What is the real goal of a meeting with VCs?
to get another.
not just so that VCs can waste your time.
your time is valuable.
but get another meeting that will start a process.
hopefully ending in a term sheet.
here are a few great ways to get there:
- create a dialogue. connect
- do not act as a presenter. be yourself. discuss issues. focus on ‘the customer’, not the presentation
- get questions answered. first quickly, then slowly
i wish to be clear here. i mean two different things by saying ‘answer questions’:
- before the presentation, (especially if you sent material in advance, and you have had a discussion with the associate), try to find out what are the top 3 issues that if you are able to answer, the process will start or continue. if you do not know these in advance, you probably have not used the important services of an associate at the VC fund (or have not done your homework) . if you still do not know, ask them in the beginning of the meeting
- during the meeting, when asked a question, do not evade, do not push back, do not delay. every question has a short answer. if it is interesting enough, there will be time for a longer answer or a discussion; either immediately, in the next few slides, or in future meetings.
in fact, you do not have to answer the question completely. the best answers are ones in which the entrepreneur says ‘i do not know’ or ‘i would like to do some more thinking on that and get back to you’. in fact, if you do not answer a question completely and you take time to reflect, this process can be used to your advantage. it can be a reason to continue the dialogue.
often, i find presenting entrepreneurs not answering questions, and afraid of starting a discussion. perhaps because of time pressures. perhaps because i focus on the wrong issue.
i also present. to investors, to my partners, to different classes in universities and in conferences
i have learned that
- it is hard to answer a question with a short answer
- saying ‘i do not know’ has a lot of power