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Make It Snappy

Learn the valuable art of the one-page pitch.

What's the likelihood of getting your 45-page pitch read by an investor? Not very, considering he probably has a hundred pitches just like it on his desk already, says Patrick G. Riley, author of The One-Page Proposal (ReganBooks). Investors may not want to tackle a lengthy proposal, but, says Riley, "The person [can] read [the one-page proposal] on the spot--anybody can read for two and a half minutes."

The key to making a good one-page pitch is focusing ideas into a single vision. What do you want the pitch to accomplish? Be clear in asking for an action. Do you want to get new investors? Get people to write about your business? Entice a potential client to choose your service? Though your business is the same, you'll need to punch up different angles with different audiences, and write in the third-person voice. Venture fund executives want to know how your firm fits their needs, so research the VC's background before writing a pitch. Remember, investors want to see how you can improve their bottom line.

The brevity of the pitch, however, doesn't mean you do less research. You still need to have all the facts and figures on hand that you'd normally put into the 45-pager, and be prepared to answer the questions that your one-page proposal will elicit if you've done it right. "It's not a summary; it's not an introduction," says Riley. "It's asking for an action."

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This article was originally published in the July 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Make It Snappy.

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