The new-style business plan for today’s market still contains the traditional sections like the operational plan and the marketing plan. However, communication styles have radically changed, largely due to technology. Everything is short and sweet today as people tweet, online chat, and instant message in their private and business worlds. The result is that every business needs a perfected business pitch that communicates the enterprise quickly but professionally, and especially if investors or partners are needed.
Get Right to the Point
An entrepreneur and investor shared the secrets of business pitching in the Harvard Business Review. His first point is that the pitch will often determine whether an entrepreneur is successful at attracting investors. Angel investors, venture capitalists, and even bank loan officers are much more likely to read a business plan if the pitch gives enough detail to convey what the business is all about but does not go into so much detail that it loses the interest of the person listening or reading the overview.
One of the most challenging aspects of developing a good pitch is determining the information that will best give a high-level overview of the business. Developing a business pitch first will force the entrepreneur to think about the business strategy that equates to likely success. It is a way to funnel critical business information into a short document and presentation so that the entrepreneur does not get bogged down in details.
Following are some guidelines on what to include in a professional and high quality business pitch:
• Business brand – What makes this business unique?
• Market – What will the business do for the market? Will it meet an existing need, solve a problem, or create new demand with an innovative product or service?
• Customers or clients – What is the customer or client profile? Who is most likely to buy what the business is offering?
• Competition – Who are the main competitors and how is the business unique among them?
• Marketing – How will the entrepreneur reach the profiled customers or clients to let them know the business exists?
• Financial – How will the business generate revenue and what are the major planned expenses?
• Suppliers – How will the business ensure a continuing stream of materials and supplies?
• Investors and/or partners – Does the entrepreneur need an influx of cash, expertise, and/or knowledge to make the business work?
From Another Perspective
One the pitch is completed it can be fleshed out into a full-length business plan at some point. In fact, the Small Business Administration points out that the Company Description section of the business plan is like an extended elevator pitch. A verbal business pitch is only about two minutes long so the written pitch is only a page or two in length. Obviously there is no room for including non-essential information. The pitch should be adaptable to the situation too.
Developing a solid business pitch is not as easy as it sounds for many entrepreneurs because so much information is packed into such a small document. The new business owner is excited about the business and wants to share a lot of information. Developing a pitch is an excellent exercise though because it forces the entrepreneur to think about the business from other people’s perspectives.
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