So far in our series on investor presentations, you’ve told a compelling and interesting story as to why you started your company. That introduction flowed into a clear description of the problem. You have also described the size of the problem. Now it’s time for Tim Taylor to share presenting your solution.
When you describe your solution it’s important to stay on track, keeping it simple. Remember, you’ve got them engaged because you’ve kept the attention of as many people in the audience as possible because it’s understandable.
When you talk about your solution you have to keep it in the context of the problem that you presented on the problem slide. Too frequently, the entrepreneur wants to get into deep and wide descriptions of why their solution works.
It’s understandable, of course, because you are at the point in the presentation where you are talking about what makes you great. It’s also understandable because when you are in front of a group of investors you are making a presentation that may determine the livelihood of the company you started.
A few items to consider when presenting your solution:
1. Life after your solution: I LOVE the idea of presenting your company in the context of what life is like before and after your product. If you’ve articulated the problem clearly enough on the first slide then flowing to the solution should be easy.
Describe how much time and wasted effort might be saved with your software. Describe how much safer and more effective your medical device is. Anything to hook the audience as to why you make a difference.
2. Stay away from technology/science: Describing how you solve a problem does not need to include a detailed description of how exactly you solve that problem. I’ve found that when entrepreneurs endeavour to explain how they solve the problem early in the presentation it’s almost certain to get detailed and confusing.
3. Talk about how you solved problems before: If this is your first start-up consider sharing with the audience how you’ve seen and solved problems for companies before in this market. It’s not unusual for the start-up to be in a market that the entrepreneur is very familiar with.
This is often where it’s most difficult for the entrepreneur to step back and crisply and clearly articulate the value the company provides. I understand that in start-ups the solution that you provide often has a long list of benefits that it either already does or will do.
Most often there are one or two major problems that your company solves, and the ones beyond that just aren’t as compelling. For example, I worked with a company that solved a problem in the project management space. Their main focus was on solving the way commitments were agreed upon and monitored.
The key to the solution was that the software created mutual accountability as well as increased visibility into the commitments. There were a number of additional smaller items that were solved with the product but these were the two main ones and the ones the entrepreneur focused on.
In my consulting I find that when we get to the point where we’ve clearly articulated the problem and solution the entrepreneur begins to feel the confidence of a compelling investor proposition. It’s empowering to know that you’ve actually made it through two of the most important slides of the presentation by articulating that there is a large problem and you have a unique solution.
However, when you get to that point, the investor is going to want to know how you are different from what’s already out there. That’s why the next slide in the presentation that I will describe is how to describe the competition.
Tim Taylor is the founder of My Pitch Coach (www.mypitchcoach.com)