Neil Patel is an interesting guy. He co-founded two Internet businesses, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. If you're looking to raise venture capital, he's got some interesting insights -- he's now an investor who's made 15 angel investments. But he knows what you lie about when you pitch VCs, because he's also been an entrepreneur.
He did a post recently on this topic, What I Learned About Entrepreneurship Through 15 Angel Investments, over on his entertaining blog, QuickSprout. The upshot -- entrepreneurs often don't tell the truth.
Here are some of my favorite lessons he shares, and how you can use this knowledge to help you land investor money.
Stop exaggerating. Don't tell potential investors the company is doing great-great-great when in fact you're 60 days from closing the doors if someone doesn't give you a lump of cash.
Don't play funny with the books. Patel says entrepreneurs who've pitched him tend to count revenue they know is coming, but isn't yet actually in the door. Investors have a sophisticated industry name for this scenario: They call it lying.
Share your financials openly. Transparency is highly prized by investors -- if you're in talks with possible angels, send them frequent financial updates so their information on the company's cash-flow situation stays current.
Be openminded. Look at things from your investors' point of view -- how does the model look purely as an investment? Where's the return on investment potential? Also, if investors have suggestions, listen. Remember that their goal is the same as yours: To grow the business. When that happens, everybody wins.
Sell yourself. Patel says he invests in a great entrepreneur more than a great idea, having learned the hard way that doing it the opposite way around doesn't work out. A great idea's going nowhere without a brilliant entrepreneurial mind at the helm.
What have you learned from seeking investors? Share your pitch lessons in the comments below.
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