Questions to Ask

Sometimes it is GREAT to have a playbook.  A coach loves a playbook.  A teacher loves a playbook.  A general contractor loves a playbook.

Well, for investors, a playbook is tricky because every investment is different.  No exceptions.  Never will all the key factors be the same:  founders, market, product, scalability, regulatory environment, IP protection, global market forces, etc.

Yet having some “standard” questions to ask when starting to learn about a team and a company is comforting.  So, yes, I am talking about “first meeting” questions.

Likewise, as a founder it is comforting to anticipate what those first meeting questions will be and good to have a general plan on how to answer them.

I read this morning a GREAT playbook on first meeting questions.  It is written from the angel investor perspective, but it is a wonderful resource for founders as well.

Here is it (thanks to Tim Ferriss and Jason Calacanis).

I do have one piece of advice for founders as they answer questions in an investor meeting:  be very open and honest and do not sound like a politician.  Answer the questions directly and thoughtfully.  If you have not quite figured something out, then say that.  No beating around the bush and no BS – that will only have the opposite reaction you are hoping to get.  My number one subjective factor when making an investment decision is trust.

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One thought on “Questions to Ask

  1. Hi Zach, thanks for sharing! I especially liked Jason’s concept of listening to the founder and using as few words as possible. In my experience, potential investors have pre-conceived answers to these questions without even hearing a word! While you need a filtering mechanism (ie don’t take the meeting), once past the filter the potential investor should reset their pre-conceived notions (basically to a blank slate) and let the founder answer the questions.

    This is pretty amazing when you think about it:
    “Google was the twelfth search engine. Facebook was the tenth social network. iPad was the twentieth tablet. It’s not who gets there first. It’s who gets there first when the market’s ready.”

    An investor with pre-conceived notions would most likely passed on all of these…

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