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  • Writer's pictureNathan Kirchner

Tell me a story that makes me believe!

I’m probably just like you & we are definitely right! However... it seems the people with the $$$ we need to do whatever it is we need to do don’t think like us, aren’t interested in exactly the same things, & simply don’t see things from the same perspective we do. So how do we tell them our story in such a way that they get it? Well... the reality is that they may never get it in the same way that we do... BUT... there is a surefire simply way to take them on the compelling journey thus far, to get them aligned to what we are doing & were we are going - the Investor Story!

Ok... Really? What do investors really want to know? Because they say stuff like ‘tell me about the solution’ & that they ‘want to know the full details of how it all works’. There is nothing but love, but through experience these lines of enquiry are probably more towards them needing the confidence that the solution is significant, impressive, not easy to mimic, has something special about it & that some serious accumulated expertise, thought, work & efforts went into ‘it’. Which is completely fair enough & with a little bit of clarity is not particularly hard to layout for them in a coherent simple story.

<the ubiquitous 'honest question'> ‘What do they need to hear?!?!’ Yep, apologies for the rambling preamble - I did warn you with the title of this entire mind-dumps that that was my style but nevertheless - there seems to be four coarse categories that need to be satisfied with evidence to present a compelling story in the three key areas of business, tech & people <>. So, what do they need to hear...

1 - What’s been done? The past is the past. Don’t apologies for it, don’t gloss over it, don’t dismiss it, tell the story about how your technical & market expertise helped you learn from everything that you have achieved to sharpen your understanding of how what you have really removes a customer friction-point that they are willing to pay to remove; & then informs what needs to happen next.

2 - What is currently happening? This is that ‘next’, what activities are going on right now to progress the momentum from stage 1, to extend those learnings & to further that direction? What activities are actually happening right now & how to they step you to the next stage.

3 - What will happen next? This stage is somehow similar to the last, but this refers to the things that are solidly in the plan & will be executed within the next ‘3 months’ along the same lines as stage 2, but to be very literal haven’t happened jut yet / don’t have resources allocated to them just yet.

I can hear the argument that step 2 & 3 ‘should’ be merged but I am not buying it. To me there is still some risk in 3 that these activities will not actually happen, that the learnings from 2 will mean they need to be adjusted a bit, or that they simply cannot happen unless... drum roll... investment is secured!

4 - What might the business look like down the track? So why have this then? It is simple. Investors need to know the business is heading somewhere amazing. Something significant will happen. They will get their target returns. I know, you know, they know that these are just aspirations, statements of vision, ‘predictions’ if you will.

It is far less important, perhaps not important at all, that these predictions come true BUT very important to complete the investor story that you have some thinking in this area, some goals, some aspirations, & of course the ability to be coachable & flexible!

<the insight> There is a tendency to want to tell investors about all the things one personally finds exciting, note worthy & impressive. This may or may not align with what they need to hear to be able to invest. The need the keys to venture investibility ( to be satisfied & that needs to be clear but people love stories, not ‘reports’, take them for a ride!

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