I’ve listened to quite a few entrepreneurs pitch for investment. Some manage to destroy their chances before they’ve finished – in spite of a great proposition.
I blame Dragon’s Den. That programme – as entertaining as it is – has created the fantasy of the impoverished entrepreneur going, cap in hand, to the mighty capitalist investor, begging for scraps.
No wonder they’re so nervous: shaking, sweating, forgetting their lines… which all makes for great TV.
And this popular impression has been reinforced by many Reality Shows which peddle the notion that:
Passion alone will get you what you want
Now that may or may not be true, but the effect on investment pitches can be disastrous. Even when the proposition is a good one.
Of course investors want passion, but they also want a keen business mind that is on top of all the facts and figures. And they want an attractive proposition. Pretty obvious really, but some wannabe entrepreneurs just don’t get it.
And the result is a pitch that is full of passion and determination… and little else.
This creates 2 impressions:
- It smacks of desperation – not a great USP
- It can suggest that the entrepreneur is compensating for perceived weakness in either him/herself, or the proposition, or both
Any decent investor will sniff this out pretty quickly – and, unlike Dragon’s Den, politely.
So forget passion – that’s right, forget it.
You, the entrepreneur, don’t need to worry about it. Passion is similar to Charisma – if you try to project it, you end up looking silly. You need to channel your passion into knowing the product/service and its markets inside out and creating a compelling case for investing in it. If you put the passion into the business case, it will shine through your pitch.
And until you’ve done that you would be well advised to steer well clear of any Dragons…with a passion.Tags: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, pitching for investment