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5. Poor timing.
Entrepreneurs frequently say too much or don’t say enough. Either extreme is deadly. When the presentation is too long, it puts investors to sleep, indicates the entrepreneur is unsophisticated about the rules of engagement and is uncertain about what information is important. When the presentation is too short, the entrepreneur appears to be unwilling to share information. The optimal length of time to get across the history and potential is 30 minutes.

6. Weak live demonstrations.
Live demonstrations are almost always a failure, particularly for technology products. The most successful presentations do not involve demonstrations of our software. For product demonstrations, which can be extremely effective sales tools, use a video for a perfect pitch every time.

7. Poor response to questions.
Many entrepreneurs err on the inevitable question and-answer part of the program. The most damaging is when the entrepreneur gives the impression that they are smarter than the person asking the question and compounds that error by throwing too much technical jargon into the answer.

8. Poor listening skills
Often entrepreneurs blow responses to questions by failing to listen. It’s dissatisfying to an investor when they ask a question and the answer isn’t even relevant, In fact, it’s as close to the kiss of death as there is.

9. Inappropriate follow-up.
When raising capital, particularly from individual investors, the old rule is that yes comes fast, and no takes forever. Still, many investors test the mettle of the business owner by seeing how long it takes him or her to follow up. If it’s not forthcoming, even for reasons of perceived courtesy, many investors get turned off. On the other side of the coin, calling every day doesn’t work, either. Follow up within a few days of the presentation but no more than three times. Then wait. If you haven’t gotten an answer in two weeks, kiss that investor goodbye. But do it nicely, so you can get the names of at least three more investors before you move on.

10. Burned bridges.
Raising money often takes a long time. Sometimes the things that initially turn investors off; an underdeveloped product, no sales, incomplete management team, correct themselves during the fund-raising process. Contacts made early on may at some point become fertile ground for raising capital unless, of course, the entrepreneur hasn’t kept in touch or, worse yet, was less than gracious when the investor said “no thank you” the first time.

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