3 Must follow rules for fundraising storytelling

Every business story needs to be: Radically Simple. Instantly Credible. Can’t-sleep Exciting.

Success in almost every new initiative or startup begins with telling & selling a story. Then, over time the story materializes and is replaced with data and results. I have seen too many amazing ideas fail before they even begin since they don’t deliver the message.

For example, I recently met a founder, let’s call him Jonathan. When we first met, it seemed like a terrible start-up and more of a bootstrapped business. Luckily for both of us, I decided to dig a bit deeper. What I discovered can be summarized as follows: 1) huge market that’s currently overlooked by investors 2) the company helps customers 6x their revenue in the first year! 3) CAC/LTV of 7+ and a rapidly growing top line. The founder knew most of these, but they were lost in the complexity and I did not HEAR them in our first meeting. Don’t let this be you, make your own luck.

Every story and then every key-point within it should be:

1. Radically Simple to understand for the audience, especially when have limited context and will only pay limited attention.

2. Instantly Credible, by providing the key insights, highly synthesized

3. Can’t-sleep Exciting – raises your heart-rate, and interrupts your ability to go to bed at night.

You need all three and you need them in sequence. If it’s not simple, I won’t understand it, and the rest doesn’t matter. Then, if I don’t believe you, our conversation stops there. Finally, if I understand it and believe you, I need to get excited to move into action.

Framework deep-dive:

Is it Radically simple?

  • You are deep into your work. Things that are simple to you will not be simple for others.
  • You need to be able to say your key point in one (ONE) short sentence
  • Test it out on a friend or employee, don’t add much, tell them the sentence and ask them to explain what they understand. Then ask them questions about it. If they are not 80% correct, it’s not simple enough.

Is it Instantly credible?

  • Credibility comes from many places: your background, reader’s background, facts, anecdotes, pattern recognition, and even common sense.
  • Start with common sense and your background and ask yourself: how much do I need to strengthen this key point? If you are considered an expert in the space, you can sometimes assert aspects with little explanation, which keeps things simple ⬆️. Same for common sense.
  • If it doesn’t pass the personal background or common sense test, it’s time to figure out how to add credibility. You are looking for 1-3 (no more than that) key facts, figures, borrowing from other domains (Uber for Trucking), or strong anecdotes that will explain your statement.
  • If the only support you are finding is complex or convoluted, don’t stop. Consider changing your key statement. If it’s not simple and credible, it doesn’t support your goal.

Is it Can’t-sleep exciting?

  • What? Start with defining what is exciting to your target audience: making money? Saving the world? Eliminating poverty? A specific cause?
  • Big Enough? Then ask yourself: Is this big enough? Does this make a material change so that people invest their time/effort in it?
  • Likely to succeed? Does it seem likely to succeed given the setup so far? What assets and unique advantages do you have?
  • Effort/Investment required? How much effort or investment will the reader require to be a part of this fantastic success. It needs to be a great value prop (“for limited effort or investment your will be a part of all of this…”)

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, every month.

We never spam!

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, every month.

We never spam!