Over the past five years, I have read almost one book or more per week.
I have found that there are a number of things that can kill any written work. It doesn’t matter if it is a book or a startup pitchdeck. Startup Founders and authors are both entrepreneurs creating some new and in both cases, the following matters can kill their work on the spot.
- Facts & Myth: Check your facts and check the origins of the facts.
Most recently one thing struck me as I was reading the book “The Road Back To You”. The author mentions as a matter of fact that every now and then Norwegian Lemmings commit mass suicide. Yes, I had the same awe-struck face that you are pulling now. I couldn’t believe it. How could they? It sounds crazy and odd!
When I hear or read things that don’t sum up and I find them hard to believe I object, I voice my opinion and then I go on a fact-finding mission. I started looking up why and Here is what I found, it is a myth.
This author hadn’t done his homework. He has written a book and now 500,000 copies have been sold which means possibly 500,000 people are now misinformed about this issue. Of this, there will be a number of people who will check the fact, and as Pink Floyd said “One slip and the whole you go, it seems to take no time at all.”
How can I trust the rest of the material he has written?
2. Limiting Your Group
Some 10 years ago on a sunny Saturday afternoon, returning from the beach, looking somewhat burnt and brown. I walked into an expensive shop looking for a suit. I was in a shopping mood and I was looking for something good and I had the time.
Yet as soon as I walked in and started to look at the suits, the shop assistant walked up and decided that I probably did not have the money, so she turned around to me and said: “I don’t think we have anything in your size”. In other words “I don’t want to sell to you”, whatever her reasons may have been. Needless to say, the shop closed a year or two after this incident.
I found the same problem once again in the last book I mentioned. Of course, the author is a devout Christian and there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t believe in any religion and yet as I read he seems to continuously refer to the fact that your road to love and success is when you become a devout Christian! The book in itself is about personality types at large. Why limit this to Christianity? Why would you want to limit your audience?
I have somewhat ignored his references to his conclusions ending in his religious beliefs but I must add that I did consider dropping the book numerous times.
Let me give you one more example. At the age of 52 many of the clothes that fit me are sometimes in the section for teenagers. In particular, I have a problem finding jeans, shirts and T-shirts that fit me in the adult section. I am forever paying a local tailor to resize many of the clothing items I buy.
This last one is mostly found in pitch decks rather than in books. As much as you are fact-checking, make sure that what you quote as (TAM, SAM, SOM) Total Addressable Market, Size of Addressable Market and Size of Obtainable Market are as close to the truth as possible and explain how you have got to those numbers.
I see pitch deck after pitch deck where these numbers are just fished out of the internet from some similar industry which really does not translate into the final product being sold by that company. Incubators, Accelerators, and VCs are guilty of pushing entrepreneurs in showing big numbers, as they suggest these are the numbers that attract investors, however, these are exactly the numbers that drive your investors away if they are wrong.
If you overestimate or cannot show that you are capable of calculating these numbers in a meaningful manner, I personally for one would class you as incapable of running a business and fact-finding. If you live in fairly land and show me fairy tale numbers then how can I trust your sales figures, objectives, and even strategy?
In short. I have found the above to be a common problem in books and pitchdecks.
A) Check your fact
B) Don’t create unnecessary limits for your clients.
C) Don’t exaggerate and work on your numbers