Tip #76: Ask early

Tip 76: Deal structure – “ask early”. Last time we agreed to give a single figure “ask” – say, $250,000. This related tip is to put this ask right in your first couple of sentences – don’t leave it to the “deal structure” slide near the end.

Why? Why spoil the surprise of where this pitch is heading? It is typically difficult during the pitch to put early slides in context, unless we know why you are telling us the information. We evaluate proposals asking for $150,000 very differently from one raising $1.5M. If you don’t tell us the ask until the last slide, we can’t judge as we go along if you have good traction or a good product if we don’t know how many resources have been deployed to reach where you are. Similarly, we can’t tell if your sales and marketing plan makes sense without knowing the future resources to be deployed to create it.

Obviously you can’t cover all this in the opening slide. But telling the audience in your second sentence that “I am raising my $250,000 angel round” gives us a quick indication of how to evaluate the meat of the presentation to come.

So after your intro sentence (“Good afternoon. My name is Paul Clark, CEO of Back Rubs Inc., a company based here in Greenville that provides on-demand back rub services.”) try “My team and I built our company to 20 locations across the Upstate, and I am here today to persuade you to invest in the $150,000 angel round I am raising to expand my business across South Carolina.”

That way I set the context for all the information to come (and hammer home my traction) right from the start.