How to shine at bplan competitions

Okay, so there is good news. If you have an idea so good that it burns, bplan competitions are way to go. Yes, the money is not so much but it sure is a confidence boosting mechanism. Now, there are a couple of thumb rules you need to adopt before you stand on the podium and hope to sweep the panel off their feet.

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Thumb rule 1: Keep it simple

Beauty, more often than not, is simple (yes, Iron-man suit is an exception). Beautiful things are easy to grasp, read, understand or experience. If your deck has a bright red background and dark blue text, it is simply repelling. No, it’s torture. Make a 10 point presentation; allow only one person to present and keep the text to minimum so that the attention is on you. Now, you have made a good first impression.

Tell-tell sign: If a jury member checks his phone while you are presenting, you are out. They have low attention span and are looking for something different. Give them a shock and less time to absorb.

Thumb rule 2: Team, team and TEAM

The panel does not judge just the idea. They need to estimate the capability of the team to implement it. They won’t magically make out that your Clark Kent is indeed Superman. Tell them. Don’t boast though, just make your credibility obvious and leave it at that.

Crack this: If you are a team of two undergrads showing that you are building the next big thing, they already think you are day-dreaming. Crack this by putting in names of mentors with more experience in the respective industry than your life-span. That might bring situation to hospitably equitable levels.

Thumb rule 3: Numbers

Never go into too much detail of cash inflow, projections or target-market. They don’t want to know how much you would spend on buying stationary or what is your NPV. Focus should be the novelty of your idea and your capability to implement it. Slides with numbers should be backed by a logical deduction which should be put forward only if asked. And they will ask you.

Stay clear of this: “Market size is one billion $ fashion industry in India, if we capture 1% of the market, we are millionaires”

Thumb rule 4: Don’t tell everything

You should portray your weaknesses. If you think you don’t have them, you are yet to identify them. Once you identify, project it. Tell them. They often find it hard to believe a rosy picture. Show them some practical issues.

Thought process: Your idea addresses a huge problem. You can solve it. You have implemented for a segment and have user metrics. Your financials look perfect. This is just not possible. They, as jury want to pick out a flaw. Give them that window. This is an opportunity to floor them.

That is it for now. There are many more rules and variants. It would be great if you could post some under the comments section.

About the guest author

Yash Shah is co-founder of Ahmedabad-based Gridle, a visual cloud-based collaboration platform for small and medium businesses. Prior to starting Gridle, Shah founded blogging platform Blogtard. As a student, before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, Shah’s hobby was to participate in business plan contests whenever he got the opportunity. He’s participated in 13 contests till date and has stood in top 3 in 9 of them. He has also published 1 paper on gesture interfacing devices and filed 1 patent on Front Adaptive Lighting System.

Picture courtesy: www.socialearth.org