Strategic Business Overview
A Guide to Creating a Professional and
Comprehensive Overview for Your Venture
About this Guide...
• This PowerPoint presentation or “deck” is a guide to
structuring and organizing your own venture overview.
Overviews generally take the form of Business Plans,
Executive Summaries and Venture Presentations.
Regardless of the application, the principals and guidelines
are inherently the same.
• Included are suggested headings, content and subject order.
• Following the slides is a “Notes” section containing overall
suggestions and strategies for organizing and structuring
Key Points: This section at the bottom of each slide lists the crucial questions that must be
answered by that particular slide. Above all else, answer these questions.
• The slides were intentionally left simple and plain. Paper materials should
be printed on plain paper while avoiding the overuse of color and “glitz.”
• When preparing presentations, select your own backgrounds, colors, layout
and the use of text / graphics.
• Be as concise as possible: summarize key points and leave plenty of white
• You may need two different versions: a “live” version that you present in
person and a “paper” version that will be unaccompanied by an oral
– Live presentations: use dark backgrounds and light colored text / images. Live
decks should be extremely concise.
– Paper presentations: use light background, minimal shading (they might make
copies); more detailed than “live” version.
Key Points: Remember, your materials (paper and presentation) are a direct reflection of you
and the business in review. Keep it clean, simple and professional.
• Business Concept
• Technology and Products
• Market Analysis
• Competitive Advantages
• Marketing Plan
• Growth Strategy
• Management Team
• Financial Plan
• This is a 2 minute summary of the venture, concept and
business model. Make sure to grab the reader’s attention!
• Speak in broad or high-level terms that the audience can
relate to, rely on graphics and diagrams to illustrate.
• Discuss the economics that drive the business and show
how you make money.
• The purpose of this slide is to describe the overall nature,
industry and type of business you will be presenting.
• If applicable, include your “Mission Statement.”
Key Points: What is the overall concept of the venture? Where does it fit into the business
universe or “the grand scheme of things?” What will this Company do and How will it make
• How did you become involved in the venture?
• Who are the key participants?
• Briefly discuss steps taken in forming the Company.
• Again, quick overview, highlight the key events and
developments only - no minutia.
• Generally how and why this venture came to be...
Key Points: Where did this product/technology come from? How and when did this all get
started? How did the key participants get involved in the venture? What has been
accomplished to date?
Technology and Products
• Describe the technology in terms the audience will
understand - avoid technical jargon.
• List the products (if several, list major ones) and discuss
the features and benefits of each product. Use pictures,
diagrams or actual models if available.
• Validate the technology and prove that it works.
• Typical questions: What is it? How does it work? What
does it do? What need does it fill? What problems does it
solve? What is unique about it? And most importantly,
Why will your customers buy it?
Key Points: What exactly is the product or service? What are its key features and benefits?
How is it unique and different? Is the product / technology proprietary? If so, is it protected
by patents? Why will potential customers want to buy it?
• Provide credible statistics (referenced): Industry and market size,
number of customers, price points and growth trends.
• Identify barriers to entry, customer buying power, supplier power,
threat of substitutes, market dynamics and structure; identify key
participants (use graphics).
• Define and segment customer universe (who is most likely to buy
• Demonstrate user validation: i.e. focus groups, alpha/beta site.
• Describe and support the need and demand for your product.
• Discuss level of competition within industry and describe your
competitors (direct and indirect). List their strengths and
weaknesses. Show where you fit in the big picture.
Key Points: What does the overall market look like and how big is it? How is the industry
structured? Where are your customers and, again, why will they buy your product? Who are
your competitors? What are your competitor’s strong points?
• Describe key, sustainable competitive advantages: patented
technology, trademarks, exclusive contracts, etc. If possible, list
your “unfair” advantage (cannot be replicated).
• Highlight additional competitive strengths: barriers to entry,
strategic partnerships, R&D capabilities, first mover advantage,
fast time-to-market capabilities, solid financial backing or
knowledgeable, experienced management team.
• Highlight the key differences between you and your competitors:
products (benefits, features, performance and price), positioning,
capabilities, and strategy.
• How or why is your product an improvement over status quo?
• Do not ignore, belittle or underestimate your competition.
Key Points: Where are your competitive strengths/weaknesses? Which are real, sustainable
competitive advantages vs. competitive strengths? How will you confront and minimize
competition? What can you do to keep from being ambushed in the marketplace?
• Describe your overall marketing strategy and describe your
marketing and sales organization.
• Describe target market, why they’ll buy and expected share:
Who makes buying decision? What do they value? What is
required to make a sale? Support assertions with data.
• Discuss how and when you will reach your customer:
advertising, promotion, point-of-sales and distribution. (Can
you utilize the Internet?)
• Discuss your brand and how it will be developed.
• Explain your pricing rationale and compare to market.
Key Points: Who exactly are your customers? Why will they buy from you? How do you
intend to sell your product? How do you know they will buy it at your price? What are the
key aspects of branding, promoting and distributing your product? Again, how can you
assure reader that you can reach your projected sales levels?
Product Development Plan
• Describe the product development / manufacturing process.
• Identify key elements of process that will be internal or
outsourced. If outsourced, identify supplier.
• Describe major capital items, critical skills and lead times.
• Describe management’s experience and existing available
resources to implement the development plan.
• Describe how much has been accomplished to date.
• What are the remaining critical steps in the initial phase of
the development or production plan?
• Identify similar efforts to produce or develop product.
Key Points: What are the critical steps, skills, equipment., technology and other resources
needed to complete the development process. What are the sources of supply or technology?
What are the potential missteps?
• Taking into consideration operations, manufacturing,
suppliers, personnel and management - what is needed for
growth and what challenges will you face in order to reach
the targeted revenue goal.
• In broad terms describe your strategy for sustaining high
growth rates. This may include the following topics:
technology development, product line extension, aggressive
marketing and branding, strategic partnerships, mergers and
acquisitions and adequate financing.
• Identify the risk factors that may prevent you from reaching
your goals (or worse case, cause the business to fail).
Key Points: How quickly can you grow the business? What is your strategy for reaching that
goal? What are the resources needed to sustain a high growth rate? What are the key stress
• Identify principals and management team.
• Describe the relevant background, experience and
expertise of key individuals. Show strong track records.
• Discuss the qualifications (particularly of the founder or
CEO) that add value to the organization and increase the
chances for success.
• Has the CEO ever run a business?
• Identify weaknesses in management, positions that need to
be filled and how / when you will secure the right people.
• Identify the team member with the accounting /financial
• List board of directors and their relevant experience.
Key Points: Who will run this company? Are they qualified? What holes need to be filled?
What are the strengths and weaknesses? Note: this is the MOST important consideration.
Investors want to see a track record of success.
• Summarize 5 year proformas (reasonable expectations)
– Show unit sales, revenue, gross margin, EBITDA, EBT.
– Provide detailed financial statements as attachment.
• Highlight Breakeven and profitability points.
• Describe current cash position: cash on hand and cash flow.
• How has the venture been capitalized to date?
• Describe compensation for management (pre- and post funding)
• Identify amount and timing of capital needed to fund growth.
• Identify and discuss the Use of Proceeds
– Equipment, R&D, Working Capital, Marketing Costs,
Inventory, Startup Expenses, Acquisitions, Etc.
• Identify the options for an Exit (Sale/IPO/Recap).
Key Points: What are the realistic revenue projections? When will the company reach
profitability? How much capital is needed, when will it be needed, what will it be used for?
What is the investor’s exit strategy?
Notes On Strategic Overviews
• By the end of the Business Plan/presentation the audience
must have a very clear understanding of the following:
– The overall concept and business model
– The product/service, its benefits and how it will be sold
– The technology and proof that it works
– The market size, characteristics, participants and dynamics
– The need and demand in the marketplace for your product/service
– The customer base and why they will buy the product/service
– The plan for making customers aware of and able to buy product
– The competition and how you intend to stay ahead of them
– The management team and their qualifications for success
– The projected financial future of the Company
– The capital required and its intended uses
– The exit strategy (liquidity event) for investors
Notes On Executive Summaries
• Executive Summaries should consist of no more than 3 pages. Make it
concise, well written and compelling.
• The goal of the Executive Summary is to address the highlights of the
venture (review the previous slide) – what makes this business concept
particularly unique and why should investors be excited about getting
• Think in terms of an “elevator pitch” – if you had only two minutes to
sell your story, what would you say?
• Above all else, reinforce the following topics: management team,
market size, marketing plan, competitive advantages, growth strategy,
revenue model and financial requirements.
• Focus on the investment opportunity not the product/technology.
• Remember, the Executive Summary may be your one and only
opportunity to gain the attention of a prospective investor, so make it
interesting and make it sell the rest of the Business Plan.
Notes On Business Plans
• Business Plans should consist of no more than 20 pages of text.
Information in addition to the 20 pages may include financials, product
diagrams, marketing materials, market or competitor information,
management resumes, patent abstracts or legal agreements,
bibliography or any additional materials that an investor may find
• Be concise and explain buzz words and acronyms (explain industry
jargon if you are using it).
• Again, address all of the points on the “Audience Take-Away’s” slide
and remember, the easier you make it for a prospective investor to read
your plan, understand the uniqueness and advantages of your concept
and get excited about investing, the greater the probability of getting
• Tell the “story” in an interesting and compelling fashion.
• The purpose of the business plan is to open the door for a face-to-face
meeting and a presentation. Prospective investors will provide you
with a very narrow window of attention – use it wisely.
Notes On Venture Presentations
Creating and Making Presentations
• Slides should contain a mixture of text and graphics (tables, charts,
pictures, etc.). Make the slides interesting.
• Modify presentation based on your audience.
• Again, be concise and explain buzz words and acronyms (explain
industry jargon if you are using it).
• Text should be large enough to be easily read. Leave plenty of white
space (do not cram too much information on one page).
• Do not read from slides. Discuss the topics covered by it.
• When answering questions, listen carefully and answer the question
politely, directly and succinctly.
• Support your answers with findings or data. If you don’t know the
answer, admit it - you’ll lose credibility if you try to fake it.
• Be confident; maintain eye contact with your audience.
• Relax, speak clearly and project your voice.
Notes On Strategic Overviews
The overriding goal of your Business Plan or presentation is to
prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you can successfully
produce and build a company around your product/service and,
more importantly, that a large number of people will in fact buy it.
The only real means of accomplishing this task is by adequately
addressing all the topics listed on the previous slides and allaying
the concerns raised by the questions found in the “Key Points.”
Keep in mind, ventures are only as credible as the people
involved. Firmly establish your credibility and believability, and
build the audience’s confidence in your team as a group of
professionals. After all, it’s the management team that will drive a
company to success or failure - all bets are on you.
Notes On Strategic Overviews
Quotes to remember
“If you can prove that people will buy your product, you can
raise money. If they don’t invest, it’s because they don’t believe
in your product or they don’t believe in you”
- Joe Lassiter, Harvard Business School
“I usually know if I’m interested the moment the entrepreneur
walks into the room”
- David Hull, Centennial Funds