I’m Steve Davis and I want to talk about forgetting to do a business plan. Basically, forget it. Nobody reads it. Focus on your pitch deck. Your 10 to 12 to 15-page pitch deck, which will have all the components of a business plan, but instead of spending hours and hours writing paragraphs you can do it in bullet form. It allows you to fine-tune it much more quickly.
Pitch Decks Are More Effective Than Business Plans
Once you’re satisfied with it, then you can go to an executive summary easily. But in reality, nobody reads business plans anymore. You send a business plan to venture capitalist, it just gets put on the pile and it doesn’t get read. You send it to potential investors, it doesn’t get read. What they want to do is have an introduction, they want to hear your pitch, and that’s the way they make their decisions.
What is a Pitch Deck?
A pitch deck is a PowerPoint that has anywhere from 12 to 18 slides, which basically outline your entire business including what you’re looking for from a financing standpoint. Where companies go wrong, and I used to do this, being an ex-engineer, they put 1000 words on a slide. The thing is, most people don’t read it. You really want them to listen to you.
What Should Your Pitch Deck Contain?
So you want to have one or two major thoughts per slide, and maybe some statistics on it, again in very large type or in bullets. Preferably if you can find a graphic or a photo that reinforces it too. But think about your pitch deck as a green screen for you presenting, because you really want potential investors listening to you, and not reading the information off the screen.
If you know who Guy Kawasaki is, I’ve known Guy for 30 years, he’s got a couple of great things out there that you should learn before you actually pitch and put together your pitch deck. He’s got a pitch called “10, 20, 30”: 10 slides, 20 minutes long, 30-point type. You want to make it very easily readable. He also has two other slide decks I suggest you look at: “10 common lies entrepreneurs tell venture capitalists,” and “10 common lies venture capitalists tell entrepreneurs.” They’re all real. If you look at them, you’ll be able to find what you should and shouldn’t put in your pitch deck.
Practice Giving Great Presentations With Enthusiasm
Have a great time when you’re presenting. When you put your pitch deck together, practice is key, knowing the topic is key. The better you are at presenting it, the more comfortable you’re going to be, and if you’re comfortable it’s going to come across a lot better.