My grandmother, who passed away last year was an amazing story teller. I remember the hundreds of stories she would tell me as I grew up. She even wrote several books that were collections of children’s stories from around the world.

Why does this matter in pitching your company?

Because without story, you have nothing.

Think of your pitch as having a beginning, middle and an end. It should be a story of triumph filled with passion and vision. A story that tells the tale of belonging and battle.

Dont believe your pitch should have the same elements as the greatest stories ever told? Then you are missing out on the key ingredient to a powerful pitch, because a story will allow potential investors to relate to you and your company.

Couple of key points: This is not for your 30sec pitch (you can compress the story, but the truth is that a 30sec pitch is just problem + market + solution. – “Mismatched socks cause 5% of all employee firings. Socks.io allows people to ensure that their socks are matched correctly before they leave the house, eliminating the embarrassment and saving jobs.”)

Beginning

Why did you start this business? What about the problem compelled you to act? In the beginning, you need to set the stage. Explain the genesis of the idea and why you are passionate about it. (Notice I never said solution. That will come later.)

“I have two dogs at home, and they were truly difficult to train. I constantly wished I could have a trainer in the house with me when the dogs would bark at the door or do other things that were inappropriate. Clearly, I wasnt doing a great job of training them. After doing a little research, I found that the pet market is more than $41 billion in size, and even so, there was no great in-house training solution. So rather than give the dogs away, I built PetTrainer.ly.”

Analysis: The connection point is around training dogs.  Everyone with a dog had to 1) train them; and 2) can’t understand why their dog does XXX everyday. The difficulty with this pitch is if the investor isnt an “animal person” you may find that you have immediately turned them off. Hence the importance of research into whom you want to pitch.

Middle

This is the meat. This is the section where you tell the story about the market size, the opportunity. The business itself, and your secret sauce. How are you going to change the world? What is the benefit of having this investor?

Spend the most time in the middle of the story, and allow for the most questions during this time.

“Most people dont realize how important it is to be able to zombify your parents. With the rising cost of health care, its less of a burden to have a zombie mom and dad versus parents that continue to burden their children. With the market standing at $50billion dollars, our ZombieParen.ts creates a unique delivery mechanism by putting Zombie Juice inside denture cream. Over the course of a few months, elder parents no longer desire food or need costly medicines.

We have also figured out how to deal with the brains problem. We have developed in conjunction with Zombie Juice, a wide range of synthetic brains, which really allows us to sell the razor cheaply and make our money on the blades.

To date, we have 10,000 Zombies in our system, buying on average 10 brains a month at $5 a brain. We are growing at a rate of 40% month over month, and with our upcoming Facebook and Android apps, we expect that number to double. We havent built an iOS app yet, given most iOS users have clearly lost their minds.”

Analysis: Zombie brains? Really? In this case the story is a big market and a business model based on reoccurring revenue. If you are talking to investors that dont shy away from physical products, and have been successful with the Gillette model, they now have enough information to ask solid questions and get a good feel for what the business could be, and how they could generate returns from the business. More importantly, it helps the investor understand how you are thinking about the business, and if they can trust you to steward the business.

The end

The end is the easiest part. Ask for what you want and why you want it, and then be quiet. Let the first question come from the investor. Let them absorb your pitch, your story and your ask, and then, let them respond.

“We need approximately $500,000 to fund about a year with 4 employees including myself. That will get us to the next milestone, which will be 50,000 cats herded on a monthly basis. At that point, we will probably have to raise a bit more money.”

And, thats it.

Step One was find the right people to tell the story to. Step Two is tell an interesting story. Step Three will start to cover the demo itself.

Next Post: Pitch Perfect – Demoing

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