How Your Startup Narrative Is Costing You Investors

Stories are vital to the human condition. They are how we frame longing, pain, heartache, and loss but also hope, forging ahead, and the creation of a new and exciting future. From mankind’s earliest scratchings left on cave walls, what comes down to us through the millennia are the tales they were trying to tell, and the collective drama of humanity is best understood within the context of the story. 

Brands and businesses use narratives to help communicate ideas and concepts in a way that potential investors can easily understand.  Stories can advance your case when done properly, but it is integral that you avoid the following pitfalls. 

Neglecting Symbolism

The old adage ‘show not tell’ applies here even if you don’t consider yourself to be a master raconteur. People don’t like to feel like you’re preaching or relating to them in a heavy-handed way. Instead, they want to feel connected to what you’re saying on a visceral level. The best way to do this is to speak symbolically. 

Instead of saying, for example, that your product is good for family life, tell a story about a boy and his dog, provided, of course, the anecdote is true. Illustrate what it is you’re doing and why you’re motivated without directly telling them in the most straightforward way. People inherently understand things that stand for other things. The greatest figures in literature used stand-ins that became cultural icons in this manner and that are still appreciated decades later. Link your concepts with universal tomes that communicate vast concepts while also saying fewer words. Tapping into the images around you can take some work but holds unbelievable power. 

Failing To Make It Personal

People will take an interest in your brand when they understand how it personally applies to them. This is where startup narrative matters. Put simply, they have to be invested. The way to do this is to draw them in to how they can be a part of what it is you are doing. 

Reach out to what motivates them, whether it is a chance to become a force for good in their communities, helping a certain cause to grow, raising awareness about specific problems, or whatever else that may be. Do some research and get to know the values of those you are approaching so that you can be specific in targeting those objectives in your pitch. 

Not Articulating How This Startup Narrative Will Provide Meaning

The entire reason people do what they do is to infuse the world with some greater purpose. Nobody wants to do work simply for the sake of it but, rather, in the attempt to leave some mark on humanity. We call this legacy. People are invested in a future in which they contributed something worthwhile. You want to tap into this innate desire. Give your investors and partners a way that they can collaborate with you in helping reach their own agency toward a better tomorrow. 

You also are doing what you do for some specific ‘why’. Dig deep to the roots of this, and find the commonalities so that you can more easily share this with others. Work with people who are talented in drawing out the elements of storytelling in such a way that they can help you to best illustrate these ideas. Never forget that the people sitting across from you at the table are human first and foremost before they are financial institutions or investment partners. Refrain from defining others solely by their titles or the letters behind their names, but instead realize they are complete human beings who also have thoughts and feelings, goals, and desires. Storytelling is the tool to build a bridge between you and them at the deepest level. 

Fidelman and Co. assist those who are crafting their presentation materials and startup narrative to ensure the best possible chance at securing venture capital funding. In addition, we also can help in the areas of financial consulting and with strategic planning regarding best practices for management. Reach out to us for more information on how we can be of service to you.

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How Your Startup Narrative Is Costing You Investors

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