All Perspectives 2015

Treat Your First Investor Meeting Like a First Date

A friend has made the introduction. You have wanted to meet this person for some time. Thanks to the Internet, you search all about them, wanting to learn anything that can give you insight into who they are, what they like, and what gets them excited. You visit their LinkedIn Page, Facebook page, check out their latest tweets, see if they have written any blogs, and find any news articles about them. The information can be overwhelming and take the excitement out of the unknown, but being prepared is so important.

No matter your gender or sexual preference, everyone gets nervous about a first date. It starts with what to wear. You want to look respectful and dress appropriate for the occasion. There is no worse feeling then being the most overdressed or underdressed person in a room.

As you head towards your date, so much is running through your mind. How do I start the conversation? Do I really open up about the weather? Should I talk about the big sports game last night? What happens if they are not a sports fan or a fan of that team? Breaking the ice is tough, and both sides know why they are there.

Your mind drifts to chemistry. Will you connect with this person? Will they like you? Will they get who you are or will they see you as someone totally different? How do you come off confident, but not cocky? How do they learn about you without you monopolizing the conversation?

Oh boy – the conversation. You sit across from them and have so much you want to say. You try to sit up straight and not fidget with your hands. This is not their first date, nor yours, but they seem to have all the control as to whether or not there will be a second date. You want to tell them just enough that they will want to see you again, but you also do not want to scare them away or overwhelm them. What will be enough information to peak their interest for a second date? You want to open the door wide enough for them to see how great you are, but at the same time demonstrate that you’re able to listen. Yet you’d like to learn more about them than what you discovered from your Internet search. You ask yourself, would they be a good partner? Is our thinking in unison? Would they help balance out your weaknesses?

The date comes to an end. Did you get across to them what was needed in order to secure that second date? How do you follow up but not look desperate. Is a thank you email appropriate? A phone call? Do you go old school and write a handwritten note? You remind yourself that if this does not work out there are many fish in the sea.

Each date is a learning opportunity to becoming a Casa Nova entrepreneur. Learn from past dates and incorporate that learning into future ones.

You can laugh about the analogy but it is 100% true. A first meeting with a VC is just like a first date. Treat it that way. From how you dress, to how much you would say, and listen. Do not go for the close. A VC will not write a check after a first meeting. As in dating, each side must get to know each other and see if there is a real future there or is it just a one and done.