#49 Raise Your Voice
There’s a lot of same-same babble out there. Formulas are springboards, not safety nets. Pick up your game by dropping the jargon. Here’s the business plan benefits of telling your story in your voice - and how to do it.
We know the clichés.
There’s nothing new under the sun.
Every business is a version of the same idea: It’s a thing. It costs money. This many people will probably want to pay for it.
You just have to pour your business into a mold, let it set in the fridge and the next morning you’ll have investor-grade jell-O.*
The term cliché comes from the early days of the printing press. Typesetting individual letters is tough, so printers would save time by casting frequently used phrases into a reusable blocks to make their lives easier. The box where they stored these presets was called a cliché.
What made 19th-century printers’ lives easier makes 21st-century investors’ lives a bore. It leads to another questionable cliché:
“Investors have seen it all before.”
If you’re standing in front of an investor for the first time, then it’s a reasonable assumption that one thing they haven’t seen before is you. You’ve got the power of novelty. Don’t squander it by reaching into the cliché box to describe your business. Mint your own phrases.
How to sound like you.
Walt Whitman: I contain multitudes.
Unicorn Business Plans: Yes, Walt. You do.
There are so many different versions of you it’s hard to know which one to risk sharing with an investor. Here’s a hint. What’s the thing that you’d most like to hide from an investor?
That you don’t know anything about business?
That you’ve tried this same idea three times before and it’s always failed?
That you’ve done this for free for years, and if they say no you’re going to keep doing it anyway?
Whatever your think is your biggest business weakness - start from there. It might not be the first thing you say when you walk in the room, but it’ll help you figure out a way to go so when you do speak up, you make it count.
Example: Raising Your Voice IRL
A Unicorn client is developing a luxury FBO on an island destination that’s become a hideaway for the rich and famous. FBOs are private jet terminals. At their most basic they’re a strip of tarmac where you park your jet. All our client’s competitors on the airfield were most basic - not a great proposition in a place where drifting volcanic ash can wreak havoc with your multimillion-dollar jet.
Our client was conscious that they were a small, local operation competing with multinational competitors with deep pockets.
The problem was that all our client’s competitors didn’t feel the need to compete. The fact that they’re multinational FBO operators with deep pockets meant that they got lazy - they’re on a remote island - where else is a customer going to go, right?
So rather than hide the local nature of their operation, our client emphasized it. They used their local connections to secure the best site on the airfield - double the size of their competitors with room to build not one but two hangars - that's DOUBLE the number of hangars currently available. Blow everyone out of the water by being that sleeper wide receiver in the Statue of Liberty play.
By raising their voice, these guys are in a great position to enhance their community by providing a much needed service and great jobs for their neighbours and friends on the island. And make a ton of money for their shareholders with a massive, ballsy blitz move.
We’re raising our voice to ask for a ticket to the opening party.
If you want to put your best foot forward with your next business plan, get in touch. We create really good investor-facing business plans, pitch decks and executive summary one-pagers.
* Yeah. You're right. That's not a cliché. We made it up for fun. But we're impressed. You read close and you're curious. You're our kind of person. Let's talk.