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  • Writer's pictureAnna Mazarsky

Essential Do's and Don'ts for Your First Investor Meeting

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

As a startup founder, your first investor meeting is a milestone that can be exhilarating yet nerve-wracking. You're not just selling your startup - you're selling yourself, your team, and the vision you all share. Many speak about its importance and how crucial it is. However, how can you REALLY prepare yourself for it?

Well, first - be ready to fail. Wait, wait, wait, what? aren't we here to ensure we succeed? Honestly, I wish life was so simple and that I could ever ensure someone 100% success in ANYTHING. However, just like anything that's first in life, you have more chances to blow it than you have an outstanding success. And it's OK! Embrace the potential failure, and remember that even if you go and fail or if you don't go to the meeting at all - the "no" is already yours, so the worst that can happen is that you'll succeed.

So, pressure down, and with these encouraging words, let us start with what NOT to do when you're preparing for the meeting.

the Don'ts

  • Don't Be Unprepared: This can't be stressed enough. Preparation shows respect for the investor's time and demonstrates your commitment to your startup.

  • Don't Overcomplicate Your Pitch: Keep it simple and direct. If the investors can't understand your business, they won't invest.

  • Don't Avoid Tough Questions: If an investor asks a difficult question, address it head-on. Honesty and transparency are key.

  • Don't Forget to Follow Up: After the meeting, send a thank you note and reiterate your key points. This keeps your startup top of mind and shows your professionalism.

  • Don't Be Late: It sounds simple, but punctuality is a sign of respect. It shows that you value the investor's time, which they will appreciate.

and now - the Do's

  • Drill the Pitch Down Cold: You must know your business pitch like the back of your hand. This doesn't mean you should sound robotic (on the contrary even), but you need to be confident and fluent, showcasing your business's potential with compelling and concise storytelling.

  • Be Ready for the Q&A: Anticipate the questions investors might ask and prepare comprehensive answers. This includes everything from your business model growth strategy to your financial projections. And yes, it also means those hard questions that you are afraid to ask yourself. If you don't know what those questions are, get help from a critical friend/colleague and tell them to drop all social barriers and just start nailing you and your business. Then, turn those responses into well-thought-out answers.

  • Have Documents at Hand: Be ready to provide any supporting documents investors might ask for. These should include your business plan, financial documents, market research, and more.

  • Understanding Your Financials: It's essential to have a deep understanding of your financials. Investors want to see that you have a solid grasp of these numbers and can communicate them effectively. So be ready to explain where you are financially, what got you there, shed light on the future, and how you plan to get there. Be ready to answer detailed questions about your financials in a straightforward and confident manner. Don't apologize or show insecurity. This way, you'll convince the investors that you have a serious, well-thought-out plan for your business.

  • Background Research on the Investor and Their Firm: Know who you're talking to. Understand the investor's past investments, their focus areas, and what they look for in a startup. If you can, drill down to their personal life and see if your solution is something that is personally relevant to them. This will help you tailor your pitch to their interests and show that you've done your homework.

Remember, the goal of this meeting isn't just to secure funding - it's to build a relationship with your investor. Show them that you're someone they can trust and want to work with. This will go a long way in securing the investment you need.

Now that we've covered the essentials let's summarize them in a handy table for quick reference.



Drill your pitch down cold

Don't be unprepared

Be ready for the Q&A

Don't overcomplicate your pitch

Have documents at hand

Don't avoid tough questions

Understand your financials

Don't forget to follow up

Research the investor and their firm

Don't be late

If you're still unsure or need more guidance, don't hesitate to reach out and book a consultation with me. I'm here to help you succeed.

Also, if you found this information helpful, please consider sharing it with other founders. Best of luck, and let's make your first investor meeting a resounding success!


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