Lean Deck Clinic Lessons Learned

It’s been a few weeks since the Lean Deck Clinic and Gregarious & I are starting to plan the next ones. But first, we wanted to publish some of the lessons learned from the clinic.

These are notes from the participants themselves of advice given by a variety of different clinicians (see here for the list). So the bullets may at times contradict one another or other advice you may have read or received. I’ve edited some for legibility.

Special thanks to John Maloney from NetworkGrader.com who took some very good notes and sent them in.

  • You need to hook an investor in 30 second on a human level by finding a shared experience/pain point.
  • Start your pitch with stories and craft a compelling narrative.
  • Describe the offering first and why it is important and an opportunity.

note: Feedback on what to start a pitch with often varies tremendously. Often people advise starting with the problem statement.

  • Avoid ‘TMI’ – Too Much Information.

note: This was mentioned more than once. It is the “Lean Deck” Clinic. 🙂

  • Add screen shots, mock-ups and demonstrations when available.
  • Be carefully using industry investment quotes because companies often invest for reason other than they say.
  • Some VCs want to see domain expertise in the team.
  • The team is important, but startups are a lonely business since Individual founder(s) do virtually all the work.
  • If you can present without a powerpoint, it’s fantastic, but it’s very very hard.
  • A good presentation with a small audience (a table of 5) is very different than a good presentation in front of a large audience (a room of >50).

note: Knowing your audience is always key and you should ideally change your presentation to fit your audience. So a larger audience will clearly change your pitch. You may also be targeting a small portion of the audience (investors) at a conference rather than the general audience. So things can get very complicated.

  • Avoid launching if you’re fundraising.

note: In followup discussions this was very contentious advice since it potentially reduces the amount of learning you can do. However, there is a big difference between a public launch and ongoing customer development.

  • Clearly elaborate how you will get traction.

note: a.k.a Customer Acquisition. This is the most often overlooked slide or part of a business plan.

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