One of the most important criteria for an investor to invest in your business is you, the entrepreneur, and the in-person presentation is an excellent way to figure you out as a person. Information about all the other elements of your company is covered in the slides, your business plan and/or your website. Investors can read about your CV, but the only way to figure you out is attending that 45 minute presentation. What you present is important, but the other 50%, how you are as a person is also vital. How is to work with you as a Board member with you, the CEO, at the helm of the company?

Can you be trusted? Trust and integrity are one of the most important things a potential investor is looking for. And it does not really work to put a slide on the projector that says “I never lie”. The investor needs other clues that come out in between the lines of your slides. Maybe an investor knows the answer to a question, but asks it any way. If you do not know the answer it is better to say so than make something up. Do you start to gossip, leak information, to people you have just met 20 minutes ago? If you do it to the potential investor, you are likely to do it to others as well.

There is no upside in bending the truth. So maybe you were successful in getting away with some form of reality distortion in the pitch meeting, the investor will eventually find out during the extended due diligence in the weeks (or sometimes) months to come. You enter an exclusivity period, you continue to burn money, and at the end the investors finds out and withdraws from the deal (integrity issues are a huge red flag). Then you are left without an investor, without funds, and a tarnished reputation as you have to explain to other potential investors why this one pulled out. Your entire company is at risk.

How are you to work with? If you interpret every question or feedback as a major assault on your company that needs to be fought by “going for the kill” you will have convinced investors that you have strong will power and a lot of energy and determination. On the other, you lost valuable points as a person is open to constructive feedback from Board members. Sometimes it is good to admit that you do not know, acknowledge that certain suggestions could be useful, or if you disagree come up with thoughtful arguments. Again, your behavior tells the story, not what it is you actually say.

How do you treat your colleagues? If you present with your team it gives potential investors an excellent show case of you are as a people manager. Constantly silencing, or belittling your team will not get you points on this scale.

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