Six things you can say to mess up your investor pitch

1) “Unfortunately I can’t reveal too many details here as my idea is so simple that anyone could steal it.”  

Problem:  If you don’t give the investors any information, they’re not going to be interested.  In a lot of cases, the idea is nothing and execution is everything.

2) “I want to build a new social media platform that will be like Facebook but with better features and functionality.

Problem:  If you’re taking an existing business model and putting a twist on it, you need to give clear description of what will make you different and (most importantly) better.  We already have Facebook, so you have to convince them why on earth we need yet another social network (or whatever your product / service may be).

3) “All my friends think this is a great idea”

Problem:  Your friends are probably just being polite.  Get out there and get some proper feedback from retailers, distributors or potential customers.

4) “We have no competition”

Problem: Every company has competition, even if it isn’t a direct competitor.

5) “The market for this product is $50 billion a year.  So all we need to do is just get 1% of that market and we are all rich.”

Problem:  Business plans promising to get a small percentage of a large market are lazy and useless.  Yes, 1 percent of $50 billion is $500 million, but it probably won’t happen.

This is lazy and it is impossible to predict what market share you will achieve.

6) “According to my conservative assumptions…”

Problem: I have lost count of how many times I’ve come across the word “conservative” in a business plan or elevator pitch.  Investors know that backing a start-up is a very risky business, and conservative isn’t what they are interested in, nor is it what they expect.

Any other suggestions?  What else could someone else say to make investors run a mile?

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