3 Actionable Advice on Pitching from Incredible Health’s Iman Abuzeid
Today while commuting to an accelerator’s launch day, I listened to an episode of the Twenty Minute VC, and found some wonderful nuggets on pitching. If you’re thinking about going into your next fundraise, these are well worth remembering.
It’s an interview with Iman Abuzeid, the Founder & CEO of Incredible Health who has raised over US$17 million, and is just so smart and scrappy it’s… well, incredible.
You should listen to the whole episode, but here are my three big takeaways:
1. Schedule your dream investors later in your fundraise:
She observes that many founders make the mistake of scheduling their dream investors early in the fundraising cycle — when they’re still honing their pitch. By the time they get into a groove and are giving the best pitches of their lives, the dream investors may have already turned them down.
So put your favorite funders towards the later part of your fundraise, so that they get your absolute best efforts.
There’s an added advantage to this approach: assuming that you do well in your first pitches and secure term sheets, you might be walking into that meeting with your dream investor with multiple offers in the pocket— making you both more relaxed and more attractive as a coveted asset.
2. If the pitch isn’t going well, turn the meeting into a coaching session
If you’re like most people, when a pitch obviously isn’t going well, you want to end it quickly and get out of there with your head hanging and licking your wounds.
Iman Abuzeid advises just the opposite: you want to turn the investors into impromptu coaches and resources. Pick their brains on what you did well and where the pitch fell flat. Ask them for insights into your market and perhaps even your competitors.
After all, she says, these are extremely busy people who are difficult to get into a room, so make the most of your time with them.
I simply love this because as entrepreneurs, you’re attempting to build world-changing companies with very little resources. You have to scrap for every piece of value you can get, and sometimes that means asking for just a little too much.
3. If you’ve got imposter syndrome, invent an alter ego and let it take over
If you aren’t familiar with the term, imposter syndrome is the feeling of being an imposter — that you’re not nearly as great as your credentials and achievements would suggest, and that you’ve gotten this far on luck.
Imposter syndrome can be debilitating — robbing otherwise brilliant people of the self-confidence they need to shine. Iman Abuzeid suffers from this as well (shockingly), and her solution is both awesome and hilarious.
She invented an alter ego — an over-confident white male (Abuzeid is a woman of color) called Chad.
When she’s feeling like an imposter, she imagines herself doing the pitch as Chad, and it apparently works.
I think I shall be giving this a try in the near future — as a black billionaire who flies around the world doing charitable work.