Writing a pitch that will get a venture capitalist to agree to entrust you with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars isn’t easy. The reality is, no matter how polished your presentation, no matter how promising your sales data is and no matter how specifically tailored your pitch, you might very well receive a definitive no for reasons completely outside of your control. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow that will help you avoid pitfalls that have taken down many a burgeoning entrepreneur.

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Be concise

This suggestion may seem obvious at face value, but many passionate and intelligent entrepreneurs cannot make a concise pitch. While it’s a good idea to have a concise version of how you came to develop a product because it imbues your pitch with a relatable human element, the story should not overshadow the purpose and function of the product. Having a concise, dynamic and memorable pitch has a much higher likelihood of connecting with the busy venture capitalist than a condensed version of your autobiography that ends with a vague description of the thing you’re supposed to be selling.

Provide context

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When it comes to providing context for your pitch, you need to do more than talk about profitability, sales and scalability. You also need to address the potential market for your product, the specific challenges your company will face trying to enter that market and the companies that are currently dominating that space. Failing to acknowledge those three things in your pitch, either out of ignorance or because you think your pitch will go better if you don’t mention them, will be a strong indicator to potential investors that you are not a serious entrepreneur.

Explain why you’re a solution

One really effective way to hook a venture capitalist is to explain how your product is a solution to an existing problem. It’s deceptively easy to lose the attention of the person you’re pitching to by overwhelming them with data and descriptions of your product’s features. If you discuss how the thing you’re selling will fulfill a consumer need that no other company is adequately addressing in a way that’s faster and easier than the current market leader, your pitch will not just grab attention, it’ll provoke fascination.



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This article was written by Mario McKellop for CBS Small Business Pulse.