I talked to a few entrepreneurs the other day looking for funding. The have bootstrapped their company and have done an excellent job getting their company to a point where a venture investor can put money to accelerate their growth as opposed to funding product development. I was extremely impressed by their market understanding, commitment to the cause and the traction they had gotten with literally no marketing budget. It spoke volumes about the problem they were trying to address and the product they built.
I sat down to do the “introductions”. I explained my background and gave them an opportunity to give me their background. The first one said “I have a fairly boring background”. Those were the first words out of her mouth.
Now I understand and appreciate modesty and understatements, but this was over the top on the other end of the spectrum.
The amazing part was her background was
great awesome. She started early at a very high profile local software company, grew up the ranks, and did extremely well at a fairly male dominated industry to achieve a very commanding position, but she chose to downplay it. Maybe because it had nothing to do with the current venture, or maybe because it was in a different industry, but that’s not the point.
I am very aware of the Indian (and also German BTW, but more on that later) approach and culture that expects you to not blow your horn, but I dont think it does any justice to the potential investor for you to say you had a boring background.
Here are my tips on introducing yourself and your background:
1. Talk about tangible accomplishments. What you did on any project that grew revenues, delivered returns, or saved money.
2. Discuss unique experiences that changed the way you view things. Put them in perspective to what you are trying to do next.
3. Share some customer experiences (bigger names better, name dropping is okay here) and how what you did helped them.
4. Relate skills that you gained which are relevant to the new role / position you are fulfilling.
5. Highlight about your ability to either work in a team environment, grow strong independent high performing teams or your ability to bring people’s different opinions from different backgrounds together.
I believe you can do this in 90-120 seconds with a sentence max (and you dont have to cover all 5 points) on each area. What do you think? Am I off base?