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This is the (growing) list of questions that get asked at the final board meeting in the business plan competition. Comments are encouraged on how/where you researched the answers and your experiences.
What is the difference between Adwords and Adsense? Which one makes money for you?
why are you focusing on that target market?
how do you make money?
is the backend technology proprietary?
what are your revenue streams?
how many unique visitors did you have?
have you thought of approaching existing sites/competitors to partner?
what is your adwords click through rate? how does it compare to your industry average? what is your industry average?
what incentive programs are you plannning? where is that line item on the financials?
what makes up your gross profit line?
how many people/customers did you talk to?
what do you need the investment funds for?
what will our ROI be on the investment?
what will our ROI be if we only give you 1/2 the money?
what will our ROI be if we give you 2x as much?
what is your market share in year 5?
What comps have you looked at to establish your valuation?
Have you thought of approaching the existing sites to partner?
What are you looking for?
What do you need 1.3M for?
Is there a business reason to focus on [target market]?
What data do you have to support people will pay for these services?
How much do you need to get started?
If you’re only able to raise half that to get started can you go?
Debrief from the board
Tom – all of you did good to great jobs of explaining what you do, set the hook, but we’re not in your target demographics as customers, we’re not your customers. Talk to us as investors. None of you got efficiently to the point about why this is a good business investment. Put yourself in our shoes. Problem is, are these good businesses, how are we going to make money and get our money back. Common flaw is not crisply getting to your business model. Have you thought about more advertising type questions. Why is this a good idea for investors. Why this is a good business, why make money.
Steve - Know your audience and tailor it to where they can take action
Mary Ellen - Crisp - written. Speaking as a narrative instead of bullet points, try to balance both depending on the type of question.
Matt – more time on areas up front. Focus on market, revenue models, business models, what investors are here.
Bruce – spent too much time on problem instead of how to attack the market
Matt – having the numbers nailed down. Numbers matter the most. Competitive analysis.
Dave – all aggressive business plans. Large margins in year 5. Justify why the margins grow, what the costs are.
Steve – positive comment, enthusiastic. Not reading was great. Proud of presentation. Terrific going forward.
Bruce – articulated very well. Good eye contact. I don’t see that with a lot of professional entrepreneurs.
Mary Ellen – outstanding job not showing nerves. Great interplay. Best we’ve seen.
Matt – purposefully tried to interrupt you. You took control and brought it back.
Tom – Figure out there are only 1-2 issues people get concerned about. Come back and focus on those issues. Is it a real problem, are your target customers going to see it as a solution. Maybe they do, I don’t know (lack of facts in hook slide). Teach me right at the outset that the problem is real and the market believes the solution.
Matt – show the potential cpm’s/discuss the revenue
Tom – you figured out already is how to get feedback online. No investment yet. You can fix it quick. No matter what you put down as the plan. People who succeed learn quick and change quick. We’re trying this out, lots of data coming in, tell us what you’re learning from your market.
Tom - You have a much better story than you told. Didn’t tie in the point. Is this a credible idea? Blew that. Get quickly into the person on the team who has this problem, and why the problem still exists today. Your critical question is, is this still a real problem. The only question is competition. Nice data, personal experience, right up front, not only 8yrs ago, but still a problem. Your data teaches you that people aren’t using it. spend more time, get it up online.
Bruce – you did the best job explaining the technology, showing different paths. Interactions
Dave – more demographics, target market description. Where first to build the business.
Aaron – you have fear in your favor. need rising data to support that claim?
Bruce – subscription models are more difficult to drive. Must understand the consumer better. Lot more data.
Tom – great way to make a lot of money through advertising.
Matt – signup for e-newsletter in order to collect demographic data. Talk to lower tier ad network, run banners in the next 3 days.
Bruce – great mention of exit strategy
Tom – great setup of problem, said it too many times. Intuitive problem statement. Now tell me so what. About 20 minutes of 30, why this is a great idea, then ran out of time. Very detailed sensitivity in financials not get to. Undersold management experience. Here’s why you need to listen to me. You have a huge database of information about how to solve the problem.
Dave – how it actually works. I work in mobile industry. I know what it takes. Why would they provide that text message capability.
Matt – text message fees, where are they in the financial model?
Tom – you’re talking about two very different businesses. Hard to start 2 things at once. Pick one. Why can’t you start doing it now. Get it up on myspace and start learning. Doesn’t have to be perfect to start. Build it out as you go.
Matt – actually WOM can be a very expensive approach.
Tom – not only understand audience, but purpose. This meeting is not designed to tell us the whole story. It’s to get us interested to learn more. setup the next meeting and next meeting. You don’t to tell us the whole story. Interesting enough.
Bruce – speak in bullet points.
Mary Ellen – don’t speak to the screen/monitor.
Tom - all would get a second meeting
Bruce - Milestones for financials needed. What could be next.