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Why do you do what you do? And why should investors care?
Your “why” provides focus not only for your presentation or pitch but for your business. It gives you and your team something to lean on when times get tough when there is a difficult decision to make, or when you’re in front of an investor and are starting to get nervous.
If you got to discover your “why” or put more thought into how to articulate it, consider this: what are the values being reflected in your business? Values such as integrity, joy, curiosity, freedom, and creativity nobly drive us toward our goals. Lean on these values. Confidence comes from knowing who you are and why you are in front of this investor.
Ask yourself, “Who is my audience?” and really home in on what’s at stake for them, as it can vary depending on the type of investor you’re speaking with. For example, an angel investor is likely using their own money — if they don’t invest in your business, they may choose to invest in the stock market, or they may even decide to take a nicer vacation. A venture capitalist is using someone else’s money; they have a fiduciary duty to do the job for which they are getting paid. A limited partner is also using someone else’s money, and they are likely only salaried, so their interest is completely different. Presentations made to each of these audiences should be focused on what’s important to them.
Not only should you put yourself in your audience member’s shoes to speak to what’s most relevant to them, but you should also seek commonality with them. Emotional connection ultimately comes from commonality, and the more specific, the better. For example, at the beginning of the Wuhan shutdowns, we all felt disoriented, but practically speaking, most of us had to find a new location to work (probably a dining table in our kitchen) that wasn’t as comfortable as our usual space. In networking meetings and presentations, speakers who commented on their back or neck pain immediately gained Brownie Points with the audience for talking about a specific commonality many of us were experiencing. Other commonalities could be colleges or universities attended, community involvement, or hobbies such as gardening, sports watching, or wine/whiskey drinking. Don’t be afraid to jump into these things, as they can serve to strengthen your bond.
The impact your business makes on your community could take you back to your “why,” and in a way, it should. There is nothing wrong with seeking to make money, but many investors want to know you will make them money by improving society in some way.
If you ask yourself these three questions before that investor pitch or meeting, you’ll be more likely to have confidence in what you do, resonance in what you say, and influence when you deliver. You might just hear the word “yes” from investors more often.
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