The Pitch-Then-Plan Business
About This Template
This ―Pitch-Then-Plan‖ template was originally
presented in the Book ―The Art of the Start‖ by
Guy Kawasaki—founder of Garage Ventures and
part of the original Apple Macintosh development
To use this template, read then delete all of the
slides that have a black background. Complete the
slides that have a blue background.
Doing, not learning to do, is the essence of
Remember, no one ever achieved success by
planning for gold.
The hardest thing about getting started is getting
As an (emerging) entrepreneur, you should always
be selling—not strategizing about selling.
Pitch, Then Plan
Many entrepreneurs try to perfect their
business plans and then pull PowerPoint slides
out of it.
This is backwards thinking. A good business
plan is a detailed version of the pitch—NOT a
pitch as a distilled version of the business plan.
If you get the pitch right, you‘ll get the plan
right. The opposite is not always true.
The Proper Process
1. Throw together a pitch that contains the ten
slides presented in this template.
2. Try it out on some mentors, colleagues, and
relatives. Do this about ten times.
3. Get the team together in a room and discuss
what you have learned.
4. Fix the pitch.
5. Start writing the plan.
Why This Is The Right Process
Your pitch is more important than your business plan,
because it will determine whether you‘re rejected or
generate further interest. Few sophisticated investors
will read a business plan as the first step.
A pitch is easier to fix than a business plan because it
contains less text.
You won‘t get feedback on your business plan.
Frankly, it may not even be read. You will, however,
get immediate reactions to your pitch.
Explain Yourself in The First Minute
Never has a presentation been given where the
audience has said to itself, I wish the speaker had
spent the first fifteen minutes explaining his life
While you‘re busy warming up, your listeners are
inevitably wondering, What does their
Do everyone a favor: Answer that question in the
first minute. Once the audience has learned what
you do, they can listen to everything else with a
more focused perspective.
Answer The Little Man
Nothing in a pitch is more powerful than combing an
answer to ―So what?‖ with ―For instance,…‖
LITTLE MAN THEN YOU
YOU SAID YOU REPLIED
―We use digital signal ―So what?‖ ―Our product increases ―For instance, if you‘re at a
processing in our hearing the clarity of sounds.‖ cocktail party with many
aids.‖ conversations going on
around you, you‘ll be able to
hear what people are saying
―We provide 128-bit ―So what?‖ ―It‘s harder than hell to ―For instance, if you‘re in a
encryption in a portable break into our system.‖ hotel room and want to have
device.‖ a secure conversation with
―We use Montessori ―So what?‖ ―Our school focuses on ―Fir instance, we enable
methods in our new children as individuals children who are gifted in
school.‖ and enables them to learn specific areas to proceed in
to manage their own advance of the rest of the
study independently.‖ students.‖
Observe The 10/20/30 Rule
Here is a good guideline to follow for the
content, length, and font of a good pitch.
It‘s called the 10/20/30 rule…
– Ten slides
– Twenty minutes
– Thirty-point font text
Don’t Use A Top-Down Model
No bootstrapper in his right mind would do a top-
down forecast. Here‘s a typical top-down model:
– There a 1.3 billion people.
– 1 percent want internet access.
– We‘ll get 10 percent of that potential audience.
– Each account will yield $240 per year.
– 1.3 billion people X 1% of the market X 10% success
rate X $240/customer = $312 million.
– (And as an added bonus, look at how conservative
these percentages are!)
Instead, Use A Bottom-Up Model
Here‘s an example:
– Each salesperson can make ten phone sales a day that
get through to a prospect.
– There are 240 working days per year.
– Five percent of the sales calls will convert within six
– Each successful sale will bring in $240 worth of
– We can bring on board five sales people.
– Ten calls/day X 240 days/year X 5% success rate X
$240/sale X 5 salespeople = $144,000 in sales in the
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Describe the pain that you‘re taking away. The
goal is to get everyone nodding and ―buying in.‖
Try to personalize the problem.
Example: ―If you go to five travel sites, you will
be presented with 5 completely different offers.
Visiting each site and comparing trip packages is
time-consuming and confusing.‖
Explain how you take away this pain. Ensure that
the audience clearly understands what you sell and
your value proposition.
Example: ―We are a discount travel website. We
have written software that searches all the other
travel sites and collates their price quotes into one
Explain how you make money: who pays you, your
channels of distribution, and your gross margins.
Generally, a unique, untested business model is a scary
proposition. If you truly have a revolutionary business
model (unlikely), explain it in terms of familiar ones.
Think of eBay: ―We charge a listing fee plus a
commission.‖ End of story.
Describe the technology, secret sauce, or magic behind
Specifically, how does it create value for the customer.
Example: ―The delivery of a wine‘s ‗message,‘ its bouquet
and taste, depends on the shape of the glass. The secret to
Reidel glasses is that there is a perfect shape for every
beverage. Through ten generations of glassblowers, we
have discovered the timeless forms of glass to convey the
wine‘s message in the best manner to the human senses.‖
Describe your position in the marketplace.
Competitive Positioning: What stories are the prominent
Creative Positioning: What story will you tell that
customers will find either more important or different than
the stories already being told in the market?
Example: ―Wal-Mart is telling the story of low prices
everyday. We telling a story of convenience.‖
Marketing and Sales
Explain how you are going to reach your customer
and your marketing leverage points.
Convince the audience that you have an effective go-
to-market strategy that won‘t break the bank.
Example: ―We can reach the majority of the primary
buyers of our educational software through two
national trade shows and four primary regional
Provide a complete view of the competitive
Never dismiss your competition.
Everyone—customers, investors, employees—
wants to hear why your good, not why the
competition is bad.
Describe the key players of your management
team, board of directors, advisors, as well as
any major investors.
Discuss how your team completes the
―management trinity‖: production, marketing,
and financial expertise.
Discuss what are the holes in the team and how
do you plan to fill them.
Provide a three year forecast containing not
only dollars, but also key metrics such as
numbers of customers and conversion rate.
This should be a bottom-up forecast taking into
account long sales cycles and seasonality.
Making people understand the underlying
assumptions of your forecast is as important as
the numbers you‘ve fabricated.
– the current status of your product or service,
– what the near term future looks like,
– any accomplishments to date, and
– how you‘ll use any money that you are trying to raise.