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创业者如何向风投讲故事?试试这五招

Anne Sraders 2019年12月30日

对于创业公司而言,讲故事的能力决定生死。

20191211日(星期三),《财富》新一代最具影响力的商界女性2019大会在加州拉古纳尼古尔召开,期间举办了关于“完美故事”的研讨会。

图片来源:PHOTOGRAPH BY STUART ISETT FOR FORTUNE

对于创业公司而言,有一些决定命运的时刻。无论是60秒、10分钟还是半小时,这是可以决定一家公司能否得到它成长所需资金的时刻——风险极高,因此在风投资本家或合作伙伴面前的那几分钟就成了决定成败的时刻。

12月11日,《财富》杂志在加州拉古纳尼古埃尔举办的“新一代最具影响力的商界女性”大会上,顶级企业家和风险投资家在分组座谈会上讨论了如何讲故事。

以下是专家们所说的必胜秘诀。

1、说明你为什么是唯一一个可以实现业务增长的人

对一些风险投资家来说,成功推荐自我的关键不只是漂亮的数字,也不是针对每个问题都能侃侃而谈,而是要说明你有什么独特优势可以带动公司发展。

替代融资供应商Clearbanc的联合创始人及总裁米歇尔·罗曼诺说:“你要抓住故事的关键——说明你是世界上唯一真正能建起来这项业务的人。”“说明这一点……会以一种非常不一样的方式迫使人们想要支持这样一位创始人。”

罗曼诺建议创业家们可以讲述一个感人的故事或者分享一点他们独有的专业知识,来传达这个论点。

“不管是什么行业,万事万物……都需要竞争,所以最重要的是说明你为什么是唯一能做这件事的人,你为什么有勇气和毅力去做这件事。”她补充说。哪怕你面临诸多竞争,但拥有一个独一无二的合作伙伴,在价格上有竞争优势,详细说明单位经济效益可以帮助你脱颖而出。

2、不要过度关注PPT本身,要更注意与人建立联系

虽然专家们说,做一个精美的PPT很重要,但最终吸引投资者注意力的可能不是PPT。

这也是为什么LIVELY内衣品牌的创始人及首席执行官米歇尔·科代罗·格兰特建议创业者“在PPT上少花点时间,多花点时间(情商)思考如何和观众建立情感上的连接,要抓住能对这个故事进行情感包装的数据下功夫。”

格兰特已经为自己的公司筹集了1500多万美元,她指出,短视频是观察观众的好方法,甚至在你开口说话前就可以建立起人际互动。她说,在风投提案前播的那段20秒的视频才是她成功的真正原因。

3、做好功课

专家表示,这点似乎毋庸置疑,但研究你想要争取的公司和投资者是这个过程中至关重要的一步,而有些创始人却忽略了这一步。

“做好功课是非常重要的,你在筹集资金时,应该过一遍这个流程:你应该想到最好的投资者是谁,哪些会面是你用来练手的,在每一次会面中你都应该充分了解这家公司,这样你就可以向投资者感兴趣的东西倾斜调整。”位于初级阶段的风险资本公司BBG的一般合伙人尼莎·杜瓦说。

她建议研究一下公司的决策者是谁,你实际上是在向谁做介绍(是合伙人吗?),了解投资者或公司是否投资了你的竞争对手,这是确保双方都不浪费时间的关键。

风险投资公司Lux Capital的合伙人蒂娜·夏奇尔说,也就是说,如果不对竞争对手进行研究,甚至可能会在这家投资公司这里敲响了丧钟。

她说:“如果这家风投公司知道你连基本的功课都没做,你甚至不知道他们是否投资了一家和你有直接竞争关系的公司,你马上就会被列入黑名单。”

4、包装是关键

可以肯定的是,有一个有吸引力的、深思熟虑的PPT和包装是向潜在投资者展示你的企业能吸引客户、投资者和后续估值的关键。正如夏奇尔所说:“做好包装是你获得下一轮融资以及(投资者)投资回报的关键。”

但是,各种花哨卖点并不一定是最重要的,这不是最终目的。

“重要的不是最漂亮的PPT、最漂亮的视频、最能言善辩滔滔不绝的演讲者,”杜瓦说,“对我们来说,包装可以归结为:这个人能不能讲好一个故事,他们能不能提出一个宏大的愿景,他们是否对自己的材料了如指掌?”

杜瓦建议你要熟悉自己介绍的内容——无论是60秒还是30分钟——还要了解附录中的所有内容,这是许多风投公司十分看重的。在非静态介绍中,适应听众提出的问题、能从听众那获得提示至关重要。

“所谓的包装指的是:我能走进来,进行20分钟的谈话,说出我的故事,并在有人问我问题时做出调整,我可以用PPT,也可以不用……在某种程度上,讲故事的人本身就是包装。”她说。

5、跟进时不要简单地复制粘贴

发送一个跟进信息已经成为了基本的礼节,但是发送一个无聊的或者复制粘贴的跟进信息对维持这段关系毫无益处。

“确保你能迅速跟进,而且不是用那种‘很高兴能和你联系,让我们保持跟进’之类的标准格式。”夏奇尔说,“试着和他们聊一些私人的话题,这样你就可以跳出某一个话题继续聊天,这实际上就是在向他们继续讲故事。我发现这样做很有帮助。”用来建立联系的点可以是你们曾经讨论过的某支球队,也可以是你在见面中谈及的一篇文章。

但是要找到一些不那么烦人的方法。夏奇尔建议不要说:“‘我想听听你的意见’,因为没人有时间给你意见。” (财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

 

When it comes to startups, the defining moment in many entrepreneurs' lives is the all-important pitch. That time, be it 60 seconds, 10 minutes, or half an hour, can determine whether or not a company will get the funds it needs to grow—and such high stakes can often make those minutes spent in front of venture capitalists or partners feel like a make-it-or-break-it moment.

Top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists shared their tips on how to deliver the perfect pitch—and a successful follow-up—during a panel at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif. on December 11.

Here's what experts are saying is the perfect recipe for a winning pitch.

1. Explain why you're the only one who can grow the business

For some venture capitalists, the key to delivering a successful pitch isn't just about nailing down your numbers and having an eloquent answer to every question—it's about explaining why you are uniquely positioned to develop the company.

“Really nail the part of the story why you are the only person in the world that can really build this business,” Michele Romanow, the co-founder and president of alternative funding provider Clearbanc, said. “Sharing that ... actually compels you in a very different way to want to back a founder.”

Romanow suggests entrepreneurs can relay this through telling an emotional story or sharing a unique piece of expertise they have.

“Regardless of industry, everything ... gets competitive, so it's ultimately showing why you are the only person that's going to get to do this, and why you have the grit and perseverance to do that,” she said. Having a unique partner, a competitive advantage in pricing, and detailing unit economics can help differentiate you even if your space is crowded, she added.

2. Less focus on the deck, more focus on connecting

While experts say having a sophisticated, well-put-together deck is important, it ultimately might not be the thing that will get an investor's attention in a pitch.

In fact, that's why Michelle Cordeiro Grant, the founder and CEO of bra brand LIVELY, suggested founders “spend less time on the deck and spend more time on the [emotional quotient] of how you're going to emotionally connect with the people you're presenting to, and really just zone in on the three nuggets of data that are going to emotionally wrap that story.”

Having raised over $15 million for her company herself, Grant noted things like short videos can be a good way to observe your audience and build human interaction even before you begin to speak. A 20-second video at the start of her pitch was what Grant said "actually made me successful" during her pitches.

3. Do your homework

It may seem obvious, but researching the firms and investors you're pitching is a crucial step in the process that some founders actually miss, the panel said.

“Homework is really important because when you're raising money, you should be running the process: You should've thought about who are the best investors for you, who are your practice meetings, and at each of those meetings you should know enough about the firm so you can lean into the things the investors are interested in,” Nisha Dua, general partner at early-stage venture capital firm BBG Ventures, said.

She suggested researching who the decision makers are at the firm, who you are actually pitching to (is it a partner?), and knowing if the investor or firm has invested in your competitors are keys in making sure neither of the parties waste their time.

To wit, Deena Shakir, a partner at venture capital firm Lux Capital, said that failing to doing research on your competitors can even be a death-knell with that investment firm.

“You are immediately almost blacklisted from ever communicating with anybody else at this VC if this VC knows you haven't even done the basic homework to see if they've invested in a company that is directly competitive,” she said.

4. Packaging your pitch is key

To be sure, having an attractive, well-thought out pitch deck and packaging is a key in showing potential investors your business will be able to attract customers, investors, and further valuations. As Shakir puts it, “packaging is what gets you the next round of fundraising ... and a return on [investors'] investment.”

But a pitch with all the bells and whistles is not necessarily the end-all, be-all.

“It's not about the prettiest deck, the prettiest video, the most eloquent and articulate speaker,” Dua says. “Packaging for us comes down to, can this person tell a story with narrative arc, can they pitch a big vision, and do they know their material back to front?”

Dua suggests knowing your pitch—from a 60-second version to a 30-minute version—and knowing all the material in your appendix back to front is what stands out for many VCs. Adapting to questions and taking cues from your audience is critical in delivering a non-static pitch.

“The packaging is: I can come in and have a 20-minute conversation and nail my story and adjust as someone is asking me questions, and I can do that with a deck, without a deck, technical difficulties ... In a way, the package is the person telling the story,” she said.

5. Don't do a copy/paste follow-up

Sending a follow-up has become basic etiquette—but sending a boring or copy-and-paste follow-up can be of little help in securing that connection.

“Make sure you have a quick follow up and make sure it's not some standard, 'great to connect, let's follow up' type of thing,” Shakir said. “Try and have something personal you can engage with them on so you can continue the conversation outside of the specific top that you actually were pitching them on. I've found that to be really helpful as well.” Those connection points could be anything from a sports team you discussed to an article you connected over during your meeting.

But find ways to check in that are not annoying. Shakir recommended avoiding saying, “'I want to pick your brain,' because nobody has time for that.”

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