Like those of you who are angel investors or venture capitalists, I hear business plan pitches just about every day. I’ve been keeping a mental record of the most common mistakes I see. Here are a few “no-no’s” to avoid:
1) Don’t jump on the latest fad. I’ve seen entrepreneurs try to explain that they don’t have to worry about competition because they will create a “Blue Ocean” or “Purple Cow.” Eye-rolls nearly always ensue.
2) Don’t be afraid of white space. A slide with one photo can be far more persuasive than a slide with seven bullet points. Resist the urge to cram every supporting fact into your deck. Prioritize and keep it simple and clean.
3) Don’t try to show how much business lingo you know or explain ideas in complex ways. If your mom wouldn’t understand what you are saying, simplify it until she would.
4) Don’t forget you are planning a business, not just a product. If you spend 20 minutes on your entire presentation, don’t spend more than three or four minutes on the product or service offering.
5) Don’t send your plan out ahead of time or expect it to make sense without you there to explain it. A presentation is for presenting. A one-pager is for reading. A hybrid is for the garbage can.