The Details of Business Plans and Elevator Pitches

The Details of Business Plans and Elevator Pitches

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Description: Business Plans – Past, Present, and Future: - Coming up with creative ideas is easy; selling them to strangers is hard.” Historically, entrepreneurs who wanted to found a business would start by writing a business plan. Defined ventures proposed strategy. The go-to-market strategy & operational models needed for strategy.

Financial forecasts, risks, and invest plans. Business plans are much less common today. In the mid-1990s, most VC firms required a formal biz plan.

May still be required by certain investors. More common inside of “large” companies. The evidence is mixed on how much value is created by writing a detailed traditional business plan.

Author: Nathan M. Wilson Ph.D. M.B.A. (Senior) | Visits: 691 | Page Views: 1068
Domain:  Business Category: Entrepreneurial 
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February 22, 2016
Nathan M. Wilson, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Anderson School of Management

• Overview
• Business Plan Details
• Elevator Pitches

• Bonus Material
• Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, Environment Map
• Industry Analysis
• Blue Ocean Strategy

“Classical View”: Where does the Business Plan Fit?

Katz & Green

Everyone has a plan…
• Reporter: “I hear your opponent has a clever plan for

defensing your left hook. How do you respond?”
• Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the


Three Fallacies of Business Plans (Steve Blank)

They rarely survive first contact with customers.
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson


Five-year plans are generally “fiction”
Forecasting complete unknowns is almost always a waste of time.


Start-ups are not smaller versions of large companies.
Existing companies execute a business model; start-ups look for one.


Decades-Old Formula vs. Lean Startup



• Write a business plan

• Test hypotheses

• Pitch it to investors

• Gather early & frequent customer

• Assemble a team
• Operate in stealth mode

• Release fully functional prototype

• 75% of all start-ups fail

• Show MVP
• Pivot

• Refining along the way for a
higher likelihood of success


Business Plans – Past, Present, and Future
• “Coming up with creative ideas is easy; selling them to

strangers is hard.”
• Historically, entrepreneurs who wanted to found a business
would start by writing a business plan
• Defined ventures proposed strategy
• The go-to-market strategy & operational models needed for strategy
• Financial forecasts, risks, and invest plans

• Business plans are much less common today
• In the mid-1990s, most VC firms required a formal biz plan
• May still be required by certain investors
• More common inside of “large” companies
• Evidence is mixed on how much value is created by writing a detailed
traditional business plan


Business “Planning” Still Matters Even if “Plans” Don’t!
• Entrepreneurs often revise the original idea or model for their

business many times while planning or drafting a business plan
• Debate among founders, trusted advisors, and partners as they
clarify assumptions about the business model leads to a clearer
understanding of areas of agreement and disagreement


Formulating a Business Plan
• An opportunity to test ideas and determine whether viable

business opportunities exist
The foundation for debating and analyzing key assumptions,
developing financial forecasts, and designing early experiments
A baseline that clarifies aspirational milestones as the
entrepreneur experiments to build a minimal viable product or
service offering that will engage the market
A clear statement of the metrics that will be used to test
assumptions and measure performance as the team works to
achieve key milestones
An approach to communicating with others about the business
while raising money; assembling a team; and attracting
suppliers, customers, and partners

Useful Definitions
• Business Model*: describes the rationale of how an

organization creates, delivers, and captures value.
• Business Plan: document that articulates the proposed
venture’s business model and provides significant detail.
• Business Pitch: presentation that be used to communicate
• Targets include investors, partners, advisers, potential employees, etc.

• Elevator Pitch: a one-paragraph description of a new business

• Elevator pitches are short! (one paragraph or 60-90 seconds)

• Goal is to capture the interest of someone, not “complete the sale”

* Osterwalder & Pigneur, Business Model Generation.

• Overview
• Business Plan Details
• Elevator Pitches

• Bonus Material
• Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, Environment Map
• Industry Analysis
• Blue Ocean Strategy


Business Plan Details
• "The Ernst & Young Business Plan Guide" (2007), Brian R. Ford,

Jay M. Bornstein, Patrick T. Pruitt, Third Edition, 2007, ISBN-10:
0470112697, ISBN-13: 978-0470112694, Edition: 3.

Traditional Business Plan Outline
• Title Page
• Key Sections*
Table of Contents
Executive Summary
III. General Company Description
IV. Product and Services
Marketing Plan
VI. Operational Plan
VII. Management and Organization
VIII. Structure and Capitalization
IX. Financial Plan



Title Page & Table of Contents
• Title Page
• Contains introductory information
• Company name
• Contact information
• Date this version of the plan was completed
• Proprietary statement to protect your ideas
• Table of contents
• Lists major section headings
• Optionally list sections underneath major sections
• Put page numbers on every page of the business plan

Executive Summary
• Captures and presents succinctly the essence of the plan
• NOT a background statement nor is it an introduction
• Provides the reviewer with a good understanding of:
• The plan’s concept
• Finances
• Metrics
• Ideally written AFTER you have written the plan
• If you write first, ES can be vague and shallow
• Entrepreneur may try and “force” the plan to conform to the
“assumptions” or “statements” in the ES

• Must succeed in generating immediate interest
• Should highlight the business plan section-by-section

Product Section
Discuss the product or service description section of a business
• What business are you in?
• What is the core competency of the business?
• What's different about your product?
• How have you differentiated it?
• What is the value proposition you provide customers?
• Why will the customer buy?
• What is the compelling reason to buy?

• Do you have patent protection?
• Do you have a working prototype?

Detail Competition
• Degree of competition
• Begin with general statement regarding the level of relevant competition
• Define what is truly competitive and treat in meaningful way
• Careful: do not dismiss competition without just reasons

• If there are a small number of competitors:
• Identify each competitor
• Detail strengths & weaknesses of each competitor
• Discuss likely impact & reaction of each to your startup
• Utilize graphics when possible!
• Future sources of competition:
• Typically depends on stability and growth of market
• Critically important in cases of new product or service, where risk of
imitators is significant

Market Section
Discuss the market section of the business plan.
• Who is the target customer?
• How do you describe him or her?
• How do you define the market?
• How is the market segmented?
• What about trends, market size and growth potential?
• What’s the relationship between market share and
• Who is the competition?

Market Definition and Opportunity
• Usually start with a discussion of the general industry

• Summarize industry growth or lack of growth
• Sources of demand

• How demand is satisfied

• Utilize all resources:
• Such as trade associations & trade literature
• Industry studies
• Experts
• Detail depends on market potential & goals:
• If potential is understood to be large & you only target a small %, less
detail is needed
• Larger market shares can require more detail

Marketing & Sales Section
Discuss the marketing and sales portion of the business plan.
• How do you plan to market your product or service?
• What strategies are you going to use?
• Who is the competition?
• How are you positioned versus your competition?
• What is the pricing and business revenue model?
• What are your sales strategy and tactics?
• Who will sell the product? How?
• How are you going to generate sales leads?
• What's the sell cycle?

Marketing & Sales Section Discussion
• Purpose: explain how the perspective business intends to

manipulate and react to market conditions in order to
generate sales
• Must sell prospective business as:
• Attractive opportunity
• Good credit risk
• Valued vendor of a product of service

• Most venture capitalists feel the most important criteria for an

investment is the size and potential of a market
• “If a real market need is not presented, all of the talent and financing in

the world will not make a company successful…”

Sales Forecasts
Sales Forecast: Analysis to justify anticipated sales volume. Should
detail key assumptions.
Sales Forecast Breakdown
• Time period
• Demonstrate anticipated growth
• Detail seasonality
• Common to present multiple sales forecasts (e.g. conservative, most likely,


• Sales by product or service
• Important if more than one product or service is being offered
• Indicates relative importance of each of the business’s products, priorities,
and how to allocate resources, etc.
• Sales by customer group
• If applicable, discuss distinct groups of customers, CLV, etc.
• Market Share

Company Operations
Discuss company operations portion of your business plan.
• What operations, manufacturing, logistics, sub-contracting,
supplier relationships, capital investment requirements for
infrastructure, facilities planning and major milestones are
important for your business?

Operational Plan
• A critical issue to be addressed in a business plan is how the

business will create its products and services.
• What is the approach to manufacturing?
• What are the source(s) of raw materials?

• What are the processes used in manufacturing?
• What are the labor requirements?
• How will suppliers and vendors be used?

Operational Plan - Details
• Two potential uses for biz plan:
• internal: may want to be very detailed for planning purposes & “thought
• external: may have to be more straightforward for understanding

• Entrepreneurs must strike balance between sophistication and

simplicity in explaining complexity of operations
• Think in terms of two questions:
• Will the reviewer understand the content?
• How important is the content to the overall understanding and

appreciation of the business plan?

Management & Personnel Sections
Discuss the management and personnel sections of a business
• Is the management team important?
• What is the executive equity compensation strategy?
• Who should be on your board of directors?
• What is a board of advisors? Should you have one?

Management and Organizations
• Investors invest with People, not Ideas
• Bet the Jockey, not the Horse
• Vision without a Team = Failure
• Questions to ask:
• Participative or Autocratic
• Profit Share or Commodity
• Tasks or Flexible Responsibilities
• What Culture to create

Management Team – General Pointers
• Principals
• Backgrounds
• What do they bring?
• Resources, connections, unique skills

• Organizational Chart
• Relationships and responsibilities
• Policy and Strategies
• Hiring practices
• Compensation programs

Financial Section
Discuss the financial projections needed for a business plan.
• What do you need for balance sheets in a biz plan?
• What do you need for income (P&L) statements biz plan?
• What do you need for cash flow statements in a biz plan?

Financial Section - General Pointers
• Quality of research and reliability of data is critical
• Financial plan must conform to the details presented in the

remainder of the business plan
Useful to calculate multiple financial scenarios
Multiple financial scenarios helpful for sensitivity analysis
Any deviations from industry averages or financial ratios should
be noted and explained
Review the section periodically and revise as necessary

Financial Section – Additional Details
• Clearly list assumptions
• Pro-forma income statements (3 to 5 years)
• Monthly performance for YR1
• Quarterly performance for YR 2 & YR 3
• Yearly for YR 4 & YR 5
• Pro-forma cash flow statements (3 to 5 years)
• Monthly for YR 1
• Quarterly for YR2 & YR 3
• Yearly for YR 4 & YR 5
• Current balance sheet and/or balance sheet after funding
• Yearly balance sheet for YR1 – YR5
• Additional financial projections (e.g. break-even analysis)

Role of Assumptions in Financial Section of a Business Plan
• According to E&Y, what is the most integral part (i.e. important

part) of the financial section?
• Numbers without assumptions have NO meaning!
• Investors review assumptions to see if you really understand business

and your industry

• Important aspects of assumptions:
• Be compelling yet concise
• Most important assumption is usually sales volume
• The nature of the business dictates level of support & detail needed
• Useful to provide multiple sets of assumptions (e.g. conservative, likely,

Key Insights
• The plan should be fun and easy to read.
• The plan should tell a compelling story.
• It’s not a mystery novel!

• You should clearly indicate the status of prototypes etc.
• You need to convince one of the judges to be your advocate, so

don’t try and appease everyone, impress someone!
• Once you lose credibility, people stop reading.
• Markets that don’t exist don’t care how smart you are.
• I want big markets and big returns, which means I have to take
risks. I don’t want risk just for the sake of risk! De-risk when

• Overview
• Business Plan Details
• Elevator Pitches

• Bonus Material
• Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, Environment Map
• Industry Analysis
• Blue Ocean Strategy


Preparing the Pitch
• Include facts, but remember the goal is to deliver a compelling

• The pitch should be designed to grab the listeners attention and spark

interest in learning more

• Do your homework!
• Is the objective of the pitch to gain financial commitments, attract
partners, or some other purpose?
• Research (i.e. stalk) your pitch audience
• Practice, practice, and practice some more!
• Do several “dry runs” with partners and advisers who already understand
the business
• After early test runs, practice presenting the pitch to supportive
audiences who are in a position to give valuable feedback but who do not
understand the new venture


Pitch Tips – Answer the Three Whys
• Answer the Three Whys
• Why this?
• Why now?
• Why this team?
• Need to tell a story that makes the market’s “pain” real and

that your solution is the right way to solve the pain
• Typically the CEO does the talking for an investor pitch


TCA: Investor Presentation Guidelines


TCA: Pitch (Who are they and why should I care?)


TCA: People (Can this team deliver?)


TCA: Pain (Is the problem truly painful for the customer?)


TCA: Product (Is there a potentially great product here?)


TCA: Players (Who is your competition?)


TCA: Projections (Show me the money!)


TCA: (Summary and Q&A)


Example of a Pitch
• EcoATM Pitch

• Overview
• Business Plan Details
• Elevator Pitches

• Bonus Material
• Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, Environment Map
• Industry Analysis
• Blue Ocean Strategy


Integrated Suite of Tools*
• The Environment Map
• Helps you understand the context in which you
• The Business Model Canvas
• Helps you create value for your business

• The Value Proposition Canvas
• Helps you create value for your customer
Business Model: describes the rationale of how an
organization creates, delivers, and captures value.
* Osterwalder & Pigneur, Business Model Generation & Value Proposition Design


Environment Map


Business Model Canvas



Value Proposition Canvas & Business Model Canvas


Value Proposition Canvas


Design a Value Proposition for Your Case!


Problem Solution Fit
• You achieve fit when customers get excited about your value

proposition which happens when you address important jobs,
alleviate extreme pains, and create essential gains that
customers care about.


Three Kinds of Fit

© 2012 Steve Blank

Market vs. Industry
• Industry: consists of sellers – typically organizations – that offer

products or classes of products that are similar and close
substitutes for one another
• Market: consists of a group of current and/or potential
customers having the willingness and ability to buy products
(goods or services) to satisfy a particular class of wants or

TAM vs. TSM VS. Beachhead – Market is Not Sales!
• Total Addressable Market: 100% of the market for type of

product you sell (e.g. all coffee drinkers in USA)
• Total Serviceable (or Served Available) Market: 100% of the
market you could actually sell to (e.g. all coffee drinkers oncampus)
• Target (Beachhead) Market: You initial most likely buyers.
• Sales Forecast: Bottom-up forecast of how much you can sell

given current or expected resources (e.g. # of salespeople,
hours of operation, etc.)
• Marketing: everything that you do to reach and persuade

prospects (identifying and satisfying a customer need)
• Sales: everything that you do to close the sale

TAM, TSM, Target market





NOTE: Not to scale!


Forces Governing Competition in an Industry

Blue Ocean Strategy
• Red Oceans: represent all the industries in existence today.

This is the known market space.
• “bloody” with competition (profits and growth are reduced)

• Blue Oceans: all the industries not in existence today. This is

the unknown market space.
• Potential of market space that is vast, deep, and not yet explored
• To “seize” new profit and growth opportunities, companies need to

create blue oceans

Strategy Canvas
• Both a diagnostic and an action framework for building a

compelling blue ocean strategy
Captures the current state of play in the known market space
The horizontal axis captures the range of factors the industry
competes on and invests in
The vertical axis of the strategy canvas captures the offering
level that buyers receive across all of the key factors (i.e. a high
score means the company offers buyer more)
“Value Curve” – a graphical depiction of a company’s relative
performance across its industry’s factors of competition

Example: U.S. Wine Industry
• Stats (US market)
• $20B annually
• 33rd in the world in per capita consumption
• 75% produced by top 8 companies, 1600+ wineries produce the rest
• Competitive Factors
• Price per bottle of wine
• Elite, refined image packaging (e.g. medals won, esoteric terminology)
• Marketing to raise consumer awareness in a crowded market space
• Aging quality of wine
• Prestige of a wine’s vineyard and its legacy
• Complexity and sophistication of a wine’s taste, including such things as
tannins and oak
• A diverse range of wines to cover all varieties of grapes and consumer

Strategy Canvas of U.S. Wine Industry (late ’90s)

[yellow tail] Goals
• Convert noncustomers to customers
• How to make a fun and easy-to-enjoy wine for every day?

BOS: The Four Actions Framework

Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid [yellow tail]

The Strategy Canvas for [yellow tail]