If you don’t feel comfortable with it, drop it

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If you don’t feel comfortable with it, drop it

We’ve all experienced a proliferation of startup programs across the geography. With new programs come more mentors. Some are more valuable than others. And we all know this.

There are two sides to mentoring. The advice received and the implementation of that advice. Most mentors will give contradictory advice. This has become the de facto status of our industry.

The other side, the implementation has also many challenges. Following the advice without any processing is a dangerous business.

When you work with startup pitches, you see a plenty of this; “Talking about the team should go first”, “They told us to add the traction here”, “He suggested us to add this table with our numbers”.

Let me be clear, there is no “default” structure for pitching. There is no golden unbreakable rule to talk about this before that. What there is, is a logical mental structure to the pitch.

Each slide should answer the next question the audience has about your company. This creates a loosely structure which can and should be changed and modeled to the one pitching it.

The order of the questions will depend on three factors. How competitive and well known is your industry. How much expertise is there in the room and what exactly are you saying about your startup.

While the pitch needs to answer fundamental questions about your company, the way you narrate it will influence the order. This will create multiple paths you can take to explain the same thing.

Sometimes mentors force certain concepts into the pitch. Some mentors are more forceful than others. What startups need to remember is that, above all else, THIS is your startup. You are the one that should feel comfortable with what you’re saying. Don’t let anyone tell you how to explain something about your project.

Mentors are here to advise you on the “What”, not on the “How”. They might give you ideas on how to say something, but you’re the one that should make it yours.

Stay away from forceful mentors that tell you how to do things and make your pitch, yours. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, change it.

Image credits: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

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