Show Me The Money: #1 Tip For Pitching Investors
What’s the #1 improvement founders can make to their pitch? Talk MORE about money. Here are two amazing examples of pitches that #nailedit!Read More
What’s the #1 improvement founders can make to their pitch? Talk MORE about money. Here are two amazing examples of pitches that #nailedit!Read More
What’s the #1 improvement founders can make to their pitch?
Talk MORE about money.
Talk about it early. Talk about it often.
This is especially true if you’re working in an industry or on a problem that most VCs don’t know or understand.
What do I mean?
A pitch equals 1000 O’Daily words.
Here are two amazing examples of pitches that #nailedit!
Kara Smith Brown gives my favorite example.**
Here’s the pitch:
It’s a product used by half of the world’s population.
For 40 years of their life.
7 days per month.
5-10 times per day.
No innovation in 50 years.
Every investor’s brain rn: HOW CAN I BE A PART OF THAT CASH COW????
What’s the product?
Dollar signs win over nervous laughter.
(Yes, women investors understand this problem but talking periods in a biz meeting is not the norm.)
Look at all the period products companies that have sprung up in the past 5 years. Someone figured out how to TALK ABOUT THE MONEY.
Kara experimentally pitched this to a group of men. All were leaning in and nodding after hearing the economics of the business.
Explain The Money to capture your audience.
**NOTE: Kara doesn’t even own a period products company. She is the CEO of a supply chain lead gen firm. She is simply incredible at business and pitching.
Another great insight from Kara: talk more about revenue!!
She opened by spending 2 minutes explaining the Instagram thrift market and how much money is being made every year in this space.
I don’t know much about Insta thrifting. As a Millennial geezer, I stick to Goodwill and ThredUp.
Without that opening TAM/SAM/SOM slide showing billions of dollars, I might have thought it was small potatoes and started brainstorming bigger markets for a talented entrepreneur like Valeria.
Hundreds of millions of dollars grabbed my attention.
She then flowed into more great data points:
It was a fantastic pitch that led with The Money. It made all the difference!
“The Money” is:
“The Money” is not:
Translate your company into the universal language of business → 💰DOLLARS💰
Grab the attention of an investor by showcasing how big the opportunity is early and often!
Want more tips on pitching, fundraising, and what investors care about?
What’s been most effective when you’re pitching? Any fun or creative ways to talk about The Money that have worked well for you?
How do you decide if a new opportunity, idea, or customer segment is worth pursuing? A tactic used by successful entrepreneurs is to make a hypothesis. Here’s how it works…Read More
How do you decide if a new opportunity, new idea, or customer segment is worth pursuing?
This comes up in every stage of every company!
New ideas trigger a decision point: should we spend time on this?
Another tactic used by successful entrepreneurs is to make a hypothesis.
Here’s how it works…
Write it down. What is the high level concept you’re testing?
I hypothesize that this channel could help us reach more customers.
I hypothesize that our product could also help this customer segment.
I hypothesize this type of internal stakeholder is a more likely buyer.
Writing it down helps you get crystal clear on the next step…
If the hypothesis is correct, how will you know? What do you expect to happen if you’re right?
Identify a benchmark and make it SMART.
We will close 2 deals within 2 months through this channel.
We will create $100,000 of pipeline within this customer segment.
We will get over 1000 likes on this social post if the messaging resonates.
The odds of this exact benchmark happening are zero 😁
Results are usually a shade of gray and a judgement call.
BUT — having an idea in your head of what “success” looks like is important. It provides an anchor and accountability.
How will you test the hypothesis?
We will do 5 blog posts and 5 social posts targeted to this new market.
We will dedicate 10 hrs/wk of a current SDR to call on this customer segment.
We will send an email campaign to this stakeholder.
We will do 20 customer discovery calls with this new persona.
Get specific. Use a priority spreadsheet if needed.
Beware of “doing good stuff” that feels productive but doesn’t quite align to your hypothesis. Time will pass but you won’t be closer to a clear result.
How long are you willing to test?
Before you start, decide when you will evaluate the test results. This is key for accountability and to avoid “just-one-more-week” syndrome.
I will schedule a calendar reminder for 6 weeks out.
I will schedule a meeting with an advisor for the deadline to be a sounding board.
I will align this with quarterly goals and tracking.
I will evaluate after talking to 25 customers.
Arguably the hardest step — was the hypothesis right or wrong? What did you learn?
One challenge is that “data” or “results” are rarely clear cut:
Some customers said x, some said y, some said z.
More deals closed but not as many as we thought.
We got 800 social shares but did not hit our 1000 goal.
Understand and watch out for confirmation bias. Being honest with yourself, even when it’s hard, gets you closer to the right path faster!
Having trouble getting clarity on your hypothesis?
Talk it over with a trusted resource, trust your gut, or come up with a new hypothesis to test!
Show me a great entrepreneur and I’ll show you someone who is testing ideas.
Whether intentional or subconscious, top entrepreneurs use the hypothesis method constantly.
They look at data, listen to customers, see what the market tells them, and adjust rapidly.
Identify your hypothesis to quickly and consistently find the signal through the noise!
Do you use the hypothesis method, either intentionally or subconsciously? How do you know if an idea is worth pursuing?
I often get asked, “Which customer group should I focus on?” or “Do you think this new segment could be an opportunity?” The bullseye is a great framework to clarify your focus.Read More
Focus is key to build a great business.
But how do you focus when…
The very nature of those activities means many ideas pulling you in different directions!!
I often get questions from entrepreneurs like:
“Which customer group should I focus on?”
“Our tool could work here OR here. How do I decide?”
“This segment/industry/trend is an opportunity for us. What do you think?”
The “bullseye” is a great framework to provide clarity and focus.
I’ll explain how to use it when you have customers or in the early stages!
Picture a good ole fashioned archery target, dart board, or business stock photo. Now, think about your customer base.
If you’re testing authentic demand or figuring out product market fit, you can still use a bullseye framework.
When I get a question like, “Should I focus on XYZ…?”, I share the bullseye framework. It almost always results in an "aha” moment.
Because founders know their priorities, market, and highest potential options.
The bullseye is a quick, actionable framework to pull the info out of their big, creative brains!
What’s your favorite framework for getting clarity? How did you figure out who your target customers were?
The O’Daily is a toddler. “No” is our favorite word! Here’s 4 more, totally fresh ways to say no...which is really saying YES to your highest goals!Read More
The O’Daily is a toddler.
“No” is our favorite word!
We talk about:
As someone who loves to say yes, I am forever researching and practicing “no.”
I learn, you learn.
Here’s 4 more, totally fresh ways to say no.
Which is really saying YES…to your priorities, deep work, and highest goals!
No explanation needed. It could be a customer meeting or a nap.
I usually follow it up with a friendly “feel free to proceed without me” or “would xyz work?”
It saves you time and energy of trying to explain why you can’t.
It’s hard to manage your time if you need a “good” reason to say no or explain your busyness.
A friend shared this tip and she said no one has ever asked her to justify her conflict.
Another pro-level phrase I learned recently.
If something doesn’t need a call or meeting, keep it friendly, helpful, and asynchronous.
For certain meetings (usually folks looking for startup jobs), I find myself sharing the same resources every time. I’ve started sending job boards or job openings via email and keeping their resume on file in lieu of a 30 minute get-to-know-you meeting.
Can’t stomach saying no without a really good reason?
Schedule out your most important priorities and leverage non-negotiable commitments.
Important personal and professional commitments create built-in, default boundaries.
For me, triathlon training was a great forcing function for healthy habits and time management. Now, with kids, daycare drop off, family dinners, and sport practices are natural time constraints that force me to prioritize.
Want boundaries without feeling overscheduled?
Another strategy is to make rules about your time:
It may seem arbitrary or artificial but over time it will become automatic and non-negotiable.
Anyone who values time, efficiency, and deep work (aka most people!) will understand and respect it.
What other phrases do you use to say no while still being polite?
Deep work, time to strategize, and general brainstorming are critical for founders but it can feel impossible to find the time. Here are 5 strategies to protect your time and be in fewer meetings.Read More
I’d like to spend more of my time in meetings…
Said no founder ever!
Deep work, time to strategize, and general brainstorming are critical for founders but it can feel impossible to find the time.
Here are 5 strategies to protect your time and be in fewer meetings.
Guard it religiously. Call it something awesome like, Freestyle Friday or Yoursday Thursday (used by Pardot and Rigor, respectively).
Can’t do a full day?
Figure out your most productive time of day and block that off for 2-3 days per week.
Do you need 30 minutes or could you get it done in 20? Challenge yourself to be more efficient.
I host 15 min founder calls. (Sign up here!) It may seem short but we have time for small talk, intros, a pitch, 1-2 strategic questions, and next steps.
Never underestimate the efficiency of motivated, busy folks!
Take a hard look at your meetings. Are they all truly necessary?
Can some be emails, Slack conversations, phone calls, or scrapped altogether?
Can you empower someone to decide without you or handle on their own?
Nothing is worse than a day with 30 minutes between every meeting! Keep your meetings back-to-back or with only 5-15 minutes in between.
Set up your Calendly to offer only certain hours of availability (in line with your no-meeting day, of course).
I also like the one-off meeting feature to schedule a high priority meeting with one email (at a time that works for you, of course).
Avoid meetings in the first place.
Once you have your plan in place, the rubber hits the road on the follow through.
Your boundaries are only as firm as you make them. If you regularly break your no-meeting day, extend meetings, or say yes…you’ll be right back where you started!
On the flip side, once a routine becomes sacred, your team (and even customers) will plan around it.
You’ll hear things like:
You’ll have hours back for company growth and personal peace-of-mind!
What other strategies decrease meetings and increase deep work??
Here are 3 sales leaders (Atlanta-based, Y’ALL) with a fantastic track record for helping entrepreneurs hone their sales processes, skills, and mental game.Read More
Last week, we shared 5 great books to hone your sales skills.
This week — it’s humans!
Sales is wildly important to startup success.
But not every founder has a sales background.
Sales - like everything - can be learned and improved.
Here are 3 sales leaders (Atlanta-based, Y’ALL) with a fantastic track record for helping entrepreneurs hone their sales processes, skills, and mental game.
Dive into their content and expertise!
Prospecting and sales outreach specialist. B2B thought leadership whiz.
Every sales interaction starts with outreach. Nail this first (and sometimes hardest) step to unlock customer deals and investor meetings!
Morgan is funny, clear, relatable, and specific. His social media posts are a clinic on thought leadership.
Seasoned sales leader helping female founders build sales foundations that scale.
Many founders have great instincts but lack official sales training. Pipeline reviews, strategy sessions, or deal-specific advice can make all the difference.
Margaret’s super power is seeing what makes someone great and leveraging it — no sales cookie cutters here. She gets rave reviews from founders!
Business development skills for busy, non-sales professionals — e.g. partners at law firm (or startup founders!)
Mo is positive, approachable, and fun with decades of sales experience (and wins!).
He is specific and actionable on how to build relationships, ask for business, move deals forward, plan your year, run a meeting, write emails, track metrics...all in the context of having a “day job” outside of selling.
What other sales leaders share great content or help you learn??
Here’s 5 awesome books about sales — with differing focus, style, and methodology — to get you started.Read More
Not every founder is a former sales rep.
But selling is HUGELY important for your company to succeed.
You sell to:
How do you get good at selling if you haven’t done sales before?
Learn, practice, test, iterate. Repeat!
Here’s 5 awesome books about sales — with differing focus, style, and methodology — to get you started.
What other books have helped you sell? Any diverse or non-traditional author recommendations (this list is admittedly lacking!)??
Building tech is NOT the first step to start tech company. Wait. Whaaaaaa? Here are 4 specific, real world ways to hone your tech product without engineering resources or actual software!Read More
If you’ve been reading the O’Daily recently, you already know.
Building tech is NOT the first step to start tech company.
In fact, sometimes having strong tech skills can hurt you because it’s easy to over-build.
(Unless you’re Seth Radman - follow his LinkedIn and newsletter for awesome content on how to build products customers love!)
So, what does work?
How painful is the problem?
Will people sign up?
Will they take follow up steps?
Step 2: Learn what to build
You know there’s a big market and significant pain
What actually solves the problem?
How do customers want this to work?
We’ve seen a lot of successful tech company start scrappy — without tech — and we follow this process ourselves in the Atlanta Ventures Studio.
Here are 4 specific, real world ways to hone your tech product without engineering resources or actual software!
Build a community of ideal customers through content and events. Get feedback on ideas, track trends, and understand pain points.
Sell consulting or services that will later be automated via technology. Another way to think about it — fund your company through paid customer discovery!
Unboxt knew exactly the product their customers wanted because they did in depth consulting work on the problem prior to launching.
AdPipe automated and scaled motion-first marketing — aka what the founders were doing manually for customers through their video production firm.
Do the work of a “product” manually on the backend. Use a form or simple front end as the customer interface.
Carpool Logistics started with a spreadsheet! It’s now a multi-app system for car transporters and dealerships.
Create product mockups and get feedback. Walk through them with ideal customers. What would they change? What isn’t easy enough?
Iterate until they say, “THAT. I will pay you for THAT. And here’s my money.” 😁 🦄 🚀
What other non-technical ways can you fine tune your product? Any early stories to share?
The best tech companies start with super scrappy discovery and testing to find authentic demand. Here are 7 specific tactics to test, validate, and learn before building tech.Read More
Last week, we shared 5 resources to help you get started on your tech company.
What’s not on this list?
Building actual technology.
An O’Daily oversight? Nope!
The best tech companies start with super scrappy discovery and testing to find authentic demand.
The first step in your non-tech tech-building is answering questions like…
**How painful is the problem?
**Will people sign up?
**Will they take follow up steps?
We have run many authentic demand experiments in the Atlanta Ventures Studio including all of the ones listed below!
Here are 7 specific tactics to test, validate, and learn before building tech.
Have 20, 30, or 100 Mom Test conversations with your target user. Sounds obvious but don’t skimp on the quantity and detail.
Remember: no leading the witness!
Post on social media. Does it go viral? What is the engagement or feedback? (Zinnia)
Create a “beta sign up” form and share via email or social channels. Track sign ups.
Send a survey (especially a follow up survey to your sign up form!). Do people engage? What do you learn from the feedback?
What people say they will do (or pay) is often different than reality. But the number of survey responses is very telling.
Launch a simple website. Spend $100-$500 on ads. Evaluate click thru rates. (Intown Golf Club)
Bonus: include a form to capture leads and further assess conversions.
Animated or whiteboard explainer videos can also work for hardware, software, marketplaces, everything.
Offer consulting or manual services to solve the problem. What is the willingness to pay from your target customer?
Your authentic demand tests go well. 🎉🎉🎉
It’s time to start thinking about the actual product.
But — SPOILER ALERT — you can do this without building software!
Next week we’ll cover real life examples on how to fine tune your product without a single line of code.
What are other real life ways to test an idea?? How did you know you had authentic demand even before you built a product??
So you’re thinking about starting a tech company - AWESOME!!!! There are many steps to take before a single line of code is written. Here are the top 5 resources and ideas I share with ambitious entrepreneurs who want to start a tech company!Read More
So you’re thinking about starting a tech company - AWESOME!!!!
Where the heck do you begin?
Spoiler alert — it’s not “find a CTO.”
Yes, you need engineers for a tech company!
But there are many steps to take before a single line of code is written.
Find a market. Validate the idea. Get customers to sign up.
Here are the top 5 resources and ideas I share with ambitious entrepreneurs who want to start a tech company!
It feels slow to do thorough discovery and testing.
Especially when you are driven and love to go FAST (aka every entrepreneur).
Similar to endurance sports, a strong base is key for speed in the long run.
What does it actually look like to test ideas?
Next week, I’ll share specific strategies used at Atlanta Ventures to launch businesses without building tech!
What are other helpful resources to get started on a new business idea?? ⬇️
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