Tips for The CIT Prize for Innovation Overview Business Plan Pitching Business Planning Quality not Quantity Don’t Cut and Paste Format clearly Do proper Market Research Explore new business models Make sure ALL the team have worked on the project Complete Realistic Financials (take care of sales numbers) Very Few Business’s make a profit straight away Typical Content of a Business Plan Table of Contents Marketing Plan Contact Details Sales Plan Company Information Operation of Business Executive Summary Expenditure and Related Financing Promoters and Team Manpower Plan Product and Service Details Financial Projections and Summaries Market Appendices Attributes of a Successful Opportunity Niche Growth IP Specific Market and Technical Knowledge Required Management and Planning Skills Customers Easily Identified Research and Development Required People Cash-Flow Exit Strategy Defined How Innovative is your Proposal? What is the ‘problem’ that you see with the current product/service offering in the marketplace? What is your ‘solution’ to this ‘problem’? What is the ‘underlying magic’ to your solution? How do you intend to commercialise your solution and ‘underlying magic’? Tips for your Marketing Plan Base your plan on the most accurate and most current information available. Document your information. Your claims about market growth or competitor response should be supported by realistic and verifiable information. Who are your competitors? Why will you be ‘better’ than your competitors? Are you focused on customers and customers’ needs? Can you provide testimonials? Tips for Doing Research ‘Tailor’ your research efforts and activities to your needs. Don't be overwhelmed by all the information out there—stay focused on finding the information you need for your business venture. Provide the info on the markets you will be serving first Document your sources. Good record keeping at the research stage will pay off in the short and long term. Remember that the world changes. Document both Primary & Secondary Research Primary is ‘better’ than secondary. ‘Quality’ is ‘better’ than ‘Quantity’! Tips for Your Financial Plan A business has to have a healthy cash flow to survive, and has to have the long-term potential for profitability—otherwise, why do it? Do you have a clearly defined ‘Business Model’? How will you make money from commercialising this innovative proposal? Pay close attention to cash planning. Although most people think of profits first, cash flow can be more important for a start-up venture. Do the majority of the ‘number crunching’ yourself. Even if you are not a numbers person and have expert advice, get in there and do the work of building a cash flow statement. Don't plan on overburdening the business with too much debt. Debt can seem attractive— ready cash!—but too much debt can weigh down a company's ability to grow. Provide Projected Financial Statements – monthly Year 1 and quarterly for Years 2 & 3. Summary Business Planning is a process as well as a written document. Not all business plans follow the same ‘structure’. The ‘Test’ of a Business Plan - does the Business Plan adequately address all of the issues for the purpose for which it was prepared? Reviewed a ‘sample Plan’. Write the plan in the ‘3rd Person’. Don’t go ‘overboard’ with costly presentation - The person reading your plan may ask for a word or PDF document to be transmitted electronically. Business Planning problems can be minimised through active engagement in the process. The financial plan is a critical section of your business plan because it translates all the other parts of the business (the opportunity, the operating plan, the marketing plan, the management team) into anticipated financial results. Cash is King! Pitching Present your idea in a clear manner such that it is easily understood Provide a Prototype or Drawing of your idea and allow the panel to see it Agree who is to present: Allow the different experts to present but make sure it does not become disjointed Decide before hand who will answer what questions. Look like you have worked together as a team Avoid complex presentations which need a web click in or a movie to run in it (End with these so that the panel can see them at their leisure) Dress for the occasion, but don’t look like you borrowed the Dad’s suit If you don’t have an answer don’t bluff If you have a large team make sure everyone has a role in the presentation Stick to the time given, you will not be allowed to continue if you run out of time Choose your first slide carefully: this will grab their attention or put them to sleep Application Process Expression of Interest Business Plan Short-list announced Interview – Q&A Session • Fill out expression of interest form (EOI • http://www.cit.ie/innovation-week/cit-prize-for-innovation/ • Deadline: 15th November 2013 • Submit business plan template • Deadline: Monday 24th February 2014 , before 12.30pm • Week beginning Monday 3rd March 2014 • Upstairs in Administration Building • Thursday 13th March 2014 Innovation Day • Nexus Centre- exhibition of team stands and award ceremony. • Friday 14th March 2014 Documentation • All documentation will be available online at: http://www.cit.ie/innovation-week/cit-prizefor-innovation/ Good Luck!