I have made some of the worst mistakes doing demos. I also like to think that I sometimes do an ok job, too. When raising money, investors really love for you to get out of PowerPoint and show product. They love it. Heck, you love it. Its real (hopefully). Your product should get everyone excited about what your business and your company. I like to spend 5-10 minutes of my 20 minute investor pitch doing a demo. You should have it scripted out and burned into your brain. It needs to be well rehearsed. For a little inspiration, check-out some of the demos and CEO pitches that show up on Vator.TV, TechCrunch, and TED.
After you become a well-polished demo machine, don’t forget to prep for the little things. In particular, please prep your machine before a demo. Here are some simple things to do:
1. No demo noise - Turn off any alert-oriented applications like email or instant messaging. This is extremely annoying to your audience (and potentially embarrassing). I remember pitching to a well known firm on Sand Hill Road while little Yahoo Messenger alerts were popping up explaining how you can make a certain "member" larger.
2. Keep it clean - Prepare a clean desktop. Remove any personal background images or lots of icons on your desktop. Keep the vacation pictures off the screen.
3. Keep it local - Have your demo scripts, bookmarks, or local demo files, etc. ready to go either in your Web Browser (if its Web-based) or a file folder saved on your desktop. Always have a local demo available, too. You never know what type of situation you are walking into and not having a demo available is just sub-optimal.
4. Demo your company’s mojo - Remember what your demo is all about. Your demonstration should be constructed to reinforce the key investor points that you make around your unique sales proposition. You will only want to show features that reinforce your points around unique technology, as well as the attractiveness to the audience in your total addressable market (or TAM). You will want to layer specific examples in the demonstration. These examples can be comments and feedback from customers or they could specific pieces of data that you have (e.g., the feature is so compelling that customers spend 15 minutes on this one screen). Its wise to walk thru a couple of typical use cases (e.g., an older man with a heart ailment types "heart bypass" in Google, our site is so deep with SEO goodness that we show up in the second search result, etc, etc).