On decks and meetings

I write feedback almost every day. Decks, pitches, business plans, projections, go-to market strategies, product, market research, etc etc. I thought I could give you a taste of what it looks like.

This is a response of feedback on a deck. First exchange of emails with the founder (I can't post the deck for obvious reasons).

[Click to tweet]

1-The deck to be effective need to follow a simple rule:

Product / Market / Metrics / Team / Money

I don't know who John Doe from [big company] is and I actually won’t look him up. Because in my business he is not relevant. It will take me many hours of reading who he is and what he has done for me to attribute him a level of “trust”. (take it out)

Remember your audience (investors). So everything in your deck (if its to raise money) needs to be direct to this audience.

2-Quick Facts: NO. I don’t need any quick facts, I want real relevant facts. You already have 100 users, so you already have real facts. What have you learned from them? Who are they?

3-What, and Why should be together in less than 15 words. You don't need 3 paragraphs in 3 slides to explain it. Define your product and what need it satisfies. Focus on the message being delivered and to who. You care about the [sector] industry, investors care about a well design functional product that will create money. It’s cold but true.

4-You need to explain the story behind this. Why are you the right person to solve this problem? How do I know someone else will come 3 months from now and win all your clients and take you out of the market? What do you know that others don’t know? What is your unfair advantage?

5-Don't tell me how the product will be. Show me. It doesn't need to be completely functional but you need to have something. Maybe images as mock-ups. Even write on a napkin. How do I love it as a user? why? What makes me keep coming here? What makes my audience come here? Or my audience?

6-You don't need to build any tech to show this is real. Actually you don't need to build never any tech to show that a product works. Call your users and tell them the idea. Get their [need], even if they are not the best. Get enough of them to get a volume that is interesting enough. Then use a Wordpress to just publish the beginning of each of them and share that (free website) with 1000 people (can be your facebook followers or twitter). Ask them if they like the product and if they will pay $5 to read them (all of them). Charge them and then tell them you were joking and that you will give back the money. “Proof of concept” is finding the need and showing is real. Then you go and build. And then you focus on metrics.

7-You can describe in point 6 that you show metrics to your investors and real / possible revenue. We don't care if you made $500 on the MVP we care that you hustle your way into showing us the need and proof of concept. Once you have this, you can actually fill your slide with real metrics (# of people that committed to pay, ages, race, geographic area, etc etc etc)

8-Market: don't confuse your market. Is not the entire [sector] industry. Its true that investors want to see the 10B market but they are not stupid to know that you have to start small (like everyone). Your market has to be a niche. If not, you are going to be crashed. Start with a niche and then move up. Your niche is those people that are willing to pay for your product or that they see the value on your product solving their need/problem. Show the real market, the correct user.

Then I met the founder. As many of them she was very defensive. That’s ok. A very important part is being open enough to get honest feedback. Even if its not what you want to hear. This is the next email.

1-Challenge your own assumptions. Don't assume you know what the users want but actually get the PULL from the market. Once you are on beta, try to understand what your users love about your product and why they use it all the time. Focus on this. It doesn't matter if its niche or a small amount of them but create the most value for them. Instead of trying to get the 5k users try to deliver your 50 users as much value as possible.

Get “Proof of concept”.

2-Make a real assessment of what could go wrong. It doesn't mean that you can’t be optimist or believe that this will work no matter what. It means that you are smart enough to understand that things go wrong. ALL. The. Time. That is life and specially business in startups. So think hard what could go wrong as you move forward. You dont need to have a perfect answer but be aware of your weaknesses and challenges.

Some names and words were modified to fit this screen ☺English is my second language and I usually write as I talk. Also it haven’t been edited.

PS: If you like it, I think you will also like“Build to last, not to Exit”.

PS: Please hit the Recommend button and make me smile. Reach to me on Twitter, I'm @JDcarlu

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