Over the past two years, I helped over 200 entrepreneurs and leaders to forge alliances with investors, decision makers and influencers.
One of the most important parts in making these powerful connections is a pitch that moves people to action.
Simon Sinek talks about the Golden Circle in his TED talk “How great leaders inspire action”.
He calls it “the most simple concept in the world” and yet, it is one of the most powerful concepts I have come across to communicate in a way that inspires people to take action.
Decisions Are Emotional
Most pitches to investors fail. Most often, they don’t fail because the idea is bad.
They fail because the entrepreneur communicates in a way that only reaches the investors head but not his heart. And sometimes, they simply confuse.
No matter how much we try to rationally explain why we do something, major decisions are always emotional decisions.
Yes, we want to understand the dynamics and how something works. However, we only want to hear about the How and What after we buy into an idea emotionally.
I always use Apple as an example. If you have a MacBook, an iPhone or another Apple product, why did you buy it? Because it’s faster? More beautiful? Because it just works?
These are all good rational reasons but deep down you know that they are secondary. I yet have to meet somebody who owns and loves Apple products and is not one of “the crazy ones”, a rebel, a misfit or a change-maker.
Deep down, we identify with Apple on “Think Different”, what the brand stands for and whom Apple represents.
So what if you had a framework for pitching to investors so they buy into your venture emotionally first and are deeply inspired to take action?
Let’s talk Golden Circle Pitching.
The Golden Circle Applied to Pitching
Simon Sinek explains the Golden Circle in three distinct layers. Why, How and What.
The framework is so powerful because it starts with Why. It inspires first. It talks to the heart fist and then to the head.
Simon shares some examples throughout history where the concept is applied in his book Start with Why.
If you are pitching to investors, the Golden Circle is the most effective and simple concept I have come across to move investors from interested to invested.
WHY You Do It
Everything that moves people always starts with Why.
Every venture is started on the basis of a belief. This belief can then lead to an idea, a venture and sometimes to a billion-dollar business.
Here are a few questions to consider in the Why part:
- What’s your belief that initiated this idea?
- What important truth do very few people agree with you on?
- What do you stand for?
- How does a future world you believe in look like?
- Why is this something the world needs?
- Why do you get up and go to work every morning apart from making a living?
These are all emotional questions. They talk about your beliefs, values and vision. The answers to those questions talk directly to the heart of the right investor. They inspire.
Just last week, I talked to a remarkable entrepreneur who is launching an innovative model in Switzerland that is at the intersection between a VC fund and accelerator.
He started by sharing the model, what the problem is, how it works, how it makes money, who the customers are and how this is different from other ventures.
I sat there and listened for about ten minutes in the role of a potential investor and said “I get the idea and I see how this works but why should I care?”.
I could not sense his Why, so I asked “What’s the belief that started this venture?” and immediately he responded “Switzerland does not have enough entrepreneurs who build innovative businesses”.
I thought “Now we’re getting somewhere” because once he answered that question, he had something much more powerful to start and lead the conversation with.
Here are some more statements applied in the real world:
Apple: “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently.”
WYDR: “We change the way people interact with art.”
Launch.it: “I believe in a world of extraordinary creativity and innovation, where all new products, services, and ideas should be easy to find, discover and share.”
My Belief: “I believe in a world where people connect and collaborate based on shared values and a similar vision for a better and bigger future.”
HOW You Do It
Now that the investor is inspired, we need to provide some meat so that the logical side of the brain is satisfied.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- How will you make your vision come true?
- What’s your business model?
- How is this scalable?
- How will you generate customers?
- What’s your marketing strategy?
WHAT You Do
This is the most practical part. This is what you actually do.
Maybe it’s manufacturing solar powered battery packs to enable people in rural Africa to get access to energy cheaper and more sustainably.
Maybe it’s building the broadband mobile telecommunication network in South Asia to enable more people to get access to education online.
Maybe it’s developing drones to carry resources to remote areas. Or maybe it’s giving people a more efficient way to go from place A to place B.
This should be the easiest part.
Every Venture is Different
Even though The Golden Circle may be the most simple concept in the world, applying it is not always that easy.
I helped over 200 entrepreneurs and leaders to apply this framework to pitch their ideas and themselves. Every case is different.
How you apply the Golden Circle to your pitch depends on many factors.
Who is the investor? Impact investor? Angel? VC?
Where are you pitching? On stage, one-on-one?
What’s the nature of your business?
These and many more questions need to be considered to make your pitch truly legendary.
Once you have a first draft to questions like the ones mentioned above, it’s about iterating and refining your pitch. You can then adjust and expand it based on the purpose of your pitch and whom you are talking to.
Making Your Pitch Legendary
If you are struggling to get the right investors on board and want to make your pitch epic, consider leveraging the framework of the Golden Circle.
Ask yourself the questions I mentioned above and see what happens to your pitch.
Last week, I worked with a friend on preparing his pitch to get in front of potential investors and going through this exercise completely turned it upside down from “What-How” to “Why-How-What”.
If you are building a venture that creates positive change and you want to get the right investors on board, I’d be happy to help you refine your pitch to move investors from interested to invest.
Schedule a call with me here and let’s see if we are a good fit.