— scheduled to be legal by late 2015 —
You pick up a paperback, glance at the title and the cover, and then what? You'll probably flip it over and start reading the back, perusing through the summary and reviews to get a gist of what this story is all about before you even think of taking out your wallet.
The Basics of your business profile is the back of that book.
This is where you need to convince investors your story is one worth exploring. Keep flipping through those pages—or in this case, keep scrolling!
But that's easier said than done, so let's take it step by step.
Describe your business in 4-10 words. Investors should understand what you are and what you're doing. Also, (we're guilty of this) avoid using trite comparisons such as "Uber for plants" or "Uber for calendars." Trust us, you’re not the first one to think of it and investors get tired of listening to the same pitch repeatedly.
Example: Emberlight, Turn any light into a smart light.
Example: Checkr, Automated background screenings and driving records.
In a paragraph, explain what your business does in simple, straightforward language and eliminate buzzwords such as "revolutionize" and "disrupt." Be specific about the problem you’re solving and how you’re solving it.
Test your writing by reading it out loud. Make sure you’re using language you’d actually use in a conversation.
Example: Lawn Love is a network of the best lawn care companies combined under one consumer facing brand. Our platform gives customers instant, accurate quotes online without an on-site visit, and routing efficiencies help companies make more money while customers pay the same. Payment and scheduling are automated, and customers can manage everything from their phones.
Example: Freight Farms manufactures fully-operational hydroponic farms from upcycled freight containers. Using advanced growing technologies and human-centered design principles, we provide individuals of all skill levels with the infrastructure to immediately begin producing a high-volume of locally grown food.
This is 1 to 2 paragraphs digging into the "so what" of your business. You're answering three main questions for investors: why is it a big deal, why should I care, and what is your vision?
Also take this chance to lay the groundwork of the industry you’re in—investors coming onto this page might know nothing about it.
Example: Chronos, Watch companies know they need to make their products smart, but lack the expertise to do so. The largest US watch manufacturers are already exploring partnerships with Chronos in advance of their big launch this coming spring. By leveraging the design expertise and distribution of major watch brands, Chronos has a chance to power more wearables than any other consumer brand in the market.
Top rated on Yelp? Kept 95% of customers over the last year? Built the world's smallest violin? Excite investors with your businesses' proudest numbers and most revealing accomplishments. Investors want to know how fast you’re growing and how you’re dominating the market.
Remember these are essentially bullet points. Keep them punchy.
Example: Valet Anywhere
Websites are crucial. Don't have one? Get Squarespace or Weebly and start showing off your business to the world wide web.
Social media accounts are also powerful ways to illustrate your business' personality, values, and customer relations. Remember: investors aren't just investing in your business, they're investing in you. They want to know as much about you as they can and genuine social media posts go a long way in showcasing who you are.
Got a pitch deck or a business plan? Attach longer documents for investors who want more details about your pitch. A solid pitch deck that hits the right points with the right visuals is much more effective (and fun) than a business plan.
Clearly explaining the problem you're solving and how you're solving it is tough. We recommend going over your Basics several times, continuously pruning
all the unnecessary words. Afterall, for “What We Do” and “Our Ambition” you have a limit of 500 characters.
Investors are busy. If you can't capture their attention with compelling information in a short period of time, they'll just move to the next company vying for a chunk of their wallet.
When you think you're done with the Basics, ask yourself: if I were an investor, would I keep reading?
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