NewPlan, LLC

The NewPlan Blog

Our thoughts on building your strategy, scaling operations, and maximizing the value of your company - all in one place.

Investor Presentations, Part 2: The Nine Rules for Making Your Pitch

The best Investors have sat through hundreds of presentations and have pretty much seen it all.  Plus, they are intellectually curious, like to get to the point, and often take perverse pleasure in testing the composure, verbal skills, and subject matter expertise of presenters.  And they do all of this in a completely non-threatening way.  There are nine rules for ensuring the success of an investor presentation.

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Peter BuchananComment
Investor Presentations, Part 1: Building Your Winning Pitch

For entrepreneurs, first meetings with investors really are make-or-break events. By building and delivering a high quality Investor Presentation, you can pave the way for a successful first meeting and an on-going dialog with investors about funding your company. In this post, I’ll show you how to build a winning investor pitch.  In Part 2, I’ll lay out the secrets to delivering your pitch – successfully – in person – to people with funds to invest.

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Business Plans That Drive Transactions

Most companies view business planning as a necessary evil.  Senior executives would rather be building new technology or talking to customers.  For early and growth stage companies, the goal of business planning is to obtain funding to start or expand the business.  For more mature companies, the main goal is usually to drive either an acquisition by a larger player or faster growth and profitability.  In reality, the major goal of business planning is to outline the structure and execution steps to create the best possible business. 

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Congratulations! Your Company Is a Scaleup

It’s late on a Friday afternoon in the summertime, and, as the CEO of a hot startup, you should be feeling pretty good.  The key metrics on your monthly dashboard are all glowingly positive.  Well known investors call every week wanting to invest in your next round.  And yet you are nervous.  All of things that used to be easy to do in your business are getting harder, and you don’t know why.   The answer is simple: You’re not running a startup. You’re running a Scaleup Company.

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Sales v. Product Management: Why Can't We All Just Get Along

In a growing tech company, sales needs product management and vice versa, but, too often, these two functions don’t get along.  The result can be disastrous:  Misaligned products, missed sales goals, lots of finger pointing, and too much employee turnover.  As you think about scaling your company, you should ask yourself this critical question:  How do we get Product Management and Sales working from the same script?

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Knowing When It's Time to Give Up the Ghost

Thankfully, entrepreneurs are optimistic creatures.  Most launch their companies on a wing and a prayer and then work with their radically under resourced teams to create their first product and gain initial customers. Sometimes, things go smoothly.  Funding comes in, customers sign up, and product reviews come back positive.  A majority of the time, however, young companies struggle and ultimately don't survive to fight another day. In fact, most start-ups hang on longer than they should, because, as I said before, entrepreneurs are optimists.  They glom on to any shred of evidence that might indicate that they could be successful and ignore or minimize the rest.

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Don't Build Your Company to be a One Trick Pony

High tech CEOs face a “One Trick Pony” dilemma.  After all, birthing that first product was incredibly difficult, and the customer response has been great.  Your company is making enough money to stay in business, so why wouldn’t your company just do more of the same?  Because becoming a one trick pony can happen overnight, and the impact can be catastrophic.  

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Creating the World's Best Executive Summary

Of all the investor documents, the Executive Summary provides you with the most freedom to create a winning story.  It’s only 1 to 10+ pages long, so why is it so flexible?  Because it can be built in short, medium, or long form; you can vary the content and order of the information more than in other documents, and you can concentrate almost entirely on the story rather than the mechanics of how you are going to get things done.  In short, it’s your story – distilled and tasty.

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The Five Rules of a Start-Up Company Prenup

When small teams of two or three start a company, optimism generally reigns.  After all, you’ve got a really great product idea, you really know the target market, and at least one of you really knows how to sell. Plus, all of you worked together before at a successful large company.  I mean – what could possibly go wrong?  The answer is:  Plenty and then some.

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Peter BuchananComment
Managing Your Board the Right Way

On the surface, the job of the Board of Directors appears to be pretty simple.  The Board debates and approves the company strategy.  It uses full Board meetings, committee meetings related to finance and operations, and monthly reports from management to track things over time.  This system works well for many companies; however, if you are a growth company CEO, you should ask yourself one, key question:  Are my outside Board Members paying attention?

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The Six Secrets to a Successful Product

Product launches like the iPhone are one in ten million, but successful product launches happen quite frequently (albeit with a lot less fanfare). I’ve worked with hundreds of companies from garage stage to the Fortune 1000 over the last 25 years. My work has spanned corporate strategy, go-to-market approaches, and product positioning, I’ve seen a lot of successful products come to market and a larger number that “coulda beena contendah” but fell flat. Here are my keys to building and launching a successful product:

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Entrepreneurs (and How to Fix Them)

Most entrepreneurs in corporate clothing don’t do well with complex sales models, product review boards, rigorous budgeting of finite funds, and managing trade-offs between products.  Entrepreneurs are all about the new and never been done – in particular, new markets, products, technologies, and customers.  Therefore, talented executives leave the world’s great corporations and bravely take on the quest of creating the next Microsoft, Google, Cisco, or Sun.

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Talkin' 'Bout Your Valuation

First of all, there is no magic formula for valuation.  It's a negotiation based on the characteristics of your market, your company's performance, and the quality of your team. Secondly, not all money is the same.  Your company's valuation matters, but it's not the only thing that matters when you look to raise money.  The quality of the funding source matters, too.

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