Big Red Car here.
So I finally got to run a bit yesterday because the sun was out though it was a bit crisp all day. This morning I got to get up very early and go for coffee at Austin Java on Windsor.
The Boss was meeting a young video entrepreneur and he agreed to do a deal with him. I like the idea of The Boss getting back into the deal business. This one will be fun.
Which brings me to the idea of “pitching” — telling a startup’s story to raise a bit of money to fund the operation.
The Boss says that the pitch needs to really be three pitches:
1. The Elevator Pitch
2. The Taxi Cab Pitch
3. The Big Pitch
Do you have these three pitches in your bag of tricks? If not, get them.
The Elevator Pitch
Imagine yourself in an elevator — kind of hard for a Big Red Car, but what the Hell. Imagine YOURSELF in an elevator with a single other rider. He notices you are carrying some graphics about your new startup business.
He says: “That is an interesting graphic, what are you all about, young startup person?”
And, then, you give him your Elevator Pitch — two minutes of non-stop information about your new startup.
You touch on the size of the market, the financial potential and then the product.
You exchange business cards and he gets out on the 47th floor.
Go make a 2-minute Elevator Pitch and then go start riding elevators.
The desired outcome is a follow on meeting.
The Taxi Cab Pitch
Imagine that it is raining and taxi cabs are few and far between. It is raining hard.
You and another gent — or perhaps a very professional looking lady with her laptop shielding her coif from the unrelenting and merciless rain — step into a cab at the same instant in time. There are no other cabs handy.
She says: “Well, why don’t we share the cab as we are both heading uptown and there are no cabs out there on such a rotten monsoon day?”
And you say: “Well, yes, let’s do that.”
She says: “Well, that is an interesting graphic, what are you all about, young startup person?”
And, then, you give her your Taxi Cab Pitch — ten minutes of non-stop information about your new startup.
You touch on the size of the market, the financial prospects, the business model, the team, your own personal CV and then the product.
You exchange business cards and she gets out at Cipriani’s promising to meet with you next week.
[BTW, the cab driver overhears the conversation and he and a group of angel investors decide to take a $1MM position for 20% of the deal. Hey, it could happen. Haha. ]
The desired outcome is a follow on meeting.
The Big Pitch
So now the big day has arrived. You have been invited to give a Big Pitch to a very capable venture capital group. You have perfected your pitch. You have run it by your mentor who says — “Wow, you have got it perfect. Good luck.”
You have a Power Point — just 12 slides — and you have rehearsed your pitch. Again and again and again. Your 4-year old daughter can repeat substantial parts of it from memory and some to music.
Your co-workers are contemplating getting a couple of the money quotes as tattoos and have set a time to go have a few beers and get a tattoo.
Your pitch touches all the high points. You are on your game and you kill.
Because in addition to perfecting your pitch you did several other small things:
1. You researched the venture capital firm and know with whom you are meeting. You know your audience.
2. You checked their other investments and spoke to one of their portfolio company CEOs and he shared some great insights on the people and the firm.
3. You did a bit of personal grooming and look great in that blazer. Yes, you dressed like your audience. You removed your nose ring. You washed that blue patch out of your otherwise normal hair. You trimmed your nose hairs and you polished your shoes.
4. You did not use the slides as a crutch but guided the conversation and were not afraid to admit when you did not know something.
5. You planned on 15 minutes and got 2 hours and a lunch out of the presentation.
6. You probed for the “trial close” thusly: “So, is this a deal that is within your comfort zone?”
The VC said: “No. But it is perfect for my friend Zoe and I will make a contact between you and her. She will love this deal.”
Oh, you thought you would make it all happen on the first try? Haha, this is a fable, my friend and fables are full of conflict. Life is full of even more conflict.
You will kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Princess or Prince. Yes a lot of frogs, a lot of frog slime and a lot of disappointment.
It Only Takes One Yes
And, so, young startup person, you will become a bit stronger, a bit more jaded, a bit cynical and then you will get that one YES which changes everything.
All the months of toil, all the busy young VCs, all the NO’s — in several different languages to boot — will disappear.
You will arrive at the Promised Land. You will get to YES.
GET TO YES!