Dress it As Needed

Heath Brothers on Business Language

“This is where so much business communication goes awry. Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions — they are often ambiguous to the point of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images … because our brains are trained to remember concrete data. In proverbs, abstract truths are often encoded in concrete language. “A bird...


Documents, Presentations, Live

One of the principles of the plan-as-you-go business plan is that form follows function. Your plan isn’t your plan document. It isn’t your elevator speech, or your summary memo. Those are outputs. Your plan is what you’re going to do with your business. It’s what’s going to happen, set out concretely so you can track...


The Standard Traditional Business Plan

I hope at this point I’ve made it clear that you don’t necessarily need to have a standard, traditional, formal business plan. Until you really need to show a plan to some outsider who needs, wants, or expects the full formal plan, you can just use your plan-as-you-go plan to reap the benefits and avoid...


Always Lead With Your Story

Start with stories. In your business plan, your presentation, and even your elevator pitch, always start with a story about who needs what you’re selling. Needs and wants are the biggest thing in business, so make that come alive. Ralph promised his wife Mabel that he’d get new suits before his London trip, but Mabel...


The Executive Summary: Write It for Whomever Will Read it.

Let’s take a couple of real-world cases. First, the executive summary for a formal business plan, which will be used in a venture competition or as a tool for seeking outside investment. Second, the executive summary for a bank, as part of a loan document. Third, the executive summary for internal use, for employees, or...


The Pitch Presentation

For a bit of venture capital history, the pitch presentation became fashionable in the late 1990s during the dotcom boom, when investors were frequently buying into businesses that had website traffic and no money, and no business model they could use to get money. The pitch presentation is a 20-minute (or so) slide presentation, usually...


The Elevator Speech

If you can’t give your elevator speech in 60 seconds, you have a problem. Your strategy isn’t clear enough. It should be a quick description of the business that you could give in the time you share with a stranger in an elevator. The term is becoming popular in the everyday language of the entrepreneur, the venture capitalist, and the teaching of...


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