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10 Business Plan Dos and Don’ts

As someone who has also judged business plan competitions, I thought his observations were interesting and helpful. So I’m passing them on to you.

10 Business Plan Dos and Don’ts

Each year, I help fellow entrepreneurs and investors judge the MBA business plan competition at Harvard Business School. This year, I noted which pitch approaches seemed to work best and which tactics fell flat.

Here are five things that worked in this year’s presentations—and that you should consider including in your next business plan pitch:

1. Bookends
The best pitches started and ended with the same 30-second, crystal clear explanation of what was to come: The customers, their needs, the solution, and the amount of capital sought. That helped the judges process and remember everything in between.

2. Comparables
At some point in most pitches, judges think to themselves, “Will this really work?” The best way to convince them is to show that you’re already getting results. If you are just starting out, another powerful approach is to cite real world comparables. For example, if your exit strategy is to sell your company to P&G, tell us how they recently bought companies similar to the one you are planning, for how much, and why.

3. Emotion
Every student used logic. But the winners built on that logic with an appeal to emotions. Winners brought their arguments to life, using examples, stories, or short demonstrations. Judges could sense their passion, and imagine how their customers would feel.

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About Tiffany C. Wright

Hi! I,Tiffany C. Wright, am the author of the ebook, "Help! I Need Money for My Business Now!!" and the book "Solving the Capital Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses", available on Amazon. I am the president of Toca Family Business Services, a short-term & project-based interim management & strategic and financial advisory firm, located in Atlanta, Georgia. In the past five years I've helped small and medium companies restructure and obtain over $31 Million in financing and a similar amount in purchase orders and contracts. I have an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University. Personal: I enjoy investing. I am a prodigious reader of everything from business books, magazines, and newspapers to horror and popular fiction. I read 4-6 books per month. I also love to travel. I've been to 33 countries on 5 continents and lived in Japan for 2.5 years and aim for a foreign locale twice a year. I am also an athlete and run track on the Master's Circuit. The highlight was placing 7th in my age group in the 2007 World Master's Track and Field Championships in Italy.

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The Resourceful CEO, Tiffany C. Wright

the president of Toca Family Business Services, a strategic and financial advisory firm which provides short-term & project-based C-level management. She is the author of Solving the Financial Equation: Financing Solutions for Small Businesses, available on Amazon.

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