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Preparing for your startup pitch - rehearsal, confidence, and the deadly Q&A


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How to prepare, boost your confidence, and handle killer questions during your startup pitch. Tips to help any entrepreneur pitch to VCs with wow them with your confidence, passion, and grasp of your venture. The third and final session on pitching perfectly I gave at Samurai Startup Island in Tokyo.

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Preparing for your startup pitch - rehearsal, confidence, and the deadly Q&A

  1. 1. 1 Preparation, Confidence, and Dealing with Tough Questions Pitching Perfectly Session 3 Darren Menabney @ Samurai Startup Island Tokyo 10.29.2015
  2. 2. “The first draft of anything is shit.” 2 - Ernest Hemingway
  3. 3. NOTE this presentation is not a first draft! 3
  4. 4. DARREN MENABNEY -2011, Toronto BSc Astrophysics, U of T Government of Canada Revenue, Industry, Foreign Affairs, Defence 2011+, Tokyo MBA, GLOBIS University Global HR, Ricoh Co. Ltd. Part-time Faculty, GLOBIS University 4
  5. 5. © Javier Montano / TEDxKyotoUniversity 5 Judging pitches Attending a LOT of pitch contests Writing & delivering pitches Coaching startups Teaching entrepreneurs at MBA program Public speaking
  6. 6. 1. Preparation & Rehearsal 6
  7. 7. “In all things the way you practice defines the way you perform. It’s selfish to make an audience endure your first or even third try. Why be selfish? If you’re generous to your audience they’ll love you.” – Scott Berkun Author, Confessions of a Public Speaker 7
  8. 8. Make any mistakes BEFORE you pitch 8
  9. 9. Uncertainty and Surprises Confidence and Success Preparation and rehearsal WILL determine your success 9
  10. 10. 1. Refining the Pitch Deck 2. Improving your delivery 3. Managing time 10 HOW to prepare? 4. Simulating Q&A
  11. 11. 1. Refining the Pitch Deck 11 HOW to prepare?
  12. 12. “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” 12 - William Faulkner
  13. 13. Attack your own slides Question your assumptions Ask “So what?” to each slide and each element of each slide …and repeat! 13
  14. 14. If it adds no value, remove it If it looks weak, strengthen it If even you don’t understand it, fix it! 14
  15. 15. 15 This is a Team activity
  16. 16. 2. Improving your delivery 16 HOW to prepare?
  17. 17. Record and watch a video of you making the pitch HOW to prepare? 17
  18. 18. Rehearse in front of • team • mentors • pitch coach HOW to prepare? 18
  19. 19. Get a lot of early feedback from your team 19 HOW to prepare?
  20. 20. Learn from your mistakes Build on your strengths 20 HOW to prepare?
  21. 21. …then rehearse your pitch again HOW to prepare? 21 …and again! …and again
  22. 22. 3. Managing time 22 HOW to prepare?
  23. 23. After you can deliver content smoothly, work on time management HOW to prepare?
  24. 24. Use slide auto-advance 20-30 seconds per slide HOW to prepare? 24 Milestone slides
  25. 25. The Five Minute Pitch Deck Title Page with Company’s Purpose (0:15) Elevator Pitch (0:15) The Problem (0:30) Market Sizes (0:20) Your Value Proposition (0:30) Why Now? (0:20) Go To Market Plan (0:30) Competitive Landscape (0:20) Business Model (0:30) Your Team (0:20) Financials analysis & projections (0:30) What You Have, What you need (0:30) Summary (0:10)
  26. 26. If your pitch needs to be done in 10 minutes, rehearse for 8 HOW to prepare? 26
  27. 27. 4. Simulating Q&A 27 HOW to prepare?
  28. 28. What can you do to prepare for audience questions? 28
  29. 29. Rehearse & Know your Audience 29
  30. 30. Identify weaknesses in pitch Anticipate questions Prepare answers Practice giving those answers Rehearsal helps you… 30
  31. 31. Past pitch events they judged? Questions they asked Their style Read judges’ blogs & watch any videos of them Demographics of audience? Industry crowd vs general audience Other startups Know Your Audience… 31
  32. 32. Skills Money Specialist Audience General Audience VC Angel Talent Bank Mixed FFF 32
  33. 33. 2. Boosting Confidence 33
  34. 34. Your confidence... Audience’s confidence in you 34
  35. 35. How to give your confidence a 20%+ boost in just two minutes 35
  36. 36. Copyright © Amy Cuddy, TED36
  37. 37. Copyright © Amy Cuddy, TED37
  38. 38. Two minutes of this Stress level DOWN 25% Confidence level UP 20%
  39. 39. Drink some water BEFORE you start 39
  40. 40. Feel
  41. 41. 41 Check out the room before the pitch event
  42. 42. Windows? Heating? Lighting? Projector? Seating? Acoustics? 42
  43. 43. Bring backups 43 of your backups
  44. 44. How to recover from a mistake? 44
  45. 45. 45
  46. 46. 3. Q&A Time 46
  47. 47. 47
  48. 48. Questions indicate interest 48
  49. 49. "Thanks for that question." "Great question!" "That's a really good question." "I was hoping someone would ask me that." 49
  50. 50. Title Page Elevator Pitch The Problem (Opportunity) Market Sizes Your Value Proposition Why Now? 50 Go To Market Plan Competitive Landscape Business Model Your Team Financial Analysis & Projections What You Have, What You Need Summary 13 Points You Should Have Covered in Your Pitch Deck
  51. 51. So what else can you be questioned on? 51
  52. 52. Two Basic Question Types 1.Clarifying 52 2. Expanding
  53. 53. Clarifying Questions 53 “Why did/didn’t you…?” “Tell me more about…” “I don’t understand…” “How did you calculate X…”
  54. 54. Expanding Questions 54 “What if…?” “Have you thought about…” “Where will you be in # years?”
  55. 55. Some Actual Killer Questions I’ve Heard “Who are your competitors and how are you beating them?” “Is your customer base growing? What is your retention like?” “Are you a platform, or are you offering a service?”
  56. 56. Some Actual Killer Questions I’ve Heard “Show me how you can scale.” “So when would I get my 100X back? “I just have one question. What the f**k do you do?” “Why did you start this company?”
  58. 58. Three Approaches To Difficult Questions… 1) Delay 2) Defer 3) Don’t know, but… 58
  59. 59. 1) Delay • Paraphrase • Repeat the question • Buy thinking time! 59
  60. 60. 2) Defer …to your teammates …to your tech experts 60
  61. 61. “Tricky question, maybe my CFO Bob can answer that. Bob, can you help?” 61
  62. 62. 3) Don’t know, but… 62
  63. 63. “Sorry I can’t give you an answer right now. I’ll look into it when I’m back at the office and get you an answer.” 63
  64. 64. TRY to answer a question (say something) 64
  65. 65. Questions turn your pitch into a conversation 65
  66. 66. Continue practicing! Continue growing! Pitch like a pro!
  67. 67. 67 APPENDIX
  68. 68. The following slides show examples of some common questions you must be prepared to answer Questions have been summarised according to the relevant slides you must include in your pitch deck Green questions indicate killer questions, good luck! Questions You May Get 68
  69. 69. “How have people been dealing with this problem before you came along?” “Why is this a problem?” “Why is this a BIG problem?” Questions - The Problem 69
  70. 70. “How much does that problem cost?” “How much will customers pay to fix that pain?” “How did you calculate the Total Addressable Market?” “What original market research have you done?” Questions - Market Sizes 70
  71. 71. “Take me on a typical customer’s journey.” “Why should I care?” “I still don’t get it. What do you do?” “I just have one question. What the f**k do you do?” “What’s your proprietary IP?” “How will you deal with government regulations (e.g. FDA)?” Questions - Your Value Proposition 71
  72. 72. “Why has no one been able to do this before?” “What changed to make now the right time for your solution?” Questions - Why Now? 72
  73. 73. “How will you enter the market?” “How will you grow in the market?” “How much do you need to expand?” “Who are your existing customers?” “How do customers find you?” “What kind of traction have you got so far?” Questions - Go To Market Plan 73
  74. 74. Questions - Competitive Landscape 74 “Who are your biggest competitors?” “How can you beat them?” “Why are you better?” “Competitor X is a huge, established player in this market. How can you beat them?” “How did you research the competitive landscape?”
  75. 75. Questions - Business Model 75 “How do customers pay you?” “How did you calculate your unit cost?” “How will you distribute your product?” “Who are your suppliers?” “Are you a platform, or are you offering a service?” “What are your bottlenecks and how do you manage them?”
  76. 76. Questions - Your Team 76 “Why did you start this company?” “How much have you personally invested in this venture?” “Tell me more about your past successes.” “Tell me about your past failures. What did you learn?” “Your team is spread over the world, how to you make decisions and communicate?” “Why is this team capable of executing your growth plan?”
  77. 77. Questions - Financials 77 “When will I get my money back? When will I get my 10X or 100X back?” “When will you be cashflow-positive?” “Explain how you’ll get from point B to point C on your financial projections?” “Why aren’t you bootstrapping?”
  78. 78. Questions - What You Have/Need 78 “How much have you already received?” “Who has funded you so far?” “I still don’t get it. How have you survived so far?” “Tell me why you need to spend $100,000 on marketing.”