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Know Your Elevator Pitch

Business Advice, Business Tools, Financial

Know Your Elevator PitchBy Jenivieve Elly, Marketing Coach

Next up for your investor presentation: your elevator pitch. The approach here is that you should be able to explain your business and services in the time it takes to ride in an elevator. Therefore, it needs to be short, focused, and powerful.

Craft your elevator pitch to the type of investor. For instance, if I’m selling a pickup truck to a farmer, my pitch would be different that if I’m selling it to an off-roader.  Segment the elevator pitch as follows…


1. Customer need/problem and solution

Focus: What is the customer’s need or problem? State the benefit to the customer.

Slide: Make it powerful – use a prospect video. Show a need graph with upper and lower limits based on specific experts, use expert or visionary quotes or videos. Be concise and clear.


2. Why is the product a winner?

Focus: Why is the product compelling vs. other solutions? What is your differentiating technology?

Slide: Use graphs and tables. Give the reference to any provisional or full patent filing.


3. Anchor your elevator pitch

Focus: Anchor your elevator pitch.

 Slide: Tell a short story about why a user will be a loyal customer for life.

Investor Presentation: Greed Appeal

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“Greed is Good!” — Gordon Gekko

Investor Presentation: Greed AppealBy John Montelione, Business Coach

Here is the first installment of our blogs on Investor Presentations. First up, The Greed Appeal. It is based on four “values” … 

1. Value Proposition to Investor

Focus: Here’s what it worth to you!

We’re here to seek your partnership in building within X years a $YYY million company The opportunity is be clear and concise We believe the opportunity is similar to _company__ (this should be a company with whom they are aware and even better, if they missed the opportunity to invest).

2. Value Confirmation

Focus: We have turned over every rock and did our home work to identify the opportunity.

List all the research you have done include logo’s of significant companies plus quotes (or better yet a video) from key experts and prospects.

3. Value Delivery

Focus: Our team is highly qualified to pursue the opportunity and to DOMINATE the market. Introduce each member of your team with their qualifications to execute the company’s plan.

Support your introduction of each team member with a slide that has a picture of the total team and highlights the team member and qualifications.

4. Value the Right Type of Investment Opportunity

Focus: Get the investors agreeing that they want to hear more.

Verbal: Based upon my initial conversations with _ investor __ I got the impression that you were interested in this market. If you have specific doubts about the industry – please tell me now…so we can address your concerns. If not, here’s what I will cover…

Our next topic: the Elevator Pitch


Investor Presentation Content

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Investor Presentation ContentBy John Montelione, Business Coach

I have my own biases from giving sales presentations to prospect customers that I would like to share with you. I usually start with who is my customer (in this case the investor) and what do they know about me.  Let’s view it from your position…

  • Who is your audience?
    They are money-managers or investors who want to invest in the next  Facebook.
  • What does the investor know about you?
    You have managed to get the attention of an investor. It is through a mutual contact, a great letter you wrote, a meeting at an investor fair, etc. Bottom line – he or she may have remembered something about you but now any info about you is three standard deviations from his central temporal lobe.
  • What do his/her partners know about you?
    Chances are one or two other partners may attend the meeting – they will know even less about you.
  • Will you have their mind share?
    Not fully – inevitably during your presentation at least one of the investors will be called away. 

            To grab the attention of investors, I like to breakdown presentations into five sections

  • Greed Appeal
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Big Market Picture
  • We’re A Winner
  • We’re A Great Investment

  Our next Blogs will discuss each of the five sections with slide by slide content.


Presentation Dos and Don’ts – Part 2

Tags: , , , , Business Advice, Business Tools, Financial

 Put yourself in the place of an investor!


Presentation Dos and Don’ts   Part 2By Catherine Snowman, Crowdfunding Coach

Here is the second part of about how to give presentations for potential investors.

Don’t Exaggerate

I am especially taking about sales forecasts. Within most business plans forecasts are unusually high, and often unrealistic. This in turn leads to outrageous profit projections. You need to always ask yourself if your sales and expense projections are rationally supported and if they deviate too significantly from industry norms. Don’t start by projecting sales based upon a market share forecast. You need to develop a granular ground-up forecast. You should start with unit sales by month and its dependency upon the prior months marketing promotion and sales expense. Then start plugging in estimated unit price and cost. Calculate your gross margin and the gross margin contribution after your variable marketing and sales expense. In the early years, your market promotion and sales expense may be significantly higher than your revenue. By extending this forecasting exercise for several years, you will develop a “feel” for when the gross margin contribution after variable marketing and sales expense becomes positive.

Team Player

Explain how your team is “tight” and your ability to compliment and support one another. Describe previous successful relationships. 

Never Downgrade a Team Member

A paramount concern of an investor is whether you have the skill set, commitment and flexibility to reach the three to five year objectives. A key element is your skill to pull together individuals that can contribute to the objective and interact to overcome challenges. The moment you introduce a risk that a team member can not do the job or that there is conflict or lack of team preparation – you’re dead.

Integrate the Intangibles

In a meeting with one of the most successful Boston venture capitalists, he pointed to a bookcase of business plans that he funded and remarked “Solid plans, but the majority significantly changed within 18 months.” Business and technology are dynamic. Trends are often disruptive, technologies collide and lead to new innovation and economies crash.

Every listener or reader of your presentation (or business plan) needs to walk away with the strong belief that this is a great investment opportunity BUT, if the “assumption scenario” changes, the team will rapidly adapt and continue to build a successful, sustainable business.

To address the dedication of your team to build a business, there are four key “intangibles” that must be integrated into every presentation, discussion and business plan. They are…                    

Other Items

  • Develop a series of anticipated questions and answers
  • Establish with team members the protocol for answering a question; include ways for you to curtail team member’s answer.
  • If an investor asks a question – that has you stomped – acknowledge that it’s a good question and suggest that you’ll address the question off-line or after you do some additional research.
  • Don’t volunteer information
  • Keep the presentation about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Spend between 60 and 90 seconds per slide.
  • Use videos, graphics, pictures and bullets – no paragraphs.
  • Keep bullets to a minimum – limit 4 per slide
  • Table discussions about your startup’s valuation.











Presentation Dos and Don’ts: Part 1

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For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough. — Zig Ziglar  

Presentation Dos and Don’ts: Part 1


By Catherine Snowman, Crowdfunding Coach

There will be two blogs on this topic.  Here’s the first on Attitude.

Before presenting: know your investor. Chances are you were introduced via a mutual acquaintance – attorney, accountant or business associate. Get their views on the investor and make sure that they invest in startups and have an interest in your industry.

Be the CEO

As CEO, you’re the leader of the pack. Take charge during presentations. Be the ring master. When a relevant question is asked, answer it or direct one of your team members to do so.  If the question is not pertinent to the discussion, table it!  A word of caution, if you are dealing with current investors. You need to remember that you are no longer the sole owner of the company and that you have fiduciary responsibility to others. Be truth and build up trust and be careful of exaggerations.

Passion and Enthusiasm

Express your passion and enthusiasm about the market opportunity and your capability of pursing and penetrating the opportunity.  When you present you are selling your team and business plan to investors and remember…        


Show that you can think outside of the box and develop innovative solutions.


Emphasize developing courses of action based upon facts and trends, your willingness to accept advice and your flexibility in changing direction when needed.





A Statement on Your Financial Plan

Business Advice, Financial

A Statement on Your Financial PlanOne of the primary goals of the business plan is to generate the company’s pro-form financial statements. The statements are referred to as “Pro Forma” Statements” for they are based upon a series of assumptions about the business.

The pro-forma financial statements must include an Income Statement (also called a Profit and Loss Statement), a Balance Sheet and Cashflow Statement. The first year should be by month (with quarterly summaries) and the second and third years by quarter.

 Your part-time Controller has generated financial statements numerous times and has spreadsheet programs and questionnaires to facilitate the process. The fastest way to lose credibility, after you have sold your ideas to an investor, is to provide pro-forma financial statements with errors. If you cannot afford a part time controller contact organizations such as Score that provide free support.

It is recommend that anyone with managerial responsibility within your company become acquainted with accounting statements. Have them spend 45 minutes reviewing Baruch’s College on-line tutorial Guide to Financial Statements.

It will provide three benefits:

Read More

Market Opportunity: Where Is It?

Business Advice, Financial

Market Opportunity: Where Is It?After you have created your solid business plan, you need to take an in-depth look at the market. Ask yourself: who is your potential business planning to serve? Who are your customers?

The goal here is to provide investors with an overall picture of the market, the opportunity within the niche you have identified, and why your product is a winner compared to your competition. Keep it to two or three pages and cover the following: 

  • Description of overall, larger market
  • Description of market niche you are pursuing
  • Describe your customer.
  • Market trend projections and comments from experts
  • What current companies are pursuing the market?
  • What are the barriers to entering the market?
  • Product Overview:
    • Description
    • Differentiators
    • User payoffs
    • Comparison to competitive offerings

Read More

Developing Your Business Plan

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By John Montelione, NapTime Startups Business Coach 

“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs

Developing Your Business Plan


Every successful business begins with a great idea. But then what? How do you take that wonderful idea and make it into a reality?

You first need a plan of attack. Or more specifically a business plan of attack. Once you have a clear description of your idea, potential customers, market analysis, and other factors you can begin to execute it.

However, don’t be wed to any specific business plan layout. I propose a plan of 15 to 20 pages that can then be easily summarized within a PowerPoint presentation. Here are the steps you need to take.                          

Plan Quarterback

You need a part-time Controller or someone who can model your financial projections, and play “what-if” games, on Excel.  Immediately appoint him/her as the Business Plan Quarterback. Then… 

  • With the Quarterback create (or select from any of the multiple sources on the web) a business plan outline appropriate for your industry.
  • Assign sections of the business to the appropriate team member. Instruct them to generate major and subtopics with all the content composed in bullet point format. 
  • The Quarterback and you create the first draft of the Executive Summary and follow the procedures described in the next section
  • The Quarterback creates the first draft of the plan. This is necessary so that the plan has a consistent voice.
  • Review the plan and add the “intangibles.”
  • Have the plan read and edited by your advisors and team.
  • Create a second draft.

  Read More

Angel and Venture Capitalist Investors


Angel and Venture Capitalist InvestorsA venture capitalist, banker and entrepreneur were on an airplane doomed to crash. As the plane fell from the sky…

  • the venture capitalist texted a revision to his partnership agreement,
  • the banker reviewed his life insurance policy, and
  • the entrepreneur asked God what he needed most!


Within the past two years, as the economy has improved, professional investing has gained momentum.

Plus there’s been great coverage by CrunchBase, Forbes and other sites. So we’re just going to cover the basics and refer you to others.



AngAngel and Venture Capitalist Investorsels

 As defined within Wikipedia, angel investors typically invest their own funds, unlike Venture Capitalists who manage the pooled money of others in a professionally-managed fund. Angel investment is a common second round of financing for high-growth start-ups. Angel capital fills the gap in start-up financing between “friends and family who provide initial (or seed) financing) and venture capital. The average capital raised is between $300,000 and $600,000.  To understand the mind set of an angel investor read

Angel Investors:  How the Rich Invest


 Two good sources of angel investors are:

Angel List  - a list of quality angel investors. And how to reach them.

Inc’s Nat’l Network of Angel -  a list of active angel networks.

  Read More

Let’s Talk About Funding

Business Advice

Lets Talk About FundingYou’re an entrepreneur, if can convince your spouse that you prefer to think of yourself as highly leveraged rather than in debt. Over the next several days, we are going to discuss how to raise money to fund your new venture via these sources:

• Savings and credit

• Family and friends

• Crowdfunding

• Angels

• Venture capitalists VCs)

• Industry partners

• Customer contracts

• Grants


As discussed in an earlier blog, in conjunction with your game plan for launching your company, develop a personal financial game plan. Share it with your spouse and develop milestones and the course of action you’ll follow if they are or not reached. Your spouse may look at a glass of water and say it’s half empty and you will say it’s half full, You’re both right, what’s important is the action you both agreed to pursue when the milestone is or is not achieved. Traditionally, the first two sources of funds are your savings and credit cards. When going down this path, you need to set the limit on potential withdrawals and closely monitor your cash consumption (i.e. burn rate). If you don’t, your spouse will and then all hell can break loose. The easiest way to minimize the disruption to your cash flow is to develop your business while still working. Check out accelerator programs that enable you to continue your 9 to 5 job, develop a business plan, meet potential team members and expose you to source of capital. One of the best is the Founder Institute. It is an early-stage startup accelerator that provides a part-time four month program enabling entrepreneur to launch their dream company while not being required to quit their day job.

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