The CoinGeek London conference is only a week away. If you don’t already have your tickets, stop reading this and buy them now. I’ll wait. Part of the event is Pitch Day, when aspiring entrepreneurs present their Bitcoin SV businesses and ideas to a room full of investors.
I had the privilege of being in the room during the first Bitcoin Association BSV Venture Pitch Day, which was held in the run-up to the CoinGeek Korea conference. What was striking was the difference in the presentations between those who experienced standing in front of a room and those who did not.
A little momentum helps
In all honesty, it doesn’t matter if you have a gold mine of an idea that offers investors the most profitable opportunity, those plans usually speak for themselves. But what if your pitch needs a little more momentum to get your points across? Are you prepared? Can you present your work, which may have taken years of effort, in just 15 minutes?
No panic! Just like learning a new language, playing an instrument, or building birdhouses, the path is there and people who have walked before provide the best resources with tips, tricks, and advice.
If you’ve been to a CoinGeek conference or seen his Bitcoin SV videos, you’ve seen Jimmy Nguyen, Bitcoin’s founding president and an accomplished showman, on stage.
Whether he’s opening a conference with a touching story about growing up a gay son of immigrant parents or giving a passionate speech about the importance of stable protocol, you feel his words, you hear his message deep in your chest.
As you prepare to showcase your deals in front of a dragon lair of investors, I couldn’t think of a better person lighting the way ahead of you.
Here are 5 tips to help you showcase your Bitcoin ventures
Jimmy Nguyen shares his five best tips for pitching to investors:
Keep it short.
Discerning investors hear many venture pitches and quickly know when a venture pitch could be attractive. Don’t waste time on unnecessary background information. Make sure you identify your company’s unique selling proposition in advance, otherwise you can lose the investor’s interest very quickly.
There are specific questions that every investor needs to answer. What problem does your product solve? Why is your solution unique? Who are your target users or customer base and how are you going to attract them?
Answer them in your presentation and do so precisely. And when investors ask you a specific question on a topic, be sure to do your best to answer it in detail. You will put off investors if you give a vague, grandiose answer, or appear evasive.
Explain your sales model – with realistic expectations.
You may have a great technology solution, but it has to make money. Don’t get to the end of a pitch presentation without spending enough time talking about your proposed sales plan.
Show that you’ve researched potential revenue models in the field and what is likely to work best for your business. And it’s okay if you’re not sure about sales estimates but have a logical way of calculating them; Please do not present “pie-in-the-sky” predictions that your start-up will be making huge sums of money in a short period of time without explaining the numbers. Investors know that no start-up can accurately predict its sales in the first few years; they want to see that you have a realistic approach.
No technology product or venture idea – especially in the early stages – is perfect. Investors will no doubt ask about weaknesses in your product, business plan, team or pitch presentation.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge areas that need to be strengthened or developed. It is not realistic for you to pretend you have a magical business where every problem is solved and is a perfect path to success. Investors will respect you more if you are honest about areas for improvement and are willing to take advice on how to strengthen your business. The ability to acknowledge weaknesses can actually be a sign of trust.
The feel-good factor.
The emotional impact can be just as significant as the technology and logic of your company. Make investors feel good about you and your company.
Tell a good story because stories, especially if they are personal, allow investors to get to know you better. Show enthusiasm, determination, and heart as you speak – these are the qualities you need to be successful as an entrepreneur. But please do not use the wrong presentation style; not every speaker is the same and your speaking style should reflect your real personality. Investors support the person as well as the venture idea, so let them know and make you feel good about the real you.
Check out these additional tips to help you prepare your pitch
Excellent advice from Nguyen, but as this is my column I want to share a few of my own.
One of the most helpful books I’ve read on the subject in recent years is by Carmine Gallo called Talk Like Ted. Gallo gives nine tips that will be shared with and used by speakers at prestigious TED conferences. It costs just $ 10 on Amazon Kindle or $ 20 on Audible. The book is only 288 pages long, and depending on your reading style, you can work through it in a few sessions.
Practice, practice, practice. Did I say exercise?
It’s fair to say that you know your product and business better than anyone. Even so, when the lights come on and investors stare at you, it’s amazing how quickly your head goes blank.
Use a stopwatch, stand in front of a mirror, stand in front of your partner or even your dog and practice and repeat your venture pitch. You want to be on time because when we lose our way we start walking, filling the room with empty words that cut into the all-important question-and-answer session.
One final tip: if you have never been on stage or if you have experience giving presentations in front of a room full of people, remember to breathe. It’s a simple tip, but when all those eyes are staring at us, our fight or flight instinct kicks in and we get hit with a big adrenaline rush. It’s okay, it’s normal. Just take a long breath and remember these tips. Good luck.
Take on 20-21. Attend the CoinGeek London conference in February 2020 to prepare for the next great pitch. If you can’t make it, feel free to submit your bitcoin business to us.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin For Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide, to learn more about Bitcoin – as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto – and blockchain.