Gary Vaynerchuk: What Entrepreneurs Should Know Before Pitching In 2019

Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and chairman of VaynerX. He holds dozens of startup competitions every year including the WeWork Creator Global event in Los Angeles. He sat down with Forbes magazine to give an insiders perspective on keys and trends to help any purpose-driven founders and startups.

Vaynerchuk says:

I don’t like coming into a pitch night with preconceived notions about who should win, so I actually don’t do much research beforehand. Instead of poring through decks, I first have to be there and listen to the pitch where I ask myself three fundamental questions: Do I think it’s a successful business? And if it’s not, the conversation ends there. But if I do believe in the business idea, I next ask myself whether I believe this person has the capability to drive the mission of the business. The last question is, if things go awry, is this founder also capable of adjusting to that reality and correcting the course? I’m judging the person’s grasp of the technology or industry as well as relying on my decade of experience in Internet investing. It’s a mix of intuition and living in the moment of the founder’s live pitch.

Investing is a two way street, and if investors don’t feel that the founder is at the very least capable of creating and maintaining a successful enterprise, the pitch will be dead in the water.

Vaynerchuk outlines four areas that a startup needs to pay attention to in order to build success.

  • Social Media – founders need to think diversely so as not to be at the mercy of a short term trend.
  • Creating Impact – founders need to be careful about hiding behind the idea of doing good as a PR stunt if they are in a social enterprise. They need to “back up” that they are doing good and creating impact with real numbers.
  • Audience Engagement – Social Media is the oxygen to any startup in 2019. In addition to creating prolific quality content, founders need to be thoughtful about how and to whom their ads are posting.
  • Fundraising – Venture capital, while important, should not be the only source of funding. Look to high-net-worth investors, angel investors, family and friends, as well as startup grants and competitions.

Read more at forbes.com

 

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14 Steps to Take the ‘No Thanks’ out of Your Investor Pitch

‘No Thanks’ is the most common result of venture capital meetings

Sucks but it’s true. VCs are a lot like pro sports clubs. It costs them little to check out schools (incubators), sports camps (tech conferences), and the old fashioned newspaper. It’s in their interest to keep as many prospects on the radar scope as possible. But they will commit financially to an extremely lean percentage.

 

Do you have a project?

Get in touch with Launch Module Media if you’re working on a pitch or business development / marketing initiative. We’d like to hear from you.

So if you’ve got a startup . . .

and you’ve met an investor and she hears your 15-second pitch and says “Sounds great, let’s meet and take a look at your pitch deck” — good right?

Well, it’s better than “Sorry, not interested.” But it doesn’t mean a lot 99% of the time.

Startups in the early stage — pre-revenue, bootstrap, with some friends and family or angel capital — can benefit from some great advice from David Ehrenberg, Founder and CEO of Early Growth Financial Services, excerpted here:

A Potential Investor Says ‘No’ To Your Startup — Now What?

You have done all of your homework. You researched the investor you are pitching. You properly prepared your financials. You practiced and perfected your presentation. Most importantly, you landed a coveted meeting with your target investor. After the meeting is over, the investor passes on your idea. What do you do?

I work with founders and entrepreneurs regularly to prepare them for fundraising. It’s not just about putting together a good elevator pitch. When it comes time for a meeting, founders should make sure their pitch deck is clear and succinct. They need to have the proper financial statements assembled. And finally, they need to speak competently and confidently about the future of their business.

But even with proper preparations and a killer presentation, you may not be able to convince your target to buy in. Read more at forbes.com.

But while this is a nice article for the post-‘No’ letdown and ‘Win or Learn’ set (where a loss is a learning moment, not a bad thing) — what about before the meeting? Did you really prep for it? How many rejections can your startup afford before the burn rate closes in and shuts you down?

Are there some things you can do to go in to an investor meet with a stronger fighting chance? Here are a few things to consider:

The Pitch Deck

1. Unless you are in Series A or later (~$2.5M+), keep it short. 10 content slides and a cover.

2. Google “investor pitch deck template.” Grab a few free blanks, example templates, real world decks like AirBnB’s. Read and examine them carefully. Then throw them in the garbage can.

3. From your research, construct a slide outline not exceeding 12 slides.

4. Work the narrative. Find market data. Work your vision statement or Big Idea. Make bold projections. Cite and support them as much as possible. Talk about your founding team. Talk about what they’ve done in the real world. What they will do in your startup in a projected simulation of the future — no one cares.

5. Hire a designer if you have a couple of few grand to spend. If you have $500, do the work yourself and take the team out for a strategy dinner instead.

The Meeting

6. Allow plenty of travel time. Arrive early. Keep the rhetorical chit chat to a minimum. (The writer of this post sucks at this.)

7. In advance of the meet, rehearse your pitch (using the deck as a guide, not a script) in front of your founding team and advisors.

8. Rehearse your pitch in front of friends and family.

9. Rehearse your pitch in front of 3 people who don’t like you and whom you don’t like. Our enemies teach us more than our friends.

10. Rehearse your pitch in front of 5 perfect strangers. Airports are perfect. You are allowed to buy drinks for persuasion but don’t give away equity points.

11. Dress well. If you wear shineable shoes, shine them. Or better yet have them shined. Do not forget to dress the edges.

12. Do your tech diligence. It’s better to show with nicely printed and bound decks than to waste precious minutes fracking about with laptops and overhead projection. Be cool. Be confident. Pursue an air of inevitability. Check your watch at the end. (You have another meeting scheduled). At the appointed time, leave at once.

The Book(s)

13. Read Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff.

14. There are legions of other startup books out there. Read them. Learn to treat your startup as a business, not a charity, from the outset. Do good with your coveted capital.

You are the new stock market. Get out there and save the world with your genius. The cure for global warming will be a startup. The space race is all startups all the way up. Drinking water for the Third World. Startups. You get the picture.

Salut.

____________________

✍ Erik Johnson is the founder and director of Launch Module Media based in New York City.

Featured image via Shutterstock and select article content courtesy of forbes.com.