You have already had one (or likely multiple) meetings with a subset of a firm’s investment team, including a principal and perhaps a general partner. You’ve impressed your point person (or people) sufficiently so that you have been invited to present to the broader partnership. What do you do now? Here are five things to keep in mind.
1. Focus on Style, Not Just Substance
This may sound counterintuitive. However, if you have been asked to come in and present to the full partnership, you have already done a good job defining, defending and articulating your business plan, and addressing many questions and concerns. Your initial contacts from the firm have likely already written up one or more memos introducing your company, and have had multiple internal discussions about your company’s compelling prospective investment.
Now it's showtime! Most likely, the partnership will already be familiar with the facts around your team, market, business model, product, customers, competition and financial projections. They are now looking for the “X factor” — your ability to present with pizzazz, to capture and sustain the attention of the room, to project a degree of informed enthusiasm and to showcase your natural leadership and sales abilities with a healthy spark of charisma.
2. Balance Confidence With Thoughtful Introspection
You know your business better than anyone else. It is important for you to project confidence and conviction around the viability, magnitude and trajectory of your business. It is the job of those in the room to challenge your assumptions or to present perspectives that counter your thesis. It is your job to respectfully but credibly convey what you are doing and how you will actualize your plan.
At the same time, be introspective. The best CEOs and entrepreneurs know their strengths but also recognize where they need help.