Tag Archives: advice

Tips on putting together an investor pitch

Last week, I worked with one of my clients to put together an investor pitch. I thought I’d share some best practices based on feedback that was provided by various entrepreneurs and investors.

1. Make sure you are able to describe the “who” or “what” your company is on one slide – in 30 seconds or less. Make sure your audiences gets it right away.

2. Define your customer, their current problems and how your company solves those problems.

3. Identify who your competitors are and how your company has an advantage over the competition.

4. Make it clear as to how you will make money and what you will do with the investment funds (i.e marketing, product development, operational costs, etc.).

5. Explain who your management team is and what their experience has been to date – make it relevant to your business.

6. Provide an executive summary on one page, which highlights the key elements that your potential investors will want to know.

Overall, make sure the presentation is clear, concise and that you stick to around 10 slides. Get to the point early and continue to edit your slides down until there isn’t a lot of “fluff” left over – you can always speak to the fluff instead of having it on the slide.

In addition, here is a video of Guy Kawasaki speaking about what he, as a potential investor, would want to see from a pitch:

Listen to your gut – you already know the answer

While I am dedicated to writing about digital media and online advertising trends in Canada, I had to share this personal story with you. Last week, I went for coffee with a former colleague of mine who is currently at a crossroads in her career. She wanted some honest input and advice on what I thought about her situation. I told her that the one thing that she must ultimately do is listen to her gut.

Too many people ignore their instincts and end up disappointed with their decisions because they did not listen to their gut in the first place. I had to learn this lesson the hard way about a year ago when I made a decision to take a job that I knew was the wrong step in my career. I’m glad that I took the chance but soon realized that I had ultimately ignored what I knew was a wrong step. I made the bold move to quickly get out of that situation – a decision that my gut was very happy with in the end.

Looking back, the hard lesson that I needed to learn was ultimately necessary for me to move on to another path that I had never even considered. I have also learned to never ignore my gut again because it definitely knows more than I give it credit. Although I am taking a big chance to become a freelancer and explore a few avenues that I am passionate about, my gut is truly happy with the risk that I am now taking. Therefore, I know that it is the right decision because my “all and powerful gut” is happy.

My wish for anyone who comes across this blog is that you make the same decisions that satisfy your instincts as well. You are wiser than you think!

Networking Advice From Some of Toronto’s Digital Media Entrepreneurs

photo illustrate networking - tin cans with a stringIn the past month or so, I’ve been out gathering advice on how to network effectively as a freelancer to grow my list of potential clients.  I’ve received some truly invaluable advice from a number of digital media entrepreneurs in Toronto – you all know who you are!  I figure that there must be others out there who are in the same position as I am.  So, I thought I’d share some of the pearls of wisdom that I have received to date.

1) The 3 Feet Rule and/or Talk to Anyone Who Will Give You an Hour of Their Time

The first part of this tip is the idea that if anyone is standing within 3 feet of you at a party or an event, talk to them about what you do and what you are trying to accomplish.  It’s so surprising how this sparks other people’s ideas and you’ll either get great new perspectives on what to do, or people will share names and contact info of other people with whom you may want to speak.  The second part of this tip is that if someone is willing to give you an hour of their time to share their advice and insight, take it!  They say that the best listeners get the best advice. So, if you don’t go out and listen to what others in your industry have to say, you’re not going to get any new leads, advice or ideas to move you on to the next step in your journey.

2) Social Media is the New Cold Call – Be Easy to Find Online
I’m still pretty new to the world of social media but I have read a lot lately about the notion that social media is the new cold call.  If you are properly focused on who your target customer is and are sharing ideas and information that is of interest to them, they will eventually contact you. A great resource for learning how to do this properly and to get found online is a book called Inbound Marketing. I have already started to meet some really interesting and inspiring people through this platform and can already see how it is beneficial.  The other piece of advice that I have learned is to definitely take your online social networking relationships offline and meet with these people face to face – this goes back to tip #1.

3) The Ripple Effect – Be Grateful and Help Others
I had a great conversation with someone today who told me that by constantly helping others with their business and seeking out new connections, you are building up a network of people who will help you in return.  Of course, you should be doing this because you want to help – don’t do it just for the sake of wanting anything else in return.

4) Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch – Sometimes Your Chicken Will Cross the Road
I learned this rule the hard way when I met with one of my first potential clients.  I thought I had a potential contract in the bag and so I slowed down on my networking for a while and focused on what I was going to do for that client.  Two weeks later, when I still hadn’t heard back from the client, I followed up and discovered that he had left the company.  I had counted on that chicken and was kinda blind-sided when I found out that he had crossed the road – lesson learned!  This reminded me that a freelancer should always be networking – never slow down unless you have a contract in hand.

5) Learn From Others’ Mistakes
This again goes back to point #1.  When you’re out talking to others who might be able to share tips and advice on how they have been successful in your field, definitely ask them about what mistakes they’ve made along the way.  Again, one of the people who I spoke with recently told me that entrepreneurs should be comfortable with failure.  However, he told me that there is no reason to be making the same mistakes that other people have already made – if you can avoid it.  Find out how other people have failed and learn from them so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

If you come across this blog and have other pearls of wisdom that you’d like to share – definitely post a comment and let’s help each other out ;)