I’m astonished as how less we talk about ‘Our Values’. We do see many articles written on ‘Having the right value’ or ‘How to build a Kick-ass culture?’. But if you think about it, this is not at all talked anywhere.
I think, one of the most comprehensive presentation that a founder will give is to an investor (especially an early stage one). How many of the early stage investor deck has ‘Values’ slide? If you are at or crossed the early stage, then there is good chance that you have seen Dave McClure’s How to pitch an angel(VC)?. I love Dave’s presentations — to the point with no BS. Many of us follow his slides while we make our slides. Similar to this, but lesser known, I have seen several templates of pitching, but none of them (as far as I remember) had ‘Value’ slide.
Why is it important to talk more about it?
When you are pitching (especially to early stage investors), they are investing in YOU (the founders). I think one of the most important things to look for in a person (or a team) is the set of values that drive him(them).
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Values decide how the team will react to different situations. So the ‘Values’ slide is a summary for anyone to get answers for certain questions:
- Whether they will quit when facing adversities? —There will be a lot of them.
- Whether they will take shortcuts? — Whether they will bypass the ethics barriers when they can, because none is looking. I believe people who take shortcuts in the wrong way would hit dead-ends sooner or later.
- Whether they are coachable? — Unless the team is coachable, 95/100 times, it becomes tough, because they will think they know everything.
- Whether they will treat money with respect? — I have heard stories of how founders took investor money and enjoyed in pubs (was shocking). What you need is a team who would treat money as their own money or as a loan.
These are only a few questions on-top-of-my-head. As they go through the different values that they have, it may answer questions about their aspirations, priorities, end goal, beliefs/philosophies and more.
I believe Value match is a very big component of choosing whom to work with. Would you choose a partner with a completely different Value system? It is just about the same in a startup, whether it is choosing a co-founder or investor or team members.
The above is a slide from Vibe’s story/pitch deck. I should acknowledge that this is a new slide which is added to my presentations. I also followed the templates (to an extent) and didn’t have this. But now, I’m very clear — whether it is our story or investor pitch, it is not complete without this slide.
If you come to our office, you would see values written in big fonts on our walls. If you ask any of our team members.
About Our Values at Vibe:
Let me make it very brief since I don’t want to brag here (will do in another post).
- Ethics - Do the Right thing, not the easy one.
- Team - A company is as good as the team.
- Listen- None of us are Steve Jobs, so we listen to our customers.
- Spend Wisely- Every penny we save is every penny we earn.
- Enjoy the journey - It is all about the journey and learnings.
- No quitting - As Will Smith puts it, ‘We get ona treadmill, either you stop of I die’.
There you go. That is what I think about value and how it should be part of our Overview, recruitment, Investor, Story and other relevant decks. If and when I become an investor some day (That’s the plan for some day 🙂 ), I would want to see a ‘Value’ slide to get me excited enough.