Business Advice

“Naivety and belief”: How confidence can translate into a successful business idea

Matthew Elmas /

Confidence is a pretty important trait in business, it turns out, but nowhere more so than when pitching an idea.

Investors don’t part with money easily, and having a business idea dissected and criticised is an inevitable part of the pitching process.

But those who lose their nerve under those questions betray something far more telling to many potential backers.

Justin McLeod is the founder of dating app Hinge, which has raised $20 million to take on market dominators such as Match.com and Tinder.

It’s that curious startup that gives its employees US$200 every month to go on dates.

He says confidence was key when he was pitching to investors, who told him businesses like Match.com owned the market.

McLeod told Business Insider founders need a “naivety and belief that you’re going to make this succeed no matter what.”

Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran calls it “chutzpah”.

An example, according to Corcoran, were the inventors of a blanket sweatshirt product called Comfy, who she invested with.

“They had two examples of it, no inventory, they didn’t know their numbers, but they had the courage to sit there and pitch as though they had gold,” Corcoran said earlier this year.

Corcoran believes an avalanche of data or endless slides full of graphs can be a sure fire way to turn off anyone that might be interested.

But it’s not all about confidence though, McLeod says there’s a balance to be struck.

“If you hold too closely to your vision, and you’re not flexible, and you’re not willing to change it, and you’re not willing to evolve over time, then you can just hold onto some vision that’s not working.”

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany.

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