Earlier this week I was meeting with some local entrepreneurs to learn about their business. I had the Simplified One Page Strategic Plan prior to meeting so I knew the vision, goals, and metrics for the startup. We had 30 minutes for the meeting and by the end of the allotted time they still hadn’t asked if their business model and stage fit my investment criteria. It’s like trying to sell a product without doing customer discovery or a sales discovery call first.
Here are a few thoughts on asking investors about their investment criteria:
- Don’t start the conversation asking about their investment criteria
- Work to make the pitch a dialogue and not a one-way conversation
- Summarize the pitch and company progress towards the end of the meeting and then ask if it fits their investment criteria
- Be patient, listen, and take notes as the investment criteria is explained
- Know that just because things aren’t a good fit right now doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit later (often, investors will need to see more traction before investing)
Entrepreneurs would do well to understand investors’ investment criteria as part of the pitch process and use that to gauge interest and potential alignment.
What else? What are some more thoughts on asking investors about their investment criteria?