Since I have been sitting in on quite a few start-up pitches as well as continuously being pitched myself by all kind of ventures, I was thinking if it is not on time to change the current format for business plans. Let's face it most VC's don't even read them, not even the executive summary for that matter. Power point is more and more taking over although we are all sick and tired of them too - especially if they have more than five slides.
Since most businesses are like a developing story - wouldn't it be easier to use the storyboard as an example of visualizing you business plan? We all love stories, wether they are fiction or not , on TV or not, true or false. As a matter of fact, most good businesses have a good story to tell. Why not try to tell that story as you see it develop over time on a storyboard?
Using the storyboard as a format for describing a business forces you to reduce the crucial steps into single frames and let go of those long never ending paragraphs that nobody reads anyway. I personally use a lot of visual tools in my day to day businesses. My favorite so far is Mind Mapping wether on paper or as for the past four years, a software called MindManager. As a matter of fact, I went through all my University studies using mind maps, which some of them I still have left.
I think that story-boarding is very close to mind mapping, but helps you perhaps better to tell or develop a story. Going forward, I will start using storyboards for some ideas I am developing in parallel with mind mapping.
What then are my favorite tools? Well, except for paper and pen:
- Pages - comes with Mac's iLife (use the creative templates )
- MacJournal - not a visualization tool, but fantastic for note taking - especially the full-screen author with enable me to write with green letters against a totally black background - putting all the distractions behind.
Finally there is Montage, which is a very interesting screenwriting software aimed at pro's - but an interesting option if you really would like to tell your story in a screenwriting format. What are your favorite tools?