I was lucky enough to be on a judging panel at Melbourne University with David Clarke the CEO of Webjet. A $500m company which he founded, floated and built. After the students gave their business pitches (the subject was Internet Marketing) he gave a simple closing speech with some poignant insights. Here’s a snippet.
“The internet is very seductive and has the capacity to hijack rational thought. There is a real disconnect between the on-line and real world. The trick is to connect the two. And the way that is usually done is through speed and cost advantage.”
For those of my blog readers already locked and loaded for startup school – Good News.
For those thinking about coming long – Another great reason to join us.
The uber terrific Yvonne Adele from at Ideas Culture has just joined us for the 2 events. She will be facilitating and helping us out through the two days. But don’t think she’ll just be giving the intro’s and outro’s – she’ll be giving us her spin on creativity and ideas, as well as getting us pumped up, motivated and thinking. Which will also blow our minds!
So, if you’ve been on the edge of booking startup school. Time to get moving. The Melbourne event is about to close the door with only a couple of seats left. And Sydney is filling quickly.
Feel free to contact me if you have any queries and want to chat in more detail about it on 0438 779566. Steve.
While watching the BBC television show the Dragons Den, quite often the ‘Dragons’ laugh at a business concept they are presented with and think it is ridiculous.
Here’s the one thing that makes them eat their words every time:
Sales figures. Revenue, Customers, Repeat orders.
It’s only then they change their view from ‘not interested‘, to ‘I’m listening‘.
If you ever want to get investors interested, go see them once you’ve got sales. When you have revenue coming in it puts the kibosh on negative opinions. In addition, it increases value of your business and reduces the percentage you’d have to give away for a cash investment.
The other day I was involved in pitching my business rentoid.com – I wanted to stay true to my beliefs and present a largely visual presentation to what I expected was an ‘info hungry’ crowd. The type who don’t mind a page full of words and numbers. My rule was no more than 6 words per slide. Some had only 2.
I think the format is pretty useful, so I thought I’d share it. Basically in each chart just change the word ‘rentoid’ and insert ‘your business’ and I think it would be just fine. It was for a pitching competition (I know they seem to be the trend of the day) and we made it to the final after a few stages so I guess it’s a method which has worked. It’s only 5 slides. I think talking to pictures works because it makes people listen, not read, and it shows you know your business.
Here’s some simple advice when seeking investors for your startup.
Never use the words ‘The Next’…
Regardless of the uber successful business which follows these two words it just isn’t going to happen. For two reasons. The first is our probability of being this successful is almost non existent. Secondly if we are this successful, we wont be the next, but something new.
The main point is when people use the words the next, they lose credibility. And when someone says it to me regarding their new business venture, I find it hard to believe anything they say after that.
We need to make our sentences as short as possible when trying to engage anyone that matters in a business. Investors, customers, retailers.
So our short sentences should appear in our pitch, our copy writing and our video communication
So how could I possibly make this sentence any shorter than it is?
How could I make this sentence any shorter?
Could I make this sentence shorter?
Could I make this shorter?
This is shorter still.
People are very time poor, or maybe just a little impatient. Regardless of which it is we have to be able to tell our story quickly.
Vanguard Investments do it in 2 seconds. Click here to see how they do it. (Watch the animation)
Even this chart below tells the story on long term ‘index’ investing. Of which Vanguard are the founding forefathers.
The recent downturn is a best a ‘blip’.
How long does your startup story take to tell? Here’s a tip – we’ve got a few seconds at most.
Maybe you’re a great web designer
Maybe you’re a great coder
Maybe you’re a financial wizard
Maybe you’ve got a flair for industrial design
Maybe you’re a craftsman with unique skills
Maybe you’re great at managing and building a supply chain.
Maybe selling isn’t something you enjoy, like or even care about. Maybe making presentations is the part of business that really isn’t your thing.
Problem is this: There’s plenty of great ideas, businesses and people who never reached their full potential because the selling bit was missing.
Step forward the ‘Sandwich man’
Startup blog definition: Sandwich Man – a gun presenter and public communicator who presents the ideas and sells the dream on behalf of the business.
A sandwich man is called such, because he holds together all the good things like the bread does on a yummy sandwich. Without him all the ingredients, nutrition, ‘reason for being’ could all fall away.
A good sandwich man would start and close any business presentation to people like venture capitalists, suppliers, key accounts, customers and the media.
Quite often successful businesses are run by a team where one of the members is the tech genius and the other is the Sandwich Man. Who then communicates the ideas and vision to get people on board. Rarely people are lucky enough to have both skill sets. Regardless of which skill set we have, we always need a sandwich man. We can even bring one into the team on a needs basis.
But without one, we may end up with a great product or business which never gets the traction it deserves.
Below is an elevator pitch ‘workshop’ I gave for the ‘Agents of change‘ entrepreneurs club of Melbourne University. The video below is the one of 6 x 10 minute videos. The first (the one below) includes an ‘example’ pitch I did for rentoid – then has ‘alot’ of questions and answers. The last of the videos, workshop 6 – all of which are here has some ideas on great pitcing practice.
It’s kind of long, but the largely due to the discussion afterwards!