Don’t Tell Me About The Labor Pains, Show Me The Baby!
When you are an entrepreneur, you find yourself having to tell your story over and over. Traditionally we have been taught to master an elevator pitch, which certainly has its time and place. When dealing with investors, you have to paint them your master piece, your Sistine chapel! Don’t let them guess or work hard to get to it. Many entrepreneurs are so focused on their mechanism, their how-they-do-what-they-do, that they fail to show them the baby!
A great framework to help you articulate your story is Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s journey. It involves a protagonist who goes on an adventure, wins a decisive victory after a crisis, encounters some more challenges and eventually returns home, transformed. Sounds familiar? From Finding Nemo to Star Wars, you find this narrative in classic literature, movies and even religious texts. Now, don’t get carried away! You are not writing a Hollywood production! Your business plan, pitch deck, etc. still need to be in an investor-grade format (cf. From MVP to VC: Strategic non-starters and how to avoid them).
Investors want to know who you are: The first step in the Hero’s journey is the “ordinary world” where you learn details from the hero’s ordinary life before he starts on his adventure. It anchors the hero as human and gives us a chance to connect. Translated to business: Who are you? Who are the members of your management team? And how will your experiences aid in your success? Are you trustworthy? Are you coachable?
Investors want to know why did you get started: That is the second step “the call to adventure”. What was your call to action? What made you question the status quo or your comfort zone and undertake this quest? Was it a personal experience, a painful memory, a threat to your safety, your family’s?
“The best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.” — Michael Arrington, TechCrunch founder
Investors want to know what your motivation is: Why did you cross the threshold? This is actually the 5th step in the hero’s journey framework as steps 3 & 4 don’t apply here. This is where we discover the protagonist’s commitment to act, to step out of his comfort zone into the unknown. You didn’t choose to work for a company that has a similar cause or purpose, you chose to do it on your own.
In every story, now that you, the hero, is outside of your comfort zone, you are confronted with a series of challenges and tests. You will encounter enemies but also allies. The latter are your early adopters. What’s in it for them? Step outside of your mechanism and shift your perspective 180 degrees to walk in their shoes for a minute. Empathize with your target market. Empathize with your investors. That’s how you will be able to best describe your value and your promise. You will get investors warm and fuzzy, emotionally ready to write that check!
Carine Dieudé is a Partner & Director of Strategy, and Entrepreneurship Aficionado, at Altima Business Solutions: Capital Acquisition, Critical Path, Outsourced CFO, Strategic Selling and Advisory Board, for startup, small and medium-sized businesses.
About the Author: Altima Business Solutions
Our mission is to cultivate and rise entrepreneurs who are creating today’s job given access to capital, expertise, skill and talent. Why? Because it is vital for communities to level up the entrepreneurial scene organically to create and retain technology, talent and attract capital. We provi... Read more
Nathan Kinkead would like to ask you about Marketing
What should I include in a product pitch with a VC?
Supply Chain Management for Makers
I have a really good idea for a product, but where do I start?
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Thanks for the question <a href='https://makersource.io/makers/natekinkead'>[Nathan Kinkead]</a> ! I would be happy to give you some marketing tips. What kind of marketing are you thinking of doing? Digital? Social Media? Advertisements? Print? There are lots of ways you could go! No matter what direction you decide to go though, the first step in marketing is understanding your consumer, who they are, where they are and what they want. After you have a firm grasp on who your customer is, you can figure out what medium, verbage and content will be most appealing to your customer. The key is to persuade them that you have what they want (hopefully, you actually do have it). Like i said before, from there you have many options on how to market your business. I hope this is helpful. I'd be happy to answer a follow up question. My specialization is in digital and social media marketing so, I am best suited for those types. Does anyone else have any tips on marketing?Nathan Kinkead would like to ask you about Marketing
That really depends on what the idea involves, you should do some research to find supporting tools, materials and services that relate to your product idea and just keep them in your bookmarks as you go through various stages of development. If this site takes off, it looks like it could become a pretty good resource for connecting with those providers. Also, getting an early design and prototype prepared is helpful for getting initial investment through sites like kickstarter.I have a really good idea for a product, but where do I start?
It’s incredibility important to start with the understanding investments are not usually made after just one meeting. Unless it’s a pitch competition, he goal of pitching a VC should be to generate interest and follow up questions. Here’s a suggested 11 slide format: - Vision and value proposition - The unique problem you are solving - The economic opportunity and targeted market - What your solution is and why it is unique or better - Your revenue model - Roadmap and what you’ve already accomplished - Your marketing and sales strategy - Who’s going to get you there - your team - Financials/Valuation - Competitive Analysis - How you are going to use the investment you are requestingWhat should I include in a product pitch with a VC?
Ok, that is good to know. So who would be the person to talk to at Avnet regarding supply chain? I'm already a customer of AVID which is an Avnet company. What other parts of the company can help me? Right now, I get the feeling with the buyout of Premier Farnell that the many arms of Avnet doesn't really know what the other arms are doing.Supply Chain Management for Makers