103. Talk to Your Slides

VC Minute
You know your business so well, that you personally don't need visuals to explain it. But your audience doesn't share your knowledge.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

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Last season on episode 28, I talked about having two decks, a send-ahead deck and a full deck with deep appendices.

Two of the best pitches we’ve ever taken from founders were with extensive decks. It’s not just that they thought through their business so deeply to have a slide for nearly every question. Though that certainly helps. It’s more that they use visuals to answer questions, explain clearly, and cement the learning.

At the root of the problem here is that you know your industry and your business so well, that you personally don’t need visuals to explain it. You can just talk through it in your head. I can not get inside your head. I don’t have this information or this knowledge that you have.

Even for a vertically focused fund, like SpringTime, I don’t know the ins and outs of every subsector. And I certainly don’t know exactly how you plan to execute within your business. But I need to know these things if I’m going to evaluate the business.

When I don’t understand how something works, it helps so much to have a visual, a flow chart, a process map, a feature review, anything to augment the answer you’re giving me.

It’s so intuitive for you that you don’t need slides, but your audience does.

When a question comes up in a pitch meeting, I think about which slide in your deck can answer that question. And use it.

And if you don’t have a slide for that question, add one after the meeting, because you’ll probably get that question again. VCs are all asking the same questions anyway, am I right?

Think about it another way, if you can show how something works in your industry or with your solution or the problem that you’re facing. We can cover it quickly and then go one level deeper and talk about the why. Why is this a problem? Why is your solution the right solution? Why is the industry like this? That is the level of conversation you want to get to.

Don’t spin your wheels talking about the what and the how. Show that. And then talk about the why.

Remember my fundamental fundraising advice: don’t make me think; don’t make me work. If I have to work to understand your answers, you’ve probably lost me.

Your audience does not know your business as well as you do. Build a great deck and use it to answer your questions.

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