Well, you heard all of the following before. you know there is a need to clarify the problem your startup is about to solve, you know you’ll need to pitch the solution in an elevator moving between floors and you realized you got to have somewhere a spreadsheet claiming you’ll be making 3 figures of million bucks in the 6th year…
That’s all true if you’re into taking your idea to the next level. This story is just about reminding us all of the initials categories of business terms that our one-pager, executive summary, or all other sorts of a deck must contain.
Hand in hand, all through the development of your new tech, you must write, design, and create your business files and materials. They will assist you to define and clarify to all those involved in the project what and why are we doing the thing we do, and in addition, all those answers will be your way to communicate with future partners- investments, strategic partners, and potential clients.
There’s nothing new here. just the same old list, that seems to be the only thing that stayed relevant in the days after the global shutdown we’re just coming out from.
The must-have business files-
Who is responsible for creating them?
So, the WHY should we have all of the answers ready looks like that- It clarifies the project, distributing tasks and responsibilities, phrasing vision and missions to ourselves and to the outer world.
But… one question is never delt enough, and it is all about who in the organization is responsible for creating them.
The straight forward simple answer here will be those who responsible for the business. right? business development, CEO, CFO, and similar.
Well. yeh, they are responsible to make sure those files exist and to present them during pitches and other business events, but making, creating brainstorming and finally approving every single word in the final content should be an assignment for all- engineers, marketing, finance, and administration- in a lean startup, it is essential that the people behind the tech and the product will be a part of creating the following list.
Without their input in the process of phrasing the problem, solution, competitive advantage, and others, the result will be far from a complete and full picture and on top of things, it can really harm the coordination and alignment inside the team.
Must-address-terms in your deck
The list below of business aspects is the essential, initial and basic one you already met over the years- just stick to the reminder here before going all complicated and sophisticated full of buzz words, cause you feel there's a change now due to the new edge.
Way before we find our selves all over the place with our startup, we need to analyze the basics here, like in the old good days.
once the following are phrased, you can create the execution in any way you’ll find appropriate...launch your tech, fight throughout development, raise investments, leap over obstacles. But with a sense of clarity backing you.
So whether it’s your one-pager, elevator pitch, executive summary or investors presentation, remember that you are just trying to onboard future partners to your project, so make this list as clear as you can-
so…. here comes the list
1. The Problem & The Solution
I’m combining these 2 together although each one of them is a task by itself that will require focus and dedicated time in order to phrase correctly.
Both, the problem and the solution share so much as for the techniques and the way they are being created.
Both need to be a 30 thousand feet view- just the big picture, no details regarding the technology (that will come, I can assure you that). Just aim for a simple answer- what is the problem you decided to solve, who is in pain, what the pain looks and feels like, and please point out the industry and the relevant vertical.
The same goes for the solution that should be short, macro perspective, and no detailed description.
Getting to the point in which you’re all happy with the text of both the problem and the solution, is tough and can take you guys days till you conclude, but it will be worthwhile.
You’ll know it by heart, you’ll say it in every casual talk like an automatic pilot, it will change with time and the emphasis will be fine-tuned, but you’ll carry them everywhere and in every file sent out and presented.
2. Competitive advantage-
It’s time to get now a bit more into details.
Once you’re done describing your solution, it’s time to drill down into the advantages you guys can deliver.
Competitive advantage is all about how and why is your solution be the right one, the cost-effective one, the adaptable, smart, and simple solution. It’s about explaining why your tech is not too risky as for timelines and actually developing the tech and how come the solution you guys promote can handle all of the obstacles your competitors were facing.
The ability to address all of the above will lead you to the right dose of self-confidence and belief in your product.
3. Market and competitors-
One of the first times in an early-stage startup you’ll actually spend some money (usually out of pocket one…). Not like the previous terms here that needed only our time and effort, we can’t go around it here and we’ll need facts, researches, graphs, and valid data over your market’s size, expected growth, CAGRs, and some 4–6 years forecast.
Once you refer to your competitors, think of using the “Boston Matrix” as a tool for visualizing your excepted position in the market. Use one of the axils as features scale or tech specifications and then use the other one to present the costs or the traffic, or the data you providing or any other value you add and that positions you strong and promising in comparing to your competitors
This is a nice example of how it should look like-
4. Lean Canvas-
It’s a must… no way around that one, even if you’ll never share it with anyone.
Make sure you have one and answer all of the parameters there. You’ll control and clarify your pitch and ability to join new followers to your dream. Here is what it contains
5. Profit and Loss (P&L)
This is not a simple task and the guidelines here are not efficient enough. Either get some help here or learn how to create one yourself.
Make sure you’re able to indicate over a period of 5–6 years your predicted margin, volume, sales, and then of course the costs- overhead, labor, and production cost (and preparations for that), operating and development expenses, and marketing expenses. That will all end up too full P&L revenues, gross margin, and finally EBITA.
Only once you’ll own the details is your latest version of the P&L, and only once you can claim that your startup is a very promising business, you’ll stand the chance of making real progress and supply the project’s needs as for budget.
All of the phrasing work I’ve just described will change so many times. New facts will reveal, the technology will take its path, the inputs you’ll get along the way will affect you and time will make you see new angles and perspectives.
But every one of the segments will stay relevant. The changes will just create new versions of those files, but you'll keep the headlines, just fine-tune what's in it.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to ask for clarification or insights