PS27 Ventures, an early-stage investment firm founded by Jim Stallings, hosted the Female Founders Forum on March 4, 2022, which among the speaker line up, included a panel of venture capitalists, as well as Ellen Latham, founder of Orange Theory Fitness, an exercise franchise that hit $1 billion in sales in 2018.
There were multiple takeaways specific to entrepreneurship — from what makes a good pitch deck to how to appeal to investors. However, many of the insights were also relevant for solopreneurs who don’t intend to raise money or even in-house professionals who don’t plan to start a business.
Tailor your message
“What can you do to make it easy for the investor to preview the company? Write up the email so it embeds the top 3-5 things to see right away. Make it easy to click on your website….If you’re on a pitch night, tailor to the audience. Create a 30-second, 1-minute and 5-minute elevator pitch, plus the pitch decks. You want different formats for audiences, for an initial introduction, for detailed in-person meetings. Accommodate…” — Sallie Jian, SAP.iO New York
SAP.iO is an incubator within SAP, the software company. Jian’s advice to make it easy on the investor is transferable to any relationship you’re trying to nurture—current boss, prospective employer, customer, colleague or other collaborator. While Jian’s example focus on good email writing (so important!), it also applies to your LinkedIn profile (include an easy way for people to get in touch) or even email signature (include your website or LinkedIn URL so people can easily learn more about you).
Creating multiple pitch formats depending on where you are is another gem applicable to both business owners and professionals. You want to have different ways of introducing yourself (the networking pitch) because, depending on the situation, you will have more or less time and your audience will want to know or need to know different things about you. Accommodating your audience, as Jian rightly puts it, is a way of showing you understand and respond to their needs.