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Monday, April 18, 2011

Prepare the NewCo Slide Show

As a follow up to the article on developing your business plan, you may have searched the web and found sites which offer software, advice, and reference materials that are helpful or expand on the subject.  One website you may find helpful is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): http://www.sba.gov/  .  The site provides useful info for starting businesses; some of the info may fit your needs early on in the NewCo development.  A second site that sometimes is helpful but, in a different way, is the Security & Exchange Commission:  http://www.sec.gov/ .  On occasions, I have been able to pull competitor company filings and get added information or validation of markets, competition, and analysis of the field.  There are many such resources you can explore that will help in creating a more complete and accurate business plan.

The plan and executive summary should be quite useful for you in thinking how to present the business opportunity as a slide show.  You will need both a slide show and the elevator pitch.  I discussed these earlier, but for clarity, the elevator pitch is a quick summary of the opportunity that can be delivered without props in 30 sec to 2 min; I like the 30 sec pitch best. 

Slide shows vary greatly in style and content.  You may already have your own style and can use that for the presentation.  Expect your slide show to change and improve regularly.  I often modify my presentations based on questions and discussions that come up during delivery.  This form of refinement is good as it helps you improve the clarity and sharpness of the presentation and address routine questions before they are asked.  Giving the presentation to groups or individuals that can provide feedback real-time is a good thing to consider for the first few times you deliver the talk.  Perhaps you can participate in a venture forum or local business competition and test the presentation.  Sometimes the competitions will pair the entrances with advisors to help improve the business and presentation.  The key is practice and obtaining feedback, because it helps improve the delivery before you start seeking funds or interact with prospective partners.

As far as my style, I always go back to my time in graduate school and first job.  A friend once gave me some great advice: “Make your presentation such that the person with a hangover in the back of the room for an 8 AM presentation sees and understands what you want to say”.   This has translated to my use of larger type face and bullet format presenting key points rather than sentences.  The listener sees my take home message even if they are not paying attention to me, i.e., they can read the take home message and still get the point I wanted to make. 

More specific information on my slide style:

1.      Slide 1:  Title of the talk, possibly company logo
2.      Make Slide 2:  Legal language counsel will insist on, i.e., the forward looking statement
3.      IN ALL SUBSEQUENT SLIDES: The slide title is the take home message of that slide.
4.      Slide 3:  The Mission Statement; if you have one.
5.      Slide 4:  Summary of key points to remember from the talk, i.e., “Tell them what you are going to tell them” or “tell them why they should want to invest in your company”.
6.      Slides 5-X:  Introduction to the technology, why it is compelling, and why I believe it works.  Often, this is data leading the listener to understand why the product can be created.
7.      Slides showing proof-of-concept; if you have that data already.  This may be prototype tests, clinical trial data, or other such info.
8.      Slides showing how a manufacturing plan for the product.
9.      Slide showing market info and how the company will make money from the product.  What are the price points, volume expected to be sell annually, how to capture the market share, etc.
10.   Slide showing summary of IP. Other areas that help form the moat around your technology to protect it.
11.   Slides showing timelines and milestones; sometimes this is a good place to add the use of proceeds overlay so an investor sees inflection points after subsequent investments.
12.   Slide on management team, board and advisors.
13.   Slide summarizing the talk: “tell them what you told them”, or summarize why your NewCo is a good investment.”

The presentation can be provided as a Power Point or as a PDF format in advance to the group you plan to visit for business or financing.  Your first presentations may even be by phone.  Sometimes the group will not review in advance while other groups may review in detail and have research your technology, company, and your background.

There is no set format or guideline and you will have to decide what works for you.  Your best help will come from advisors and testing the presentation in forums to ensure it is clear.  You may want two presentations, one which can be delivered in 20 min and the other with more detail taking 45 min.  The 20 min presentation is usually what is best to deliver to investors.  You should keep this at a level which most will be able to understand.  They may be highly experienced in your field or just experienced in finance.  Make the presentation to the level of the person with the least experience.  You can always add technical description as part of the discussion or answers to questions for the listener with a higher understanding of the space.

I hope this general summary is helping with your company development.  The process is not overly complex.  As usually I welcome questions and comments.  My contact info is listed below.

 Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon