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It only takes five slides to win an investment Add to ...

There’s a temptation when seeking investment in a business venture to load up the PowerPoint deck with slides. For many years the general guideline has been to limit yourself to 10 slides. But Belmont University professor of entrepreneurship Jeff Cornwall, on his blog, says even that is too much. Stick to five slides, he advises:

Slide 1: Who are you? Investments, in the end, are made in people, not business plans or concepts.

Slide 2: What is your concept? Detail your target market, and what problem you will solve for them.

Slide 3: What is your proof of concept? Here you need to provide evidence that the idea will work, and the evidence should be as tangible as possible. “Conduct market experiments and, if appropriate, develop prototypes that you can test on real customers. A great way to get real data from customers is to give the first versions away for free. The information you get from these first customers will be worth much more than what they might pay for the product,” he writes.

Slide 4: What is the growth potential? Investors want to see significant growth – including into new markets and products – so they can make their investment back many times over.

Slide 5: What is the exit plan? Explain how the investors will get their money back. It helps to find examples of other start-ups in your industry that were sold to larger companies.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Harvey Schachter is a Battersea, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online work-life column Balance. E-mail Harvey Schachter

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