Entrepreneurship 101: Business Communication Tools with Veronika Litinski


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This lecture presents tips, examples, techniques and tools for building the five essential communication documents for entrepreneurs including: The Elevator Pitch, Executive Summary, Company Presentation, Technical White Paper, and the Business Plan. Learn how to create these communication tools and how to use them effectively to grow your business from an idea to a funded business.

Entrepreneurship 101: Business Communication Tools with Veronika Litinski

  2. 2. AGENDA  1.  Why  do  you  need  the  toolkit?  2.  How  to  create  and  use  your  toolkit?  3.  What  is  in  the  toolkit?  
  3. 3. WHY  DO  WE  NEED  THE  TOOLS?   Solicit   Communicate   investment     to  partners    Communicate   B-­plan   Communicate  to  employees     Exec  Summary   to  customers     PPT  Deck   White  paper   SLIDE 4
  4. 4. INVESTORS  MUST  UNDERSTAND  WHAT  YOU  DO   AND     WHO  CARES   Clear     Investment   Focused  Company   Message   Opportunity  Slide 5
  5. 5. EXPLAIN  HOW  YOUR  BUSINESS  WILL  WORK   South  Park  Clip:     From  18  min18  sec  -­‐>  To  19:00  min  
  6. 6. USERS  NEED  TO  UNDERSTAND  HOW  YOU  SOLVE  A   PROBLEM  THAT  THEY  HAVE   Product-­‐Market     Repeatable     Fit   Sales   ~40%  of  users  will  be  very  upset    if  your  product  does  not  exist  Slide 7
  7. 7. HOW  DO  THE  TOOLS  WORK?   The  tools  EXPLAIN  and  ILLUSTRATE:    What  is  unique  about  your  business?    Who  cares?    How  will  you  execute?   DIFFERENTIATED   SUSTAINABLE   VALUE  PROPOSITION  Slide 3
  8. 8. SELLING  VS.  PLANNING   VS.Slide 9
  10. 10. HOW  TO  CREATE  YOUR  TOOLKIT?   Do  not  start  by  building  your  business  plan     You  will  not  have  the  informa[on  you  need     You  will  examine  issues  out  of  priority     You  will  expose  lack  of  understanding   Use  the  PowerPoint  Deck  as  receptacle  for  all  ideas  and  informa[on  that   comes  to  light  –  easy  to  manipulate,  organize  and  adapt   Build  your  execu[ve  summary  and  eventually  your  business  plan  based  on   your  PowerPoint  deck   Give  investors  your  exec  summary  and  offer  to  walk  them  through  the   PowerPoint  slides  in  person  or  on  the  phone   Develop  visual  assets  (diagrams,  videos)  to  use  on-­‐line  and  in  your  pitch  deck  Slide 11
  11. 11. LEAN  START-­‐UP  1.  Customer  discovery  2.  Customer  valida[on  3.  Customer  crea[on  4.  Company  building  
  13. 13. MAKE  YOUR  MESSAGE  MEMORABLE   ENGAGE  your  audience   Make  informa[on  meaningful  to  them     Case  studies,  tes[monials   Address  knowledge  gaps     Visuals,  charts,  graphs   Let  them  arrive  at  their  own  conclusions     Pace  your  delivery   Re-­‐iterate  value  proposi[on  Slide 8
  14. 14. POWER  OF  STORYTELLING  LEFTY  THE  SALESMAN  TRIES  TO  SELL  ERNIE  AN  INVISIBLE  ICE  CREAM   CONE   Sesame  Street  Clip:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk365oP1tiM&feature=related   From  1  min  14  sec  -­‐>  To  2  min  20  sec  
  15. 15. YOU  ARE  THE  MOST  IMPORTANT   COMMUNICATION  TOOL  Understanding  ‘Honest  Signals’  in  Business  -­‐  Tone  of  voice,  variability  -­‐  Level  of  energy  -­‐  Pacing  your  delivery  “This  ‘second  channel’  of  human  communica3on  acts  in  parallel  with  that   based  on  ra3onal  thinking  and  verbal  communica3on,  and  it  is  much  more   important  in  human  affairs  than  most  people  like  to  think”      Alex  Pentland,  MIT    
  17. 17. EXAMPLE:  TOTAL  ADDRESSABLE  MARKET   $15B  Local  Gap  Online  Represents   2014   $7.5B expanded market for Ad Networks $6B  new  revenue  for  ISPs   Local  Ads   $100B   $1.5  Billion  for  our  enabling  technology   Total  US  market  for  our  enabling  technology   $1,600   $1,200   Millions   $800   $400   $0   2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014  Source: Based on eMarketer 2008 data
  18. 18. EXAMPLE:  ACCESSIBLE  MESSAGE,  CLEARLY  STATED  VALUE   PROPOSITION     Not  bad….Opportunity   XYZ  Inc.  medical  device  startup,  is  based  on  the  premise  that     image  guidance  will  be  a  key  element  in  the  successful   deployment  of  emerging  minimally  invasive  therapies     over  the  next  decade.       Beder……Product  and  Benefits   By  providing  3D  imaging  at  low    cost,  we  aim     to  make  the  procedures  of  the  21st  century  safer,     faster  and  cheaper  with  beder  success  rates,  fewer       complica[ons  and  shorter  hospital  stays.      Slide 19
  19. 19. COMMUNICATION  TOOLS  HELP  YOU  BUILD   RELATIONSHIPS   Be  strategic  about  what  you  provide  and  when  you  provide  it    Not  everyone  should  see  your  white  paper  or  business  plan    Leave  some  details  for  later,  don’t  give  away  everything  in  the  first   mee[ng     Your  documenta[on  should  radiate  professionalism    Ensure  accurate  grammar,  spelling,  dic[on,  illustra[on,  layout,  etc.  Slide 20
  20. 20. KNOW  YOUR  AUDIENCE     Speak  to  your  audience  in  language  that  they  understand:     Ins[tu[onal  investor  –  do  not  speak  ‘techie’,  [e  everything  back  to   money     Strategic  investor  –  may  be  more  technical;  will  be  interested  in   your  ideas  as  they  impact  their  business     Strategic  Partner  –  mix  of  technical  and  business;  understand  how   a  rela[onship  will  be  mutually  profitable  to  both  par[es     Angel  Investors  -­‐  access  their  background;  understand  their   interests     Customer  –  understand  their  industry  and  pain  points  Slide 21
  21. 21. SOCIAL  MEDIA  TOOLS  •  Create  an  engaging  conversa[on  with  bloggers  and  customers    •  Let  peers,  partners,  journalists  and  investors  “discover”  your   story  through  the  social  web  •  Show  what  you  do  through  images,  video  and  make  it  easy  to   find  through  SEO;  •  Many  access  points:  LinkedIn  Group,  Twider  stream,  YouTube,   Flickr  Gallery,  Wikipedia    Think  of  Twee[ng  as  an  easy  way  to  call  aden[on  to  news   and  a  call  for  ac[on  
  22. 22. CREATE  CONTEXT  Idea#  1:  “Don’t  Dive  Straight  into  the  Technology”  (Value  ProposiOon)  Don’t  start  with  technology.    Everyone  has  this.    Instead  create  context.      Understand  your  customer’s  pain  points  and  show  them  how  you  offer  a  value  proposi[on   that  is  FASTER,  CHEAPER,  BETTER  Idea  #2:  Maintain  A  Degree  of  Focus  &  Consistency  in  your  Message  (Brand)    Focus  on  just  a  few  of  the  really  good  things  you  can  do  and  lead  with  these  points.      Idea  #3:  “Personify  your  People”  (Profiles)  Profile  Managers  Backgrounds  -­‐  Creates  context  for  poten[al  clients  and  investors.  Idea  #4:  “Provide  Proof  of  Results”  (Case  Studies)  Tell  a  story.    Focus  on  Results  and  the  overall  customer  experience.  Use  tes[monials.  
  23. 23. PRINCIPLES  FOR  BUSINESS  PLANNING  AND                COMMUNICATION   FATCUAL   • No  hype.  Let  investors  become  enthusias[c  on  his/her  own   DYNAMIC   • Business  planning  is  an  itera[ve  and  adap[ve  process   • A  clear,  precise  structure  is  a  courtesy  to  those  inves[ng  their  VISUALLY  COMPLELLING   [me  in  reading  the  proposal   CONSISTENT,    CONCISE,   • The  storyline  and  all  the  facts  presented  must  fit  together   CLEAR   and  generate  a  well  rounded  impression   AUDIENCE-­‐CENTRIC   • Acknowledge  style,  recognize  knowledge  gaps  and  biases   • Those  who  allocate  investment  resources  rarely  are  EASE  OF  UNDERSTANDING   technical  experts  for  the  technology  used  in  the  proposal  
  25. 25. THE  TOOLS   The  Tools  You  Need  to  Raise  Money    http://www.marsdd.com/entrepreneurs-­‐toolkit/articles/Investor-­‐engagement-­‐The-­‐tools-­‐you-­‐need-­‐to-­‐raise-­‐money   SLIDE 26
  26. 26. THE  ELEVATOR  PITCH   What:     A  30  second  overview  of  your  business  concept   Why:       To  get  a  follow–on  meeting   When:       In  a  cold  call  to  an  investor,  customer,  potential  partner,  etc.     Good  for  networking  at  trade  shows,  business  functions,  etc.   Dos  and  Don’ts:       Do  not  spend  forever  practicing  and  re[ining  this  –  should  come   naturally;       Figure  out  a  few  key  messages  you  would  like  to  get  across  to  use  as   a  loose  script     Distribute  key  messages  to  outward  facing  employees  –  standardize   message  Slide 27
  27. 27. The  Elevator  Pitch   PAIN  POINT   ABC  Inc.  is  a  location-­‐based  advertising  company  focused  on   bringing     A  need  for…   hyper  local  targeting  to  any  website.     VALUE  PROPOSITION   Through  a  unique  privacy  architecture,  Incs  technology  allows   media  companies  and  advertising  agencies  to  accurately  reach  the  Allow  one  to…   most  relevant  and  responsive  demographics  online.   SLIDE 28
  28. 28. THE  EXECUTIVE  SUMMARY   The  Executive  Summary  http://www.marsdd.com/entrepreneurs-­‐toolkit/articles/Investor-­‐engagement-­‐The-­‐executive-­‐summary.html   The  Executive  Summary  Template  http://www.marsdd.com/entrepreneurs-­‐toolkit/articles/Investor-­‐engagement-­‐Executive-­‐summary-­‐template   SLIDE 29
  29. 29. THE  EXECUTIVE  SUMMARY   What:     3-­‐5  page  summary  of  your  technology,  product,  sales  plan,  revenue   path  and  [inancial  requirements   Why:       A  ‘teaser’  document  meant  to  generate  a  request  for  more   information  or  a  meeting     Readers  will  want  to  get  their  head  around  the  concepts  quickly   When:       When  you  have  a  ‘warm’  intro  or  an  invitation  to  contact  someone     Integral  [irst  interaction  with  an  investor     Rides  the  line  between  con[idential  and  non-­‐con[idential  –  some   degree  of  trust   Dos  and  Don’ts:       Has  to  have  the  right  emphasis  given  the  maturity  of  the  business   concept     Keep  it  current  Slide 30
  30. 30. THE  WHITEPAPER   What:     A  fairly  concise  layman’s  summary  of  your  technology,  product(s),   the  uniqueness  of  the  technology  and  products  and  the  value   proposition     Why:       Helps  investors  to  understand  how  a  concept  or  technology  works   When:       After  investors  are  curious  about  details  or  have  bought  into  the  big   picture  business  vision   Dos  and  Don’ts:       Put  the  whitepaper  on  your  website     Don’t  go  so  deep  as  to  give  away  all  of  your  trade  secrets/IP  –  consult   your  IP  professional     Keep  it  as  short  as  possible  and  fully  explain  all  acronyms    Slide 31
  31. 31. THE  POWERPOINT   Elements  of  a  Pitch  Deck  http://www.marsdd.com/entrepreneurs-­‐toolkit/articles/Investor-­‐engagement-­‐Elements-­‐of-­‐a-­‐pitch-­‐deck   Building  a  Strong  Presentation  http://www.marsdd.com/entrepreneurs-­‐toolkit/articles/Investor-­‐engagement-­‐-­‐Building-­‐a-­‐strong-­‐presentation.html   SLIDE 32
  32. 32. THE  POWERPOINT   What:     A  ~15  slide  outline  of  the  key  aspects  of  your  business  plan   Why:       Provides  an  overview  of  the  business  plan  in  point  form     Allows  people  to  absorb  a  lot  of  key  information  in  a  short  period  of  time   When:       Usually  the  second  piece  of  information  an  investor  receives  after  the   executive  summary     Investors  love  these  because  they  can  [lip  through  them  very  fast  and  get   highlights   Dos  and  Don’ts:       Critical  document  in  the  fundraising  process  –  present  a  sound  story;  make  it   look  good     Practice  speaking  to  it,  preferably  in  front  of  friendly  people  who  will  ask  lots   of  questions     Use  graphics  as  much  as  possible    Slide 33
  33. 33. THE  BUSINESS  PLAN   The  Business  Plan  http://www.marsdd.com/entrepreneurs-­‐toolkit/articles/Investor-­‐engagement-­‐The-­‐business-­‐plan.html   The  Business  Plan  Template  http://www.marsdd.com/entrepreneurs-­‐toolkit/articles/Investor-­‐Engagement-­‐Business-­‐Plan-­‐Template   Business  Plans  for  SE  and  SPBs  http://www.marsdd.com/entrepreneurs-­‐toolkit/articles/Business-­‐plans-­‐for-­‐SEs-­‐and-­‐SPBs   SLIDE 34
  34. 34. THE  BUSINESS  PLAN   What:     A  rigorously  prepared  and  executable  description  of  how  you  will   build  your  business   Why:     This  is  your  roadmap  for  how  you  are  going  to  build  your  business     Describes  roles  and  responsibilities  for  building  various  aspects  of   the  business   When:       When  you  have  assembled  enough  solid  information  to  write  it     Highly  proprietary;  later  stages  of  diligence     Wait  for  the  investor  to  to  ask  for  it   Dos  and  Don’ts:       Often  made  a  condition  of  [inancing  or  a  board  action  item       Re-­‐write  with  every  major  change  in  strategic  direction     Avoid  the  temptation  to  turn  this  into  a  sales  tool  –  preserve  its   integrity  as  an  execution  plan  Slide 35
  35. 35. BUSINESS  PLAN   Outline    Executive  Summary    Company  &  Opportunity  Summary    Product  &  Technology    Market  Size  and  Growth    Sales  and  Marketing  Plan    Competitive  Overview    Operations  Plan    Management  Team    Financials  &  Investment   Requirements   SLIDE 36
  36. 36. POWERPOINT/INVESTOR  DECK   Outline    Company  Description  (1  paragraph)      Company  Overview,  Management  &   Vision    (2-­3  slides)    Need  &  Existing  Solutions  (1-­2  slides)    Technology,  Products  and  Product   Rollout    (2-­3  slides)    Market  Opportunity  (1  Slide  ,Graphical)    Competitive  Overview    (1  Slide  ,  Largely   Graphical)    Sales  Strategy  &  Channels    (2-­3  slides)    Partnerships  and/or  Partnerships   strategy          (  1  slide)    Financials  &  Path  to  Liquidity  (2-­3  Slides   (Largely  Graphical)   SLIDE 37
  37. 37. EXECUTIVE  SUMMARY   Outline    Company  Description  (1  paragraph)    Basic  Need  &  Company  Solution                                     (1  paragraph)    Technology  and  Product(s)  (1  paragraph;   diagram)    Value  Proposition  (couple  of  bullets)    Market  Size  and  Growth  (diagram)    Sales  Plan  (1  paragraph)    Competitive  Advantages  (couple  of   bullets)    Management    (detailed  bullets)    Revenue  Growth  Projections  (diagram)    Financing  Requirements    (1  paragraph)   SLIDE 38
  38. 38. Veronika  Litinski  Advisor,  MaRS  Discovery  District  T      416-­‐673-­‐8113  E      vlitinski@marsdd.com  W    www.marsdd.com