When it comes to new business ideas, whether developing internally at an existing organization or being put forward for startup funding by an entrepreneur, there are more factors at play than simply the quality of the idea itself. Charisma, credibility, trust—these are the kinds of qualities that people are drawn to when deciding if they can back a new project, product, or service. These are seemingly intangible elements, but if we look closer it’s possible to distill how they might be harnessed.
In a recent piece for Inc., writer and entrepreneur Martin Zwilling highlighted Suneel Gupta’s new book as a source for better understanding and learning how to use these key skills. Backable, co-written with Carlye Adler, argues that the key to success in business is not talent, connections, or ideas, but the ability to persuade people to take a chance on potential. To that end, the article focused on seven key steps on the path to becoming more backable taken from Gupta’s book.
- Persuade yourself before you try to persuade others.
- Put yourself in a story that makes your case memorable.
- Highlight some key info that goes beyond normal sources.
- Show momentum that makes your vision inevitable.
- Draw people into your story to make them insiders.
- Adjust based on feedback from many practice rounds.
- Don’t let your ego show and make people defensive.
Delving further into each point, Zwilling summarized Gupta’s tips while adding his own thoughts from past experiences as an angel investor. In the case of why it matters to include a personal element in pitches, he writes:
Facts and figures can go only so far in convincing investors that your solution is a good one. People listen and remember a personal story and impact more than a large chart of facts. Highlight a personal anecdote to make your message hit home and become real.
For example, I know from experience that it is hard to turn down a funding request from an entrepreneur whose solution has rescued him from a health crisis, and now he wants to offer it to a large population of others facing the same challenge. I can easily relate.
The piece closes by making it clear that the skills in Backable are not only learnable, but are applicable to people far beyond those seeking funding for a new undertaking. The strategies from Gupta’s book can be useful for anyone looking to change careers, re-enter the workforce, or follow new ambitions.
Suneel Gupta went from being the face of failure in the pages of the New York Times to being the “New Face of Innovation” for the New York Stock Exchange. In his new book, Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance on You, he distills an important approach to business that relies not on connections or raw talent but the ability to persuade others to take a chance on potential. The book is rooted in Gupta’s journey of discovery from a twice-failed entrepreneur to a leader behind two IPOs. In his presentations, he shares both hard-earned wisdom and the deft understanding of modern business that helped him succeed.