Why you should pitch

I’ve had the pleasure and the pressure of pitching our startup to potential investors. Irrespective of financial implications, here’s why I think it’s a good idea:

1. You have to be insanely clear on your offer

What does your product do, why do your customers love it, and what makes it better than your competition?

That seems like the most obvious question in the world to ask a startup, but how powerful and concise is your answer?

The last time I answered this question, we’d been building Inn Style for nearly three years. I should’ve been able to recite the answer without flinching.

But the after reading how one of my co-founders answered the question, we ended up changing our homepage the very next day. Why? Because his take on our offer provided some remarkable clarity. And his way of expressing the offer made me go “wow – that is what we’ve built”.

2. You have to stand by the bold claims you’re going to make

You’re asking for money. And the values you’re going to be talking about will be by no means insignificant.

And as a result, you’re going to make some terrifically bold claims.

When we pitched Inn Style recently, I remember we wrote down in big letters that our product was built mobile first.

Yes, we’d done some cool stuff with mobile views, but in all honesty parts of the app were atrocious to use on your phone. And thus far from mobile first.

And so we overhauled the entire framework and made it so.

There’s nothing wrong with making bold claims. But if you’re proud of what you do, you’ll make sure you’ll stand by them.

3. You’ll have to be pragmatic about your numbers

Making millions on an Excel spreadsheet is pretty good fun:

Stick a few formulae in: double your userbase, increase your prices, and reduce your churn, and voila – you’ve built the next Basecamp.

But investors are money people. And you won’t bluff your way around the figures.

Be pessimistic. Be critical. Be uncompromising. You’re projections will be smarter because of it. And having realistic targets to chase gives you a real sense of purpose; you won’t be sitting around waiting for the magical tipping point to happen.

 
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