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Write Your Business Plan

A Step-by-Step Guide to Presenting Your Business Plan in 10 Slides How the 10–20–30 rule will help you create a concise and compelling presentation.

By Eric Butow

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This is part 8 / 12 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 1: The Foundation of a Business Plan series.

Using a deck for your business plan is a quick, to-the-point means of providing your best-selling points while still providing the necessary details. The question is: How do you best organize and minimize the breadth of a business plan in a PowerPoint presentation?

Follow the 10–20–30 rule—ten slides, 20 minutes, and a minimum of a 30-point font. Here's how it works:

What Is the 10–20–30 Rule?

1. Your first slide is your title slide, providing the name of the business, your name and title, and contact information— plus a slogan if you have one. If you can, use one succinct sentence to describe what your business does.

2. The next slide should introduce a problem that persists and is relatable to your target market. You want the audience to relate to the problem or understand how it affects others. Use can cite statistics to help support your claims, but narrow them down to one or two.

Related: 6 Tips For Making A Winning Business Presentation

3. The third slide should get to your solution. In simple terms, briefly describe how your business has figured out how to alleviate the problem. Make sure the audience understands that you have a unique approach. You might also add a few words to support your overall value proposition.

4. Explain how you will make money. What are your revenue sources? Who are your customers? What is your pricing structure? Then, describe briefly about how you expect to profit.

5. This is the slide where you present more detail on your operating plan. How does it all work? Is it self-service? Kiosks? Personal service? Give the reader a short version of how the business operates. Provide a summary, from buying the goods to marketing them to sales and shipping. You can include a little technology, but remember to keep it in layman's terms. This is where you may need a second visual slide to show how it all works.

6. Present your marketing plan in a few short words. After all, if you want to create dynamic advertising and promotional campaigns, what better way to start than briefly explaining how you plan to market the business? Share a few specifics rather than saying "on the internet" or "on TV." Let your listeners know you have a marketing plan and can keep it within a reasonable budget.

7. Mention your key competitors—but be nice. Explain what gives you the competitive edge.

Related: Vusi Thembkwayo's 7 Rules Of Pitching

8. This is where you introduce your team, with a few very brief highlights (one line) of each member's background related to the business. Remember, people invest in other people.

9. Financials. This slide should show a clear projection with a three- to five-year forecast. Explain the method you used to arrive at your numbers.

10. Lastly, show them where your business is at present. What have you done thus far, and how are you looking to move forward sooner rather than later? Offer a positive call to action based on what you have accomplished and what you will accomplish in the future.

Should you stop at 10 slides? It depends. There are many ways to go about putting together your deck. If you need to go to twelve slides, do so, but try not to go longer.

Related: How To Pitch Your Business In Just 10 Minutes

Presentation Tips

If you are asked to present your business deck, follow these handy do's and don'ts.

  • Don't talk in jargon. Not everyone is deeply embedded in your industry.
  • Don't read your slides word for word. Your audience can read what's on the screen. Instead, highlight something easy for them to digest and use your comments to provide a little deeper explanation. This way, you present more information, some printed and some verbally.
  • Take a breath. There's no need to rush. Remember to breath between slides so you don't start motoring along.
  • Do not focus on technology. Technology is interesting in small doses, but too much can take the focus off of the human element of your business.
  • Don't overload slides. You've heard the term TMI? The same goes for business decks. People can only read and digest so much.
  • Less is more. Don't pack too much into a PowerPoint presentation. You want to avoid the dreaded "PowerPoint Poisoning" effect, in which and overload of information casts a spell on your audience or puts them to sleep.

Related: Crafting A Simple Business Plan

How to Write a Business Growth Plan

We highly recommend growth planning to get the most from your business plan. It's an ongoing business planning process that combines the simplicity of the mini plan (or one-page plan) with the continuing use and focus of the working plan.

It just takes four simple steps:

  • Create a plan Quickly size up the potential of your idea, validate that it can be a real business, and set goals to make it work.
  • Build your forecast Develop an expense budget and financial projections to understand better where your business is now and where it is headed.
  • Review the results Compare your forecast against your actual sales and expenses each month to stay accountable and uncover new ideas.
  • Refine your strategy Adjust your business plan and forecast based on your learnings.

Related: A Few Pointers On The Worst Way To Write A Pitch Deck

Remember, the goal of growth planning isn't just to produce documents that you use once and shelve it. Instead, it helps you build a healthier company that will outlast all the business failure statistics. It's faster than traditional business planning. You can complete an initial one-page plan that covers all of the necessary details about your business in just thirty minutes. You can revise your plan and strategy in minutes instead of hours. This means that your plan stays up-to-date and useful for identifying potential problems and opportunities. It's concise. Because growth planning requires you to document your ideas with limited text, your ideas are distilled to their essence.

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