In the book “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” (C. Gallo), the author references two events – The TechCrunch 50 and DEMO – at which dozens of entrepreneurs are invited* to pitch their ideas to investors.
As the book presents, these are ‘high stakes’ presentations for the entrepreneurs, as they can mean the difference between success and obsolescence.
As the book points out, the consensus among venture capitalists listening to the presentations is that those presenting fail to create an intriguing story line and ‘jump right into their product without explaining the problem.”
According to one investor, “You need to create a new space in my brain to hold the information you’re about to deliver. It turns me off when entrepreneurs offer a solution without setting up the problem. They have a pot of coffee – their idea – without a cup to pour it in.”
The investors profiled in this example are buying into an idea. As such they want to know what pervasive problem the company’s product addresses. It is very similar for those reviewing the proposal we submit, they want to know that you understand the problem and they want to be able to quickly and easily understand how you intend to solve their problems/help them meet their objectives.
*DEMO charges entrepreneurs an $18,000 fee to present…that’s $3000 a minute! Imagine if a company putting out an RFP charged the responders a fee to submit a response – say $100 a page. I’m pretty sure that would drastically change how opportunities were qualified and both the size/quality of the responses submitted.