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Never ask for "Just 5 Minutes!"

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a founder that I backed and he was telling me how excited he was about his company.  He said the path was so clear that he could literally see it--and that's the way he's always been since I met him.  He has a quiet confidence and he's excited to talk about his company--and he could go on and on if you let him.

It's a stark contrast to people who beg for "just five minutes" of my time.  I understand that fundraising is hard, but if you do you best to leverage your network to connect to a bunch of investors, and you can't even get a first meeting, you may have to rethink what you're up to.  When you ask for just a few minutes, it sounds like you're having a lot of trouble getting meetings.  That's a signal the market is giving to you.  VCs may only do 1-2% of the deals that come their way, but I'd say they probably take about 20% of the requests for first meetings.  

Think about that for a second.  If they only actually invest 1% of the time or less, and even half of those companies go out of business, then when you can't even get a meeting you're outside of the top 20%, and you need to be in the top 0.5%.  That's not even close.  

On the other hand, maybe you're just acting like you're not even close.  When you approach investors as if they're taking mercy on you by talking with you about their company, they're going to assume that something's up.  Imagine being on a date where someone says "Oh, thank god you actually showed up!!"

You might wonder whether you're both dating out of your league--with you being on the short end of that stick.  

If you're working in a big enough market, you're the right person to be working on something, and you've made some headway doing what you're doing, you should have no problem getting investor meetings.  Nothing ever gets done in just 5 minutes, so if someone says no to a meeting, either take that as market feedback or just move on to someone who is interested.

And trust me, a demo never makes a difference.  If you can't tell me what you're doing and get me excited about a first meeting, I'm just not going to get there on it.  

So be confident enough to ask for your due time, to move on if I say no, but smart enough to actually listen if no is what everyone says, even just for a first meeting.  

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