If you're a founder that's living the pitch life, you know how hard it can be to persuade a stranger to hand over a large sum of money and a little bit of their time. It's a daunting process that is nerve-wracking to experience but absolutely fascinating to hear about.

Just take The Pitch as an example, a newish and very addicting Shark Tank-style podcast that takes you right into the pitching process between founders and investors. The charismatic host is Josh Muccio, an actual entrepreneur who's been in the trenches but now gets to experience the adrenaline rush without actually having to prove his concept. The show is entering its third season and after reviewing hundreds of pitches and seeing first-hand of what does best out in the valley, Muccio has a thing (or three) to say to founders.

1. Your Biggest Mistake Is Forgetting to Tell Your Story

According to Muccio, founders tend to come into the studio with memorized information on the market size, growth rate, and where the industry is headed. While this is all great and essential, it's the churn of these facts that tend to make pitches sound robotic. Founders often forget to tell the story of why they're doing this and surprisingly, it's this human element that tends to connect you to an investor.

"When you tell the vulnerable version of your story, it's more compelling. Flush out that story of what motivated [you] in the first place to quit [your] job and say, 'That's it, I'm going to do something about it and just start a company.' It's no small thing. [You] shouldn't take it lightly."

2. The Pitch Formula Is Pretty Simple

Muccio admits that he hates that there may be a formula to a winning pitch because it boxes up what a company should do and these days, it seems so tailored towards startups in Silicon Valley. Instead, he takes it a different route that may initially seem cliché but actually holds some serious truth.

"If there is formula, it's finding a way to be yourself in the pitch. That is the hardest thing. We try to put up walls when we present and I don't know what it is about human nature as to why we do this, but the best version of ourselves is the most honest version of ourselves."

3. Remember, Investors Are Human, Too

Often times, founders put investors on a pedestal because of all the capital they represent. As a result, founders forget to fight for themselves and the company they've worked so hard to grow. Muccio has a simple solve:

"You need to go into any pitch with an investor like you are equals. They've been around doing this for a long time, but you know what you're doing as a founder. You should be able to go into a pitch meeting more of an expert on your company than anything. Investors want that respect. They aren't looking for people who are looking for them on a different playing field."

Curious to see what it's like inside that pitch room? Start with my favorite episode from The Pitch: Tesloop.

Published on: Sep 22, 2017