1.- Your proposal should be well thought out - Don't present something that won't stand up to questioning. I will ask about the situation, alternatives and ramifications of your idea. I will challenge your thinking with industry and market data trends. You'll be judged on smart thinking and convictions, not getting some magic answer I'm looking for.
2.- Be crisp and clear - You're the expert. If you can assure us you have analyzed the market trends, your target audience needs and behavior, have identified a real problem to solve and you offer a real solution, we don't need to hear the complete analysis. If you can't explain it clearly and simply, there's probably a more clear and simple approach.
3.- Convince me that you've thought stuff through and understand key issues - I won't trust your recommendations unless I trust your analysis. But don't give me the whole analysis, just give me the highlights and be able to answer my questions effectively.
4.- If you say it, be able to answer ALL the questions it raises - You can expect to be challenged on anything you say or write down to a very low level of detail. The hockey stick projection or “if we get only 1% market share” statement is not what I am looking at, but I am looking at your thought process and the rigor applied to modeling your business. You are at a very early stage so all your projections will change, but I challenge those numbers, as the challenge is the BS detector.
5.- Don't claim what you can't back up - Don't claim facts unless you can back them with details. Nothing kills credibility faster than a business plan built on your opinion or the opinion of the vocal minority that is part of your circle. We are looking for scale and solid foundations
6.- Avoid loose ends - Don't raise questions or present orthogonal and complementary paths without answering them or saying how you will answer them later, don't begin to address an issue and then fail to close it. Loose ends can lead to tangents, and are interpreted as an indication of inadequate preparation, or lack of depth.
7.- Love your idea but Love your execution plan and your team even more – 90% of tech startup companies fail because they lack focused execution, a well thought go-to-market plans and because the senior team assembled does not match the skill set needed for a successful execution. I am looking for a credible path to success that ties up your great idea, the target market needs and your financial projections. “Build it and they will come” or “Get big fast and figure out monetization later” is a sure path to losing money. For every Facebook, Amazon or Google there are one thousand failed tech startups that never managed to make money or retain their initial audience/user base.