Pitchdecks are important because they help you learn and understand about yourself; its the same as when you have to teach someone something you already know. Can you describe what is in your head? What is the most important thing you are working on? Small pitch events can enable to start-up to really polish their message and not surprisingly when you are forced to explain yourself in three to five minutes things become simplified, quick. On the west coast there is a huge emphasis on pitchdecks but despite slaving for hours on making great visuals and bullet points the reality is that pitchdecks don’t write checks, people do.
The biggest value of pitchdecks are the excuse to collaborate with someone who could be a wealth of information. Someone more seasoned, has raised money, sold a company or judged pitch events now has an reason to help you and there is an opportunity for bonding. Seize it!
All told though pitchdecks and spreadsheets never close a round, in fact the more documentation a potential investor asks for the less you should give and here’s why: they don’t trust you. Running a start-up is a huge risk and there is not a spreadsheet in the world that can contradict a known fact which is most start-ups will fail in the first year. That isn’t to say spreadsheets are a waste of time but they can be distracting from what really matters which is the relationship with an investor. Do you like them? Do they like you? Is there trust? Find out their concern and resolve it without numbers.
Every entrepreneurs pushes themselves to the max and when things get tight grinding away at reports and plans seem logical when actually its an emotional reaction. Teamwork is the best way to work through an issue and revealing a weakness to a potential investor might just be what saves the day. Early on in our journey as a start-up a major VC and friend gave me advice about finding the right investors “Yes, but do they care about your SOUL?”
There is more to be said about getting fresh air and new perspectives. Raising money is tough but stop for a minute, look around, and figure out which relationships are worth building upon because ultimately those will invest in your company, not a powerpoint.
(This article is part of a series by our resident SocialTimes entrepreneur, Ellie Cachette. Cachette is the founder of ConsumerBell and also writes on topics covering Consumer Web. For more articles by Ellie, click here )