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Showing posts with label Presentations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Presentations. Show all posts

Easier Way to Create a Venture Plan

A good approach to creating a business plan to present to prospective investors and collaborators is to start with a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.  

Creating individual slides for each topic tends to force clarity in thinking. 

One interesting "trick" ... use the "speaker notes" in a PowerPoint business plan slide deck to transform the slides into a more formal written business plan.

It is very common for prospective investors to ask for a copy of the slides before, during, and after a presentation. The down-side is that not all of the pertinent information is on the slides. The speaker for each slide is providing that information. However, there is a easy and fairly elegant solution. Instead of just printing the slide deck, print the slide deck with the accompanying speaker notes. But not just any ordinary speaker notes ...

Use the "Speaker Notes" feature of PowerPoint to write sentences and paragraphs as needed to help the reader understand what is on the slide (since the actual speaker is not there to tell them in person). Just like writing a "formal" document except with the added benefit here of coordinating with the venture plan slide deck and graphics.

There are typically 10 to 20 slides in a business venture plan slide deck (a suggested base outline is below).

From the PowerPoint slide deck with the sentences and paragraphs, the slides with "speaker notes" can be printed one or two slides per page. The results is a "written" business plan that coordinates perfectly with the slide presentation, and has more details than simply printing the slides alone.

Base (but likely not all elements) of an outline for a business plan/presentation ...
1] Title ... name of your venture, logo, tag line, contact information ... a billboard executive summary of the venture
2] Problem/Opportunity ... pain your alleviating or the pleasure you're providing
3] Value Proposition ... benefits versus price
4] Underlying "Magic" ... your solution, marketing brochure, the "secret sauce" behind your venture ... photos, pictures, diagrams,
actual prototype?
5] Business Model ... how you make money ... business model canvas is a good graphic
6] Go-to-Market Plan ... customer NWD profile and how you will fill the holes ... buyer, decision maker, influencer, user, et al
7] Competitive Analysis ... key competitors and perhaps a SWOT(T)
8] Management Team ... you, key advisors
9] Financial Objectives ... first week, month, quarter, year ... how you will meet these objectives ... key metrics
10] Timeline and Status ... Past 6 months, status now, next 6 months ...

While these 10 slides are fundamental, 10 slides alone are often not enough for some base business venture plan presentations. Add as needed but resist the urge to have more than about 18 slides for a 10 to 15 minute presentation.

Stages of Venture Evolution

Successful business ventures typically move from a] problem/solution ideation to b] planning to c] startup to d] stable to e] sustainable to f] scalable.

Another perspective ...

1. Opportunity ... gap in market, new technology ... maybe, just maybe, we can do something here
2. Idea ... clear problems, viable solutions ... hmmm, looks like there is something here
3. Concept ... viable strategies for earning a profit solving customer problems better than the competition
4. Venture ... viable innovation concept (product, service, process, position, method); viable team (innovator, entrepreneur, money manager); viable resources (people, places, things, time, money)
5. Organization ... team, roles, clear strategies,
6. Company ... legal entity (corporation, LLC, et alia), pre-sales, unstable financials (raising funds)
7. Business ... low-hanging fruit, sales, customers, stable, positive EBITDA, viable business model
8. Enterprise ... scale, scope, markets, growth, significant EBITDA, defined task and assignments, employees
9. Institution ... significant market share, significant industry position, re-invention, continual innovation
10. Tombstone ... the cows have run out of milk

An 18-slide Venture Plan Presentation

Slide 1: "Billboard"
Slide 2: Core Team ... who, what
Slide 3: Problem / Customer / Opportunity ... scale and scope of problem, SOM/SAM/TAM
Slide 4: Solution ... brochure
Slide 5: Value Proposition ... Customer NWD Profile, Benefits, FFFF
Slide 6: "Underlying Magic"... differentiation, competitive advantages, core competencies
Slide 7: Industry and Environment ... Who, What, SWOT
Slide 8: Competitive Analysis ... Who, What, SWOT
Slide 9: Business Model ... BM canvas
Slide 10: Go-to-Market Plan ... Strategies
Slide 11: Sales Plan ... Objectives
Slide 12: Operations ... Production, distribution, delivery, margin objectives
Slide 13: Growth Strategies ... Scale and Scope
Slide 14: Timeline ... What, when, where
Slide 15: Financial Objectives and Key Metrics ...
Slide 16: Use of Funds ...
Slide 17: Funding Proposal ... Equity, debt, grants, gifts
Slide 18: "Billboard"

Slides 19 to 100+ will have all the gory details!! Lists of 100: customers, prospective customers, target markets, competitors, prospective collaborators, suppliers, prospective investors, ...

These 18 slides also form the foundation for a formal written business plan and an executive summary.

Elevator Pitch Tips

  1. Figure out what is unique about what you do: The whole idea behind a great elevator pitch is to intrigue someone. It's an ice-breaker and a marketing pitch — all rolled into one. Your elevator pitch must have a hook. "I own a flower shop downtown" doesn't hold a candle to "I'm a specialty florist who deals in rare, South American tropical flowers that bloom in the winter."
  2. Make it exciting: A superior elevator pitch increases your heart rate. It speaks to who you really are and what excites you about your business. It has integrity. What is it about your business that really motivates you? Incorporate that.
  3. Keep it simple: A good elevator pitch doesn't try and be all things to all people. Rather, it conveys a clear idea in a short amount of time. It might be a few sentences, but no more than a paragraph or so. Keep it under 30 seconds.
  4. Write it down: Use the guidelines above and take a stab at it. Write down your pitch, say it out loud, re-write it, and then re-write it again. Remember what I always tell my daughters: "Writing is re-writing!"
  5. Practice, and then practice some more: The first few times you try out your elevator pitch may be a bit uncomfortable, but it gets easier. After a while, it will become second nature to you, and when it does, you will be glad you practiced.
[Thank you, Steve Strauss]

Characteristics of a Great Venture Plan

  1. Presents a clear explanation of why the venture concept is a significant opportunity.
  2. Provides a concise description of the venture's products or services.
  3. Provides a clear, rational explanation of why the venture idea is better than anything else already available.
  4. Succinctly explains customer benefits in qualitative and quantitative terms.
  5. Provides a clear explanation of the one or two things the company does best.
  6. Focuses on market-driven opportunities.
  7. Provides evidence of customer acceptance of the venture's products and services.
  8. Presents evidence of the marketability of the products and services.
  9. Presents a quality, sophisticated, experienced management team, advisors, and board of directors with complementary and encompassing business skills.
  10. Gives a clear sense of what the founders expect to accomplish in 3 to 7 years.
  11. Provides a rational explanation of why the investor should trust the management team to do what they say they are going to do.
  12. Identifies all the alternatives available to prospective customers.
  13. Addresses how the venture will develop and sustain a distinct competitive advantage.
  14. Addresses how the venture will develop and sustain a proprietary position.
  15. Contains reasonable financial projections with key data explained and justified.
  16. hows how and when the venture will generate sustainable positive cash flow streams.
  17. Describes the manufacturing and/or service delivery processes and associated costs in appropriate detail.
  18. Explains and justifies the level of product development required.
  19. Justifies financially the means chosen to sell the products and services.
  20. Supports credible growth projections.
  21. Provides a clear explanation of how the money invested in the venture will be used.
  22. Shows how and when the venture will generate sustainable profit.
  23. Shows an appreciation of investor needs.
  24. Shows how investors can cash out in three to seven years, with an appropriate return on their investment.
  25. Provides a clear explanation of what the investor will get for their investment.
  26. Identifies significant risks and proposes rational contingencies.
  27. Has the right appearance...not too fancy, not too plain.
  28. Is arranged properly with the executive summary, table of contents, and chapters in right order.
  29. Is the "right length"...not too long, not too convey all the pertinent information.
  30. Is plausible throughout.
  31. Has facts rather than opinions
  32. Is quantitative rather than qualitative
  33. Stresses specifics rather than generalities
  34. Reads like a combination of the Wall Street Journal, a model of good business writing, and USA Today, a model of good story-telling

Tips for Better Presentations

When considering what type of visual representation to use for your data or ideas, there are some rules of thumb to consider:
  1. Use visuals (slides) sparingly. One of the biggest problems in some presentations is the overuse of visuals. A useful rule of thumb is one visual for every one to two minutes of presentation time. Fifteen minute presentation means fifteen slides!
  2. Use visuals pictorially. Graphs, pictures of equipment, flow charts, etc., all give the viewer an insight that would require many words or columns of numbers.
  3. Present one key point per visual. Keep the focus of the visual simple and clear. Presenting more than one main idea per visual can detract from the impact.
  4. Make text and numbers legible. Minimum font size for most room set-ups is 18 pt. Can you read everything? if not, make it larger. Highlight the areas of charts where you want the audience to focus.
  5. Use color carefully. Use no more than 3-4 colors per visual to avoid a rainbow effect. Colors used should contrast with each other to provide optimum visibility. For example, a dark blue background with light yellow letters or numbers. Avoid patterns in colour presentations; they are difficult to distinguish.
  6. Make visuals big enough to see. Walk to the last row where people will be sitting and make sure that everything on the visual can be seen clearly.
  7. Graph data. Whenever possible avoid tabular data in favor of graphs. Graphs allow the viewer to picture the information and data in a way that numbers alone can’t do.
  8. Make pictures and diagrams easy to see. Too often pictures and diagrams are difficult to see from a distance. The best way to check is to view it from the back of the room where the audience will be. Be careful that labels inside the diagrams are legible from the back row also.
  9. Make visuals attractive. If using color, use high contrast such as yellow on black or yellow on dark blue. Avoid clutter and work for simplicity and clarity.
  10. Avoid miscellaneous visuals. If something can be stated simply and verbally, there is no need for a visual.
[Thank you, Ian McKenzie]

Things to Avoid in a Venture Plan

  1. Form over substance. If it looks good but doesn't have a solid basis in fact and research, you might as well save your energy.
  2. Empty claims. If you say something is so, back it up in the next sentence with a statistic or fact or quote from a knowledgeable source that supports the claim.
  3. Rumors about the competition. If you know for sure one is going out of business you can allude to it, but avoid listing their weaknesses or hearsay. Stick to facts.
  4. Superlatives and strong adjectives. Words like major, incredible, amazing, outstanding, unbelievable, terrific, great, most, best, and fabulous don't have a place in a business plan. Avoid ``unique" unless you can demonstrate with facts that the product or service is truly ``one of a kind". Your opportunity is probably not unique.
  5. Long documents. Keep it under 25 pages total. Write whatever you want to write, but keep it at home. If they want details, they will ask.
  6. Over estimating on your financial projections. Sure you want to look good, but resist optimism here. Use half of what you think is reasonable. Better to underestimate than set expectations that aren't fulfilled.
  7. Overly optimistic time frames. Ask around or do research on the Internet. If it takes most companies 6-12 months to get up and running, that is what it will take yours. If you think it will take 3 months to develop your prototype, double it. You will face delays you don't know about yet--ones you can't control.
  8. Gimmicks. Serious investors want facts, not hype. They may eat the chocolate rose that accompanies the business plan for your new florist shop, but it won't make them any more interested in investing in the venture.
  9. Typos and misspelled words. Use your spell checker, hire an editor or have four people read the document from back to front, but get those errors out of there if you want to be taken seriously.
  10. Amateurish financial projections. Spend some money and get an accountant to do these for you. They'll help you think through the financial side of your venture, plus put them into a standard business format that a business person expects.
[Thank you, Kaye Vivian]

Business Venture Plan Presentation Guidelines

Here's an outline for a typical business concept presentation. These types of presentations are usually about 15 minutes for the formal presentation, 10 minutes or more for an "interactive discussion."

A.  Opening and Introductions (see 1 below for content suggestions)
B.  Problem/Customer/Solution Opportunity Story (crafted to fit the venture ... see 2, 3, 4 below for content suggestions)
C.  Competition, Environment, Innovation, Competitive Advantage, Differentiation (crafted to fit the venture ... see 5, 6, 7 below for content suggestions)
D.  Earn, Work, Team, et al, as appropriate to the venture (crafted to fit the venture ... see 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 below for content suggestions)
E.  Financial Projections (crafted to fit the venture ... see 16 below for content suggestions)
F.  Funding Proposal, Summary, and Call to Action (crafted to fit the venture ... see 17 and 18 below for content suggestions)
G.  Closing and Interactive Discussion (see 19 and 20 below for content suggestions)

Detailed elements of the presentation include ...
  1. Opening Billboard Slide: Company name, company location, contact information, legal statements (proprietary information, copyright, etc.) ...
  2. Problem / Opportunity: The problem your venture will solve, the significance of the problem, the opportunity this offers your venture, quality of the opportunity, growth potential ...
  3. Product and/or Service Solution Description: Essential product/service idea, category of product/service, proprietary protection, entry strategies ...
  4. Customers and Target Markets: Target market characteristics, size, why this market is the best for the venture, market validation research ...
  5. Environment and Context: Industry overview, research results and analysis, major competitors, benchmark ventures, timeliness, regulations ...
  6. Innovation: what the venture does that is new and better
  7. Competitive Advantages: Market focus, value proposition, core competencies, barriers to entry, differentiation, competitive validation, how the venture will position itself to meet/beat the competition, ...
  8. Business Model: How the venture will earn a profit, expected margins, sources of recurring revenue ...
  9. Marketing and Sales Strategies: Pricing strategies, distribution model, partnering, promotional strategies ...
  10. Technology Strategies: Technology, product development ...
  11. Operational Strategies: Production methodologies, manpower requirements, equipment requirements, material management, flow diagram of key processes ...
  12. Intellectual Property and Legal Issues Strategies: Patents, trademarks, trade names, copyrights, trade secrets, operating and other agreements, legal structure ...
  13. Organization: Management team, relevant domain knowledge of the team, commitment, advisers, directors, management to be added, culture, talent ...
  14. Development Plan: Current company status, number of employees, development stage, early revenue, number of customers, relevant historical information, long-term venture goals, growth strategies, timeline ...
  15. Risks and Contingencies: Downside risks and contingency plans, upside risks and expansion plans ...
  16. Financial Projections: Key assumptions, historical financial statements, pro forma statements, return on investment ...
  17. Funding Proposal: Total investment funding and resources being sought, use of funds in 4 or 5 general categories, any unusual use of funds, return of cash to investors and entrepreneurs, harvest strategy ...
  18. Summary: Vision; mission; goals; a brief who, what, where, when, why, and how of the venture ...
  19. Closing Billboard Slide: Company name, company location, contact information ...
  20. Variety of support slides keyed to most-likely-to-be-asked questions
Recommendations: presenter's name on each slide, company logo on each slide.

Tip: Keep in mind WHO is your audience. WHO are you trying to impress. It's usually NOT everyone in the room, rather it's the decision makers ... the boss, the investor, the president of the company with which you are trying to form a collaborative partnership.

Presentation Tips

To sell your new idea, your innovation, your bright new concept to others, you'll almost certainly be making some presentations, formal or informal. Here are some tips to help you do your best ...

Venture Plan Presentation Outline

  1. Opening Billboard Slide: Company name, company location, contact information, legal statements (proprietary information, copyright, etc.) ...
  2. Problem / Opportunity: The problem your venture will solve, the significance of the problem, the opportunity this offers your venture, quality of the opportunity, growth potential ...