready to be thrown into the fray to elaborate upon specific points or to answer questions as noted above.
Identify the logical questions
When you fashion your pitch deck anticipate all the logical “who, what, when, why, where, how much” questions. Don’t overload the pitch deck (chapter headings, y’all) with all of this information but have it ready and at your fingertips.
Identify the logical questions and be prepared to answer them. Rehearse your answers.
When you have finished your pitch, follow up with some specific questions:
1. What worked? Where did we gain traction?
2. What did not work? Where did we lose you?
3. What should we revise or improve? What is unclear or unfocused?
4. Who else do you know who should be interested in this opportunity?
5. What’s the next step with you? What other questions can we answer for you?
The Big Red Car doesn’t mean this to be catechism but it is a discipline that will allow you to build upon and grow with each pitch. And why not? If the investor is NOT interested, what do you have to lose?
Hope this helps. If not, remember you are talking to a Big Red Car. What the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.