#PitchDeckHype: Building a Startup is Hard

I’ve written about this before  (http://www.davidhulston.com/articles/20130813), but it’s worth reiterating. Don’t fill your investment pitch presentation with overblown hyperbole that you have been told investors want to hear. Here are three things that you have probably been told to say, but shouldn’t.

Purpose trumps passion.

I don’t want to hear that you are passionate about what you are doing. Of course you are. I want you to be committed. Building a startup is hard work and you need persistence, not emotional irrationality.  Following your passion won’t help as much as doing something your good at will. Grit more than emotion.

Your startup needs purpose. Purpose is the reason your doing what your doing. If you do something on purpose, you do it intentionally. It’s determination.

You will need more time and more money than you think.

Investors won’t believe that you will build a great business with only one funding round.  No plan ever survives first contact with the real world. Things change.

You can’t predict the future. Early success may indicate you are on to something, but scaling that will be hard work. It will not go to plan and you’ll need more of something you don’t have or can’t control. That will take longer and cost more than you originally thought.

You will not exit in 3 years.

Almost every presentation investors hear contains the words “exit in three years”. You won’t.

You’re building a business. That’s hard work. It will take longer than you think. If you do it right, solve a big problem and continue to satisfy customers, someone else may want to buy your business. But that shouldn’t be what you are setting out to do. It may be the consequence and investors want to know how you would deal with that, who you think might be interested in what you are building, but they won’t believe that you are “building x to sell to y in n weeks”.

Bottom line is building a startup is hard work. Investors want to know you’re up for that. That you’ll stick it out and be there when it takes longer than three years.

That’s what investors want to know. Purpose. Realism. Awareness.

All material copyright David Hulston Associates Ltd.  @davidhulston1
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David Hulston

Indycube Ventures

Indycube Ventures offers funding and expert advice to entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs and small-business owners based at coworking space network Indycube are being offered access to a half-million-pound annual funding stream and expert advice.



"We have benefited greatly from David's experience, counsel and contacts on a wide range of issues. His past experience in the IP space is particularly useful to Inngot, but even without that, he is just the sort of investor and non-executive director a high growth business needs. He sees potential, makes connections, and keeps us focused on the things that matter."Martin Brassell, CEO, Inngot Ltd