The Top 10 Pitchdeck No-Nos
Usually, when it comes to business plans and pitch decks, we’re all about the DO-DOs. But you can fry an egg on the sidewalk in Atlanta right now, along with the chicken that laid it. We're hot under the collar. Here’s your guide to the top ten real-life business plan NO-NOs presented to us by clients that really needed some investor deck help.
10. No Hockey Sticks
There’s nothing cryptic about this crytpo offering. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and doesn't need to use cryptocurrency, then it's probably just a duck. The only disagreement among the Unicorn Business Plans team is whether most crypto offerings constitute a pyramid, a ponzi, or full-fat hubris. When your company’s Y10 growth projections are hampered by the limited population of planet Earth, you’re dreaming. This is an extreme version of the most common business plan no-no:
9. No overly optimistic projections
Unless your company sells sports equipment to the NHL, your investor deck shouldn’t include a hockey stick shooting toward the moon!
8. No comparing your company to Uber
You’re not the next Uber. Statistically, you’re just not. They’re called Unicorns for a reason - not a clear reason, because whether or not Unicorns exist is a point of some contention (not with us, obviously), but the point is this: don’t waste your time sticking a traffic cone on your horse. If you quit playing dress-up you might discover you have a pretty useful horse. Or zebra - you know, if that's your thing.
7. No taking down the elephant sans ammo
Investors want to see that you have a good head on your shoulders, and the discretion to talk about what’s important today, tomorrow and for the next three years. Focus on that. Start a good business before you start a revolution.
6. No comparing yourself to Elon Musk
He may be every entrepreneur's idol, but his shareholders are feeling pretty burned and fear they may ultimately be wiped out. It’s literally one of the oldest rules in the oldest book. No idols. When it comes to your business - all of them are false. Today’s scion could be disinherited tomorrow. Practice humility and don't be a d*ck - especially if it's on a conference call with analysts who are paid to judge your business acumen by the same people who entrusted millions upon millions of dollars to your management team.
5. No dealing with questions from the floor for the first time
No one’s that good. No one. You might sound confident. Or you might look like a deer in the headlights. But you're not getting away with it. Expect an investor to ask you a question, or series of questions, about anything you’ve written in your Pitch Deck and Business Plan. Get someone with a nasty streak to challenge you on everything they can think of in advance.
4. No shakey stats
Keep it simple - if an investor asks you, "where'd you get that data," and your response is going to be "Wikipedia" - then either find a better source or find a better topic to talk about.
3. No talking about how others have tried and failed
Talk about how you plan to succeed. The last thing out of your mouth when you’re talking about your Big Idea should be “how others have tried it and failed”. In the likely event that those others are charismatic people just like you who've lost a lot of other people's money, then you’ve just written yourself off in the investor’s mind.
2. No Lions, No Mice
Like all good things, Ambition is great in moderation, toxic in excess and ineffective when the dose is too small.
1. To whatever this is: No.
Some pictures say a thousand words. This one says 5: “Whatever you’re selling, I’m out.”
You'll never guess where we saw this image. And we love our clients, so we'll never tell you. But in no way does their business plan involve encouraging people to leap off tall buildings to achieve the immediate ROI of certain death. So it had to go.
Let's wrap up with a DO.
Do run a Red Team Investor exercise.
If you're writing your own business plan and pitch deck, get out of your own way. Let someone else tear your pitch apart before a prospective investor does. If that person's any good, it'll feel like you've just been through a brutal interrogation - but it'll be worth it.
Drop us a line if you want someone to take care of your Business Plan, Pitch Deck, Pitchdeck, Onepager, One-pager, Teaser, Information Memorandum, Prospectus, Executive Summary, Investment Memorandum, Investment Bank Presentations, Investor Presentations, Financial Model and other Fund Raise Documents & Capital Raise Documents. And SEO probably, if this paragraph is anything to go by.