Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and sat through more pitch sessions than I care to mention. As an investor, I want to know if I can make money from this investment – Is there a differentiated product solving an unmet need in a sizable, growing market? Is there a defensible position? Does the business model make sense? Can this team execute?
Sitting through pitches, there often comes an ugh moment. A moment when the entrepreneur says something in the pitch that makes everyone in the room groan. This is the time when we start checking our emails on phones.
Pitching to Investors – 5 Things You Should Never Say To An Angel
Here are a few things you should never say during a pitch –
We have no competition.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this one. And I can’t speak for all investors, but when I hear this, I think there are 3 possible scenarios. First, you are so f@#king brilliant that no one has ever thought of this idea, there’s a reason there’s no competition, or you don’t understand the competitive landscape.
We give it away to gain market share.
A customer is not a customer unless they pay for it. . Sometimes, this is conveyed as “User experience is more important than monetization, right now.” But, ultimately, user experience isn’t going to pay the bills; paying customers are!
The numbers will take care of themselves.
If you don’t understand the numbers, you don’t understand business. The numbers speak to break even, capital needs, pricing, margins, and ultimately profitability.
We need to capture 2% of the market.
This suggests you haven’t clearly defined an unmet need in a marketplace. If you understand your customer needs, it’s not about the percentage of some perceived market.
Everyone needs our product.
No, they don’t. There are likely many viable options in the market depending on each need. Some clients will forgo quality savings; some are early adopters, don’t have the capital, etc. I want to know about your target demographic and why this product uniquely solves a problem they have.
In conclusion –
Ultimately your job is to convince us how we are all going to make money with this business. To do so, you need to explain who is your customer, what they want, why your product solves this need when others can’t, why your team can deliver on this promise, and what this means as a market opportunity. Then, you’ve caught our attention.