In Your Pitch, Don’t Forget Your Vision

I had the chance this week to catch up with a founder who hasn’t gotten the traction he’d like in his fundraise. He has a solution that’s working. It’s generating revenue and has a small, but loyal, customer base. But the long-term viability of the solution doesn’t resonate well with all investors. They wonder if it can be scaled.

I know a little about his industry. I keep up with thought leaders and have formed my own views on the direction of the industry. I shared my vision for where the industry is going. As we chatted, I realized that his pitch is missing a vision for the future. The current solution is likely a stepping stone to something bigger, but his pitch doesn’t communicate that because he doesn’t say what his vision is for the industry. Nor how his solution helps turn his vision into reality. Therefore, investors fixate on the scalability of the current solution instead of thinking about how it can evolve to create value in the world of the future.

Having strong opinions about what the world will look like in the future and how your solution fits into that future world is important for a founder. And not just for pitching investors, but also for recruiting team members and landing business partners.

Creating a vision for the future isn’t easy. It requires understanding a problem so deeply that you can predict how the world will evolve because of the problem. Founders should have conviction regarding their vision but also understand that it might not be 100% accurate—and that’s OK. The important thing is to have a vision you can support with an understanding of the problem that others don’t have along with conviction that makes others want to be part of the mission to turn your vision into reality.