There’s A New Approach to
Deck, Not Doc
A decade ago, a business plan looked like a 40+ page college term paper. Today, business plans are short, compelling presentations — “decks” — that are pitched in person. That’s good news for founders, since you can create a business plan faster, and update it more easily as you develop your business and get feedback.
The experts agree: Every founder needs a business plan, and it should be a deck, not a doc.
Buy Hit the Deck today, and:
- Create a business plan in half the time, that’s easy to update as your ideas evolve
- Develop a presentation that lets you pitch your plan to investors and advisors
- Get advice and insights from successful entrepreneurs and investors
- Buy the book and get 10% off your first purchase at upstartbootcamp.com
More on Hit the Deck:
- See what the experts are saying about Hit the Deck.
- Read the interview with Steve Brotman, Managing Director of Greenhill & Co.
- Read the interview with Dany Levy, fonder of Daily Candy.
- Meet the author, David Ronick, founder of UpStart Bootcamp.
The Experts Agree: Hit the Deck is a Must-Read When Writing A Business Plan
“Hit the Deck shows founders what they really need to know in order to plan and pitch their startup ideas effectively. It explains the rules of thumb followed by sophisticated investors and experienced entrepreneurs, in an easy-to-follow, no-nonsense way.”
“There’s at least one piece of wisdom on every page of Hit The Deck, none of it buried in jargon.”
“A great book for entrepreneurs looking to turn ideas into businesses. I particularly like the way you walk readers through an actual investor pitch, slide by slide. Your advice is right on target, your writing is clear and easy to follow, and you’ve peppered the book with practical advice and examples from real-world startups.”
“An excellent book! Very much in keeping with my own sentiments about business plans. One of the key takeaways is that business plans are living documents. If your plan is not evolving, your company is not evolving.”
“Great advice for entrepreneurs! Your approach forces founders to communicate their ideas clearly.”
“Hit The Deck does a superb job of explaining what matters for modern business plans and pitch decks. Angel investors and venture capitalists everywhere will be thankful if entrepreneurs read this book and take it to heart.”
“Startups win by being fast and flexible. That goes for planning, as well as execution. This book helps founders plan just enough to make smart choices, without wasting time and effort.”
“A street-smart guide to raising money for startups. It shows entrepreneurs how to create plans that communicate critical aspects of their business, and how to engage investors in conversations.”
“Just the kind of book first-time entrepreneurs need. It provides invaluable tools, with a practical, hands-on approach, including a thorough pre-launch checklist. I wish I had this tool while I was teaching.”
Look Inside: An Investor Interview from Hit the Deck
Steve Brotman: “A business without a plan is like a boat without a rudder.”
Steve Brotman is a Managing Director of Greenhill & Co., and co-founder and co-head of Greenhill SAVP, a fund that invests in early-stage technology and information services companies. Steve currently sits on the board of four companies and the MIT Enterprise Forum’s New York chapter. Steve founded AdOne Classified Network, one of the nation’s leading classified ad Web sites, which was acquired by Hearst, Scripps, and Advance-Newhouse. Steve is a graduate of Duke University and has a joint JD/MBA from Washington University.
UpStart: “In what ways do you think it benefits a startup team to go through the process of developing a business plan?”
Steve Brotman: “A business without a plan is like a boat without a rudder. You’ve got to have a plan! Developing that plan is the critical first step of business creation. It commits you and your team to an explicit strategy and approach. It ensures that your founding team is aligned behind common goals. It defines both what you will do, and what you won’t do. And it establishes priorities, so startups focus time and resources on what’s most critical for their success. Finally, it allows founders to communicate their vision to investors, advisors, employees, vendors and partners. That doesn’t mean the plan can’t or won’t change. So be flexible, and when a major change needs to happen, circle the wagons, and put together a new plan.”
UpStart: “Would you ever invest in a company without a business plan?”
Steve Brotman: “It’s doubtful. In the earliest stages of a company, founders start with the equivalent of an idea on the back of a napkin. But every startup needs help, even if that’s just from the landlord and lawyer. Getting that help demands more than just what’s on the napkin—it requires a business plan. That said, some entrepreneurs go overboard on their plans and projections, and prefer to write about their plans versus doing something about them. That’s not what a plan is about. The goal is uniting your team behind some shared vision and objectives, and how you will likely meet those objectives, and having some document to show parties you’d like to bring on board that will increase the likelihood of your venture’s success.”
Other investor interviews include: Chip Hazard (general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, a leading early-stage venture capital firm), Bo Peabody (co-founder and Managing General Partner of Village Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm), and Moshe “Mo” Koyfman (principal at venture capital firm Spark Capital).
Look Inside: A Founder Interview from Hit the Deck
Dany Levy: “A business plan should evolve.”
Dany Levy is the founder and Editorial Director of DailyCandy, a daily newsletter with insider advice about style, food, fashion, and fun. Dany started DailyCandy in 2000 with a simple vision: one thing in your inbox telling you what to do that day. In 2008, Comcast acquired DailyCandy for a reported $125 million. Today DailyCandy has over three million subscriptions. Prior to founding DailyCandy, Dany worked for New York Magazine and Lucky, and wrote for The New York Times, Martha Stewart, and Vanity Fair. Dany is a graduate of Brown University.
UpStart: “How did you make use of a business plan at DailyCandy?”
Dany Levy: “A business plan should evolve depending on the stage of a business and on the audience it’s written for. I started DailyCandy myself, at my kitchen table, with no employees. At that point, my business plan was just for me. It was a two page document describing what DailyCandy was, to help me clarify and narrow down what the product should be. That plan helped me stay focused, but it also left room for flexibility. I just concentrated on writing great editorial, and spreading the word. A year later, I developed a more comprehensive business plan, as I began to sell advertising and court suitors. Still, I kept it short. I figured investors needed to “get it” after the first few minutes. As the business grew, and I took on institutional investors, I needed more detail, like financial projections and strategies for marketing and sales.”
UpStart: “Did developing a business plan provide any other benefits for you?”
Dany Levy: “Yes. Most of all, it helped me learn. That was one of the greatest things about building a business – the steep learning curve. And the business plan made that learning explicit. I got a lot of help with my plan from my CEO, Pete Sheinbaum. At the time, I handled editorial, and he handled business matters. I remember learning to measure the cost of acquiring customers, and the value of those customers. I think at the time one customer was worth somewhere around $10.37. The next time I attended a DailyCandy event, I looked around the room and imagined a price tag on every girl’s head reading ‘$10.37’. Understanding the economics of the DailyCandy business gave me a much broader and deeper sense for what we were doing, and that ultimately paid off far beyond my wildest expectations.”
Other founder interviews include: Tommy Hilfiger (founder of Tommy Hilfiger Corporation), Liz Lange (founder of Liz Lange, her eponymous line of fashionable maternity clothing), and Frances Cole Jones (founder of Cole Media Management, a consultancy that prepares clients for television and print interviews, IPO road shows, and investor pitches).
Meet the Author: David Ronick
David helped launch UpStart Bootcamp to combine his two passions: Building startups and advising founders. His previous ventures include BoxTop Media, an out-of-home advertising network, and BranchOut, an early social network. David has coached over 60 entrepreneurs, including Mark Gordon (producer), Moby (recording artist), Pat McGrath (makeup artist), and Tiki Barber (athlete, journalist). He has also advised dozens of brands on new initiatives, including Pampers, BlackBerry, and Rolling Stone Magazine.
© UpStart Bootcamp 2013