An investment forum is something serious. You, as an entrepreneur have excitement, surprise, fantasy.. maybe a butterfly fluttering in your stomach, and over all passion. You have a chance, and you must use it correctly, so, what do you think that you should get from us as investors? Easy: we should force you to replace the dish of chips on your table because it is empty

Let me explain it with a brief story. Last week, on Wednesday November 20th, I attended as a member of IESE’s Business Angels and Family Offices Network, the 78th investment forum that was held there.

During approximately two hours seven initiatives were presented, (3 in Barcelona and 4 by videoconference from Madrid), showing the Professional (and vital) project of the entrepreneurs. The Forum had two parts: first presentations and later networking. The networking was done in an area where contact between entrepreneurs and investors was made easier. I attended in Barcelona.

What should be entrepreneur’s goal? Having a crowd around his table deeply interested in his project. Passion, passion, passion. That should be your objective in the presentation: make me feel passionate about!

And the KPI of your success? Be obliged to ask the waiter to replace chips dish in your area because your fans have gobbled all them up. Yes, run out of chips. As basic and simple as that.

The relationship between investor and entrepreneur is not easy because for an investor an entrepreneur is “a danger with legs”, and for an entrepreneur, an investor is an unknown scrooge (but a necessary one). Time softens (or not), perceptions, but better start from a realistic basis, because lowering expectations will maximize satisfaction.

Mutual understanding between entrepreneur and investor, defines the success of a startup when it needs to be financed, and that understanding is something emotional, not rational, where the presentation to the Forum is the best tool you have.

And that emotional connection, how do you get it? From an Aristotelian point of view, there is a combination of resources that guarantee the success of your presentation.

A recipe of three components. Infallible:

  • Two-fifths of pathos (emotion, tone of voice, how do you look like, complicity, adaptation of speech to the audience, humor, smile and story telling). Without that you won’t get to wake up the heart of the investor.
  • One-fifth of logos (now.. yes! tell us about the project but make it simple, without technical complications, and from the point of view of who wins what and how, and how much I’ll win.) Imagine that you play Taboo: technical topics, bits and bytes are banned, and if you use them, you lose)
  • Two-fifths of ethos (and now, please explain why precisely you’re the one qualified to do this project, a project that in this moment I feel passionate about and that I think that some clients, the society and myself we are all going to benefit from it.) Tell us that you’ve done it before, show your knowledge, convince that you know the right people and if possible that you’ve already sold something)

I have not mentioned any figure. I have not spoken about product in depth. Not necessary. Not yet. As explained by Professor Rob Johnson is not necessary at this stage to come into the figures, but it does not mean that an investor do not have a framework helping him to evaluate a business opportunity. I summarize these criteria. They are six. Read them very s l o w l y, please, because when you sell (and an investment forum is a selling process for an entrepreneur), you will never be successful without tuning to the universal and most famous station: WII-FM

This is the station that you should tune because it is what usually your buyer listens to(Investor). As an investor what do I question myself?

  • 1. Market: Is there a market big enough for this product/service?, who are the customers?, how will be get the product/service?, who are the decision makers?, will we have/do we have one-shot sales or recurring revenues?, how long does it take to complete the selling process?, is there a growing market or shall I have to steal some market share from existing players? If I do not see volume it’ll be difficult to pay the investment back, and consequently it will not be an project to invest in (which does not mean that it is not feasible, but it’ll be only for you, entrepreneur, not for me)
  • 2. Competitive advantage: which one is this?, is it convincing?, is it sustainable?, do my dog understand it?
  • 3. Timing: is the moment now? why is there an advantage being us the first? Remember that pioneers are easy to be recognized because the lay on the floor with some arrows nailed down. Has no one done it yet? Weird, because as Luis Cabiedessays:
    “not everything is invented, but everything is tried”

    According to Ockham, there will be some good and easy reason for that.

  • 4. Scalability: how much does it cost to win a customer compared to the income you’ll got during the customer’s life? (if the first is not less than the second, emm…), have you tested your engine of growth?, how does it work? and if I apply that engine of growth how much can I grow and how long will it take?
  • 5. Team: Who are you? Are you complementary? Who sells? Do you have a businessman, someone with experience in business in the Group? Are there engineers if it is a technological project? How much time is devoting the team to the project?
  • 6. Exit: will it be easy exit the business with an appropriate profit if things goes well?

Ah! One more thing… Check your presentation carefully. If it does not respond to these major issues, if I were you, I would not present it, because you’ll burn the opportunity…

Have ever done a presentation in a forum? What was your experience? What do you recommend? What have you learned?