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Make It Short, Fast & Direct (If You Want Angel Investors' Attention)

  
  
  
  
  
  
  

Keep presentations to angel investors simpleWe live, work and compete in markets and economies where you must be more like a laser than a lava lamp, more like a gazelle than an elephant…and in today's complex and competitive business environment, three critical factors form a mantra for success: "make it short, fast and direct"!

Our customers, employees, and stakeholders are busy, very busy. So are angel investors and venture capital providers. Our world is peppered with message blasts, pop ups and sound bites…our ears, eyes and brains are fed with succinct, yet focused messages and images…and to get our story told, to get our message through, we need to adhere to the "KISS" principle, ("keep it simple, stupid").

Most startup entrepreneurs are familiar with the need for a well-crafted, honed "elevator speech" but it can also have great application to executives and employees in large organizations, professionals like doctors, lawyers and accountants or to individuals looking for that ideal job or career opportunity.

The elevator speech is featured in a scene where we find an intrepid entrepreneur, with a great idea, a great market opportunity but needing critical outside investment…low and behold, the entrepreneur finds him/herself walking into an elevator, with only one passenger—THE prime investor who the entrepreneur has been trying to connect with for months. As the elevator doors close, the entrepreneur knows there will be undivided attention to his/her story…so what does the entrepreneur say during the 20 or so seconds of a 25-floor elevator ride?

We can apply the principles of an elevator speech to most any situation where we must "tell our story" in a few brief moments…it may be at a networking event, a cocktail party or during the first critical 20 seconds of a phone call to a prospective client, employer or constituent. The "story" should basically tell 1) what you do, produce, or provide, 2) who is it for (the market niche you serve) and importantly, 3) how are you different?

We also need to make our messages direct, and this is where we've got to be more like a laser…there is a world of clutter and noise, and we can't afford to fritter away marketing costs…shotgun or scattered approaches are inefficient, costly and unproductive. We must finely tune our marketing strategy, to find overlooked niches (e.g., travel agents focusing on travel services for seniors) or pick off underserved segments (e.g., audio books, underserved by large chain booksellers). By being direct, we also focus on serving well, fewer, but more productive and profitable, customers…we emphasize "share of customer" vs. "share of market."

There are few businesses, practices or organizations that would not find some kind of benefit by using the web as a means to reach, more directly, their target markets. The web provides an uncommon method of developing a relationship with your market, in a dynamic, direct and highly productive way. When we develop a community of customers or constituents, we have a highly efficient, low cost way to communicate, and foster long term, productive and profitable relationships.

We have great opportunity to advance our company, our practice, organization or career, if we simply focus, perform, and…keep it short, fast and direct

By Steven Stralser Ph.D. Clinical Professor, Global Entrepreneurship Center

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