Story selling for entrepreneurs

Some entrepreneurs feel that it's very unfair that while some founders find it very easy to raise gobs of money, they have an extremely hard time doing so. They often attribute this to their lack of the right credentials, and believe that people who have an IIT or a IIM degree have a much better chance of raising money. Because they have a better network, they find it easier to connect with investors. And it burns them up that even though they work much harder and their product is far better, investors don't seem to realize their potential or give them due credit for it. Their commonest complaint is that investors continue funding IIT and IIM graduates, even though all they do is create me-too startups, which have nothing novel or unique about them. 

Please remember that no one said life was fair. It's not supposed to be, and you better grow up and accept this reality. Complaining about it is not going to change anything. Let's not forget that lots of IIT graduates don't get funded either ! 

The entrepreneurs who are successful at raising funds are able to tell their story well. They're able to connect with the investor, because they understand his perspective. They're empathetic, and try to make it as easy for him to sign a check as possible, by reducing friction for him. They anticipate what his needs are, and have financial statements prepared and ready , because they know he is going to ask for them. They give him as much information as possible , so that there's no need for him to ask more questions , and this reduces the time taken for the due diligence process.

This kind of openness and transparency shows that they're willing to put in the hard work and effort which is required to create a successful business. They understand that a business is much more than an idea - that it requires financial discipline and structured processes, and they're capable of following these. This gives the investor a lot of comfort, and he is much more likely to back them, as compared to a disorganised entrepreneur. 

It's a bit like eating a steak. If you serve it raw, no matter how prime the cut, no one will be able to eat it. You do need to add sizzle to it, to stimulate the investor's appetite, so that he wants to bite !

This is why just building a better mousetrap doesn't help. You need to have a story, and be able to tell it well. Please remember that your story cannot be a fictitious narrative . You need to be able to back it up with numbers , so that the investor can see that there is solid sense behind what you're saying.

There are lots of great books which will teach you how to tell a story in order to connect with your audience ! The Science of Story Selling by Gideon at is a good starting point.

-By Dr. Aniruddha Malpani

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