And by RE I mean Renaissance Entrepreneur, a term coined and slightly explored in the previous post of this blog.
I'm sure many people who read this have already read Guy Kawasaki's famous 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint; in case you haven't - you must. When creating a presentation, especially when that presentation is aimed at venture capital funds, these rules must apply.
I have often found that presenting an idea, from an entrepreneur's standpoint, requires quite a lot of energy on the presenter's part - and this is even before she has actually set foot in the conference room. Constructing a good presentation is a journey, one that challenges and demands focus. The constant battle that rages inside the entrepreneur's mind - belief vs. doubt, vision vs. practicality - often serves as a frustrating inhibitor.
A pitch, delivered through a presentation, is probably the most important instrument used to create a positive first impression, and we all know that there's no second chance to make a first impression. When a potential investor meets you, and allows you to present to her with your idea, she often looks to see certain things, both in the presentation itself, but most importantly in you as a founder.
With the four elements of the renaissance entrepreneur in mind, we can now divide the presentation into corresponding 4 sections, each representing a different aspect of the business. This division has helped me get into the right mindset when both creating and presenting my pitch.
- Vision. Naturally, investors want to be inspired by your passion, and to see the visionary in you. This is the part where you show your vision and creativity. It is where you describe the general vision of the product, the need that exists in the world for it, and the way your product addresses that need. So this basically covers slides that discuss the overview, the problem and the solution.
- Analysis. Vision has to be backed up by facts, and this is the time to get into the analyst's head and do your homework. It's quite hard to rebound from unanswered investor questions that show how poor your research has been. Work hard on acquiring all the data to construct slides discussing the market, opportunity and competition.
- Business. Now it's time to show how money's being made, and where the businessman in you should emerge. That side of your personality should combine the things said by the visionary and the analyst into a business, showing slides about the business model and the projections of your business.
- Management. Finally, you should make sure your audience knows that the money they are asked to give you will be used by professional managers. Your investors expect to see you as a person who can handle a team, and work with a budget and a roadmap. With this thought in mind, show slides covering the team (including the professional advisers you employ), budget (how wisely you will spend their money), your planned roadmap and current status.
I suggest you divide both your work and your presentation into 4 parts, each corresponding to the 4 personalities of the renaissance entrepreneur as described before. When creating the pitch and presentation, do your best to work on each part individually, so you may both be placed in the right mindset to accomplish your goal, and not be bothered by other sides of your personality barging in. For example - when polishing your vision slides, the manager in you needs to keep quiet.
When pitching in front of people, it is good to switch between the different personalities according to the subject matter being discussed. If the audience wishes to discuss the business model, try conducting a conversation as a businessman, and not as a visionary. The order of your presentation slides could also be governed by that principle, allowing you to change the manner of your presentation in an orderly fashion, instead of being all over the place.