What to do first?
Whenever you prepare a business plan, the first thing you have to do : Talk to your customer / end user / beneficiary. Your customer must find your solution as a drug and not a vitamin.
The investors / family / friends / fools whom you plan to pitch your idea and seek money, must feel very confident about your idea. So it is better to be crisp and precise. Specially for Hardware startups, you have to put your 10x into this gig (pitching drama).
So, I followed a Great Guy, Guy Kawasaki. He has been into several different shoes and shared his thoughts for preparing the 10 slides. Its easy for startups, so that they can use his 10 slides funda to impress the investors.
It must be interesting enough. Your objective is to get a second meeting!
2. Problem / Opportunity
Describe the pain that you are alleviating or the pleasure you are providing.
3. Value Proposition
Explain the value of the pain you alleviate or the value of pleasure you provide.
4. Underlying Magic
Describe the technology, secret ingredient or magic behind your product (less text and more diagrams OR infographics). Make a prototype and show it to the people you are pitching. A prototype is the best way to gain confidence in your audience. (Functional prototype is like cherry on the cake).
5. Business Model
Mention, how can you keep every stakeholder happy and gain maximum profits with optimum resources. Sketch a timeline for the execution.
6. Go To Market Strategy.
Explain how you are going to reach your customer without emptying your pockets. Think before you make this slide about all the resources you have and cut down all the assumptions you have made. (My friends will help me get this is a sad assumption. Its good if he helps you, but don’t mention it. Write solid points of how you are going to acquire your customer.)
7. Competitive Analysis
Provide a complete view of the competitive landscape. Table is preferred.
competitors a. b. c.
eg: startup x – 0 0 0
company y –
company z –
8. Management team
CEO and CTO is good. You don’t need to have a COO or marketing head.
Mention the Board of Directors, Advisors and Major investors.
9. Financial Projections and key metrics
Provide a 3 year forecast of the financials. Also, mention the number of customers, conversion rate etc.
10. Current status, accomplishments, timeline and usage of funds.
Explain how will you use the money you are trying to raise. What is the current status of your product? What the near future looks like.
There are two liquidity options IPO or an Acquisition. No entrepreneur knows how or when he / she can attain liquidity. If an investor asks you about your exit strategy, it means he is clueless about your idea OR not really immersed. So, you can either answer an IPO or an Acquisition.
Note: For local innovators with solid technology an exit can be stated when his / her idea is licensed and the innovator receives a royalty for the pieces manufactured.