In a classic game of 20 questions, one person thinks of an object, and then the other players can ask up to 20 questions to help identify what the object is. Players can use both broad and specific questions to tease out the object’s essential characteristics.

All kinds of formulas out there define what a “perfect” pitch is: no more than five minutes, no more than 10 slides, and so on. But what follows the successful pitch deck may be even more essential. When the audience for your pitch asks questions, you’d better be prepared with more than crickets.

In addition to putting together your pitch deck and talk, spend some time identifying core questions investors are likely to ask. Then make sure you can deliver clear answers. Here are 20 example questions to get you started:

  • 1. What product or service is your company offering?
  • 2. Who is your core customer?
  • 3. What problem does your service or product solve for the customer?
  • 4. Is there competition in your space?
  • 5. If there are competitors, what new angles does your company bring to beat the competition?
  • 6. How do you track events in your market?
  • 7. What is your marketing strategy?
  • 8. Do you have any customer testimonials or success stories to share?
  • 9. What other indicators of success can you share?
  • 10. What is your burn rate?
  • 11. What does it cost you to acquire a new customer?
  • 12. What experience do you as a founder have?
  • 13. Are all the key team members committed full time to the venture?
  • 14. What mistakes has the team made so far?
  • 15. What team members do you need to add, and when?
  • 16. How long do you see yourself remaining involved in the business?
  • 17. What goals will any new investment enable you to achieve?
  • 18. What share of the business are you willing to give up in exchange for an investment?
  • 19. How and when will investors get their money back?
  • 20. Will there be other investment rounds?