Focus on your pitch deck, not a word doc

Conventional wisdom is that business plans are written documents. I disagree. Entrepreneurs should focus on their pitch decks, financial models, 1-pagers, and elevator pitches –  and create written business plans only if demanded by prospective investors after several meetings.

Here’s why:

1. Word docs are long, and few investors read them in their entirety.

2. They take far too long to write and update.

3. You can’t pitch from a Word doc.

4. If you are trying to persuade your audience, to invest for example, you can be far more persuasive by pitching in person. Also, you can be there to see how people are reacting, modify your pitch, address concerns, and get critical feedback for revising your pitch.

5. Printing and copying Word docs takes longer, costs more and kills more trees.

6. The only time you may truly need a business plan is if a venture capital firm or corporate investor gives you the thumbs up on your pitch, and is in late stages of closing a deal. If at that point it’s a matter of formality, write a plan then.

Guy Kawasaki, noted silicon valley entrepreneur and early stage investor, puts it this way: A good business plan is a detailed version of a pitch – as opposed to a pitch being a distilled version of a business plan. Your pitch is more important than your business plan, as it will determine whether you’re rejected or generate further interest. Few sophisticated investors will read a business plan as the first step… Frankly, it may not even be read. You will, however, get immediate reactions to your pitch.

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7 Responses to Focus on your pitch deck, not a word doc

  1. [...] trumps word docs I recently wrote a post about how the text-based business plan is obsolete, and entrepreneurs should focus on their [...]

  2. [...] business, and how to think about financing your business. You’ll find that my approach favors speed and flexibility - a combination I find practical for today’s environment.  Need some help? [...]

  3. [...] says: Presentation not text doc Not everybody agrees with my argument that entrepreneurs should focus on their pitch decks, not on writing text-based business [...]

  4. Well, I had to put together a business plan in a €4 million VC investment. So I did – just a few hours before signing the closing docs :) … all because of formalities.

    I don’t think anybody ever read it.

    Spend all your time, energy, and creativity on the pitch (probably a 10-15 slide deck) and master the in-person presentations & debates. Focus on that!

  5. [...] evidence in favor of deck, not doc You’ve heard it from me before, and you’ll hear it again: Do the all the important thinking behind your business plan, but [...]

  6. [...] for a business, and how to think about financing your venture. You’ll see that my approach favors speed and flexibility - a combination I find practical for today’s environment. You’ll also find [...]

  7. [...] probably afford to use his ready-fire-aim approach. If not, be sure to think through the basics. Don’t spend months running doing research and analysis up the wazoo, but at the same time, don’t sprint blindly down [...]

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