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Communication Tools: How to make your idea credible and understandable - Entrepreneurship 101


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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
* 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.

Published in: Business, Technology
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Communication Tools: How to make your idea credible and understandable - Entrepreneurship 101

  1. 1. COMMUNICATION TOOLS:How to make your idea credibleand understandable
  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. Who shouldsee?Whatinformation?When to giveit to them?
  4. 4. You are asking people to give you $, energy and time
  5. 5. Explain how your business will work South  Park  Clip:     From  18  min18  sec  -­‐>  To  19:00  min    
  6. 6. Meaningful Milestones=3Ps1.  Founders with domain knowledge ¤  Problems that the customer actually has and cares about2.  Early indications of the marketing equation (cost of customer acquisition & customer lifetime value) ¤  Path to success for customers to investigate, compare, test and purchase ¤  Revenue model ¤  Demo or prototype technology3.  How to scale the company ¤  Proof that the results, outcomes and value are real ¤  Team that has its key team members ¤  Scalable working solution
  7. 7. The Value PropositionTechnology Value Benefits Problem Market Product Proposition Management
  8. 8. You have two audiences: Investors and Customers Investors must understand: a) what you do and who cares, b) how much $ is needed to achieve appropriate milestones;Focused Company & Strong Clear Investment Management Message OpportunityCustomers need to understand how you solve a problem that they have; ~40% of users will be very Repeatable upset Sales if your product does not exist
  9. 9. Selling vs. Planning VS.
  10. 10. How to create your toolkit?¤  Do not start by building your business plan ¤  You will not have the information 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 information that comes to light – easy to manipulate, organize and adapt¤  Build your executive summary and eventually your business plan based on your PowerPoint deck
  11. 11. How to create your toolkit?¤  Use your Business plan to communicate tactical priorities to your team¤  Develop two versions of the executive summary: ¤  1-page abstract include Technology, Customer, Pain, Revenue, Team ¤  3-5 pages detailed summary with supporting data, commercial risks and milestones¤  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¤  Develop metaphors to make your innovation “real”
  12. 12. Develop Visual Illustration to Explain TechnologyNot bad….but difficult to digest quicklyMRI-guided trans-urethral ultrasound treatmentfor localized prostate cancer  Better…easy to provide relevant comments and voice-over sec-48 sec 
  13. 13. Develop Metaphors: Connect your innovation to a familiar productNot bad….Factual descriptionXYZ Inc. is developing a cognitive health online self-assessment for consumers. This will be an inexpensive, yet reliable tool that a person can use to indicate whether they are experiencing normal age-related cognitive problems or those possibly indicative of a more severeimpairment, such as MCI.Better……Connects to an everyday objectThere is currently no quick, inexpensive, yet reliable tool that a person canuse to indicate whether they are experiencing normal age-related cognitiveproblems or those possibly indicative of a more severe impairment, such as MCI. This is in sharp contrast to other common medical conditions,such as the bathroom scale for obesity and the blood pressure cuff for heart disease. Even pregnancy has an easy to use home test.Cognitive impairment has historically had no such fast, easy and reliable home screening test. 
  14. 14. Construct your message
  15. 15. Defineobjectives Design Close Create opening Outline body Add spice Design visuals Tailor to audience
  16. 16. Create Opening
  17. 17. an Outline
  18. 18. Make statistics meaningful min -2:18min
  19. 19. Blueprint for successful presentation¤  What is my objective?¤  How will I close? When it is all over, what will they remember?¤  How will I open the presentation?¤  How will I organize the body?¤  How will I get their attention?¤  How will I keep their interest?¤  What questions will they ask?¤  What questions will I ask?¤  How will I tailor the presentation to the audience?¤  What notes do I need?¤  How many times should I rehearse?
  20. 20. Make your message memorable¤ ENGAGE your audience Make information meaningful to them ¤ Case studies, testimonials, personal stories (Example: Alex Levy video, 03sec-35 sec) ¤
  21. 21. Understanding Honest Signals in Business¤ v=MmhOjPTk6wU&feature=relatedThese social signals are not just a back channel orcomplement to our conscious language; they form aseparate communication network that powerfullyinfluences our behavior. In fact, these honest signalsprovide an effective window into our intentions, goals andvalues. Alex Pentland, MIT
  22. 22. Know your audienceq  Speak to your audience in language that they understand: §  Institutional investor – do not speak techie , tie everything back to money §  Angel Investors - access their background; understand their interests
  23. 23. Prostate Cancer in U.S. Prostate Cancer 1.2M Cases 1.2M Cases 192,000 New Cases 192,000 New Cases 96,000 HRPC 27,000 Deaths 18 Months Survival $2 Billion
  24. 24. Know your audience §  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 relationship will be mutually profitable to both parties §  Customer – understand their industry and pain points
  25. 25. Achieving Value Through Partnership: 29Foundational Framework for Alliance Success for STRATEGIC INVESTORS3 Dimensional Fit Cultural Fit How compatible are the management teams and cultures? Cultural Strategic Fit Fit Operational FitHow well aligned are How complementary the partners Strategic Operational are the business objectives? Fit Fit models? Source: The Waren Company, an Andersen Consulting Alliance
  26. 26. Social Media Tools¤  Create an informed dialog with peers, partners, journalists and investors¤  Ask people to engage in the conversation, cultivate the audience with # and streams¤  Plan your social media presence, for example ¤  Month 1-2: Twitter ¤  Month 3-4 Facebook or Quora ¤  Month 6: Google+ ¤  Month 8: LinkedIn
  27. 27. Social Media: How to start¤  Find your community: start with one , follow, the see who they follow;¤  Resources ¤  MASHABLE.COM ¤  Guidebook to Facebook,Twitter@danodigital| ¤ ¤  develop-your digital roadmap-guide ¤  Guide to Twitter by KevinA.Magee@unmarketing
  28. 28. Create ContextIdea# 1: “Don’t Dive Straight into the Technology” (Value Proposition)¤  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 proposition that is FASTER, CHEAPER, BETTERIdea #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 potential clients and investors.Idea #4: “Provide Proof of Results” (Case Studies)¤  Tell a story. Focus on Results and the overall customer Experience. Use testimonials.
  29. 29. Principles for Business Planning and Communication •  No hype. Let investors become enthusiastic on FACTUAL his/her own •  Business planning is an iterative and adaptive DYNAMIC process VISUALLY •  A clear, precise structure is a courtesy to those COMPLELLING investing their time in reading the proposalCONSISTENT, CONCISE, •  The storyline and all the facts presented must fit CLEAR together and generate a well rounded impression •  Acknowledge style, recognize knowledge gaps and AUDIENCE-CENTRIC biases EASE OF •  Financial decision-makers rarely are technical UNDERSTANDING experts
  31. 31. The toolsDeveloping a financing strategy for your Company toolkit/workbooks/financing- workbook-1-developing-a-financing- strategy-for-your-company
  32. 32. 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 refining 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
  33. 33. The Elevator PitchABC Inc. is a location-based advertising companyfocused on bringinghyper local targeting to any website.Through a unique privacy architecture, Incs technologyallows media companies and advertising agencies toaccurately reach the most relevant and responsivedemographics online.
  34. 34. The Executive Summary The Executive Summary Template
  35. 35. The Executive Summary¤  What: ¤  3-5 page summary of your technology, product, sales plan, revenue path and financial 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 first interaction with an investor ¤  Rides the line between confidential and non-confidential – some degree of trust¤  Dos and Don ts: ¤  Has to have the right emphasis given the maturity of the business concept ¤  Keep it current
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. The PowerPoint Elements of a Pitch Deck Building a Strong Presentation  
  38. 38. 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 flip 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
  39. 39. The Business Plan The Business Plan Template Business Plans for SE and SPBs
  40. 40. 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 ask for it ¤  Dos and Don ts: ¤  Often made a condition of financing 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
  41. 41. Business Plan
  42. 42. PowerPoint/InvestorDeck
  43. 43. Executive Summary
  44. 44. Veronika LitinskiAdvisor, MaRS Discovery DistrictT 416-673-8113E vlitinski@marsdd.comW
  45. 45. 12-02-16 49