How to present your startup idea

March 18, 2015

On this blog post, we will work together to figure out how to tell our stories simply, without being too simplistic. By avoiding jargon and clearly telling your startup’s story to people who aren't familiar with it, you can have great chats with everybody on the spectrum!

Today we're talking specifically about users and potential investors. Our goal is to capture their attention, while having killer conversations. We will show you how to captivate them with your pitch.

Talk With Users About the Problem They Need Solved, Not Your Solution

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Often, founders will rush into a conversation with users and immediately go over their solution's details. Usually, one of three things will happen:

  • Users become uninterested, pull out their phone, and pretend to read texts. It's very hard to re-engage them after they have lost interest.
  • Users act polite and pretend to understand what you're talking about.
  • Users become genuinely confused and lost. However, this is not the worst place to be -- you can recover and create a conversation covering what they don’t understand.

Listen to your users, and the problems you can solve, to make their lives easier. Empathy goes a long way. By talking to a user with a real need, you may just find the next great idea for your startup.

Your conversation is successful if you are doing most of the listening. Do your homework. For example, if you are going to an industry event where your users will be, learn the jargon and terminology you're not familiar with. This also goes for meetings with investors. Here's some help on preparing for your next investor meeting.

Use Start Up Clichés Appropriately

For example: a "growth hacker" can mean many things to users and investors: a person who hacks both products and paid acquisitions to create growth, a person who is just a marketer, or even worse... they have no idea. Therefore, we strongly suggest using this term only if you are confident everyone's on the same page about what it means.

Here are some other clichés to watch out for:

"Culture fit:" Culture fit can mean being selective and hiring people who fit the startup's core values, but on the flip side, it can also mean that hiring is a very slow process. It can also be controversial because if it's too strict, it can lead to limited diversity.

"Sharing economy:" It's a socio-economic model built around access over ownership, based on sharing, trading, or even renting out products. A middleman platform based on the idea of sharing economy can make a whole lot of money, like Uber!

"Uber for X:" This term is very often used with new sharing economy companies. Being called the "Uber for X" means that they are the king or queen of a certain vertical -- be it laundry, food delivery, or even dog walking. This is taking a highly successful startup and saying it's for something else. For example, Uber beat out taxis, and now every up-and-coming sharing economy company is an "Uber for X".  


Leverage Presentation Tools and Presentation Design Principles

You can use Slidebean’s presentation software to "think out loud" and quickly get an idea of what your words really mean. Here’s how to do it:

Open up Slidebean, if you already have an account. If not create one here.


After the introductory slide, click on the + button to create a new slide.

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Outline some of the startup terms you catch yourself using a lot.

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That's right, Slidebean automatically designs your presentation. You're good to go!

How do you present your company to users and investors? Comment and let us know!


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