Many entrepreneurs are holding on to their business plans as if they were some holy book and seem to believe that an investor needs to study every passage before making a decision.
Yes, we do look at those business plans–if they exist. But just imagine how an investor works. There are several business ideas coming in each day. No matter what each individual investor is looking for, the key is conciseness and brevity. But a lot of entrepreneurs seem to forget this when it comes to Word. Switching to PowerPoint for a first contact, you will capture more attention.
I personally prefer a pitch book style PowerPoint for a first glimpse. I understand that there will be people sending in 200 slide decks with 7 pt fonts. But simply the fact that PowerPoint calls for organizing your layout, forcing you to think about what to present on one slide, and what that actually means usually helps me getting to the important pieces more quickly: does the entrepreneur understand what I am looking for in a 10 slide deck? Does he make the right inferences from the data he presents?
PowerPoint tends to keep you from drifting by giving you limited space to focus on the most important aspects–both for the people who “write” them as well as those who read them.
The best thing about PowerPoint though is that you can impress people with the professional looks of it. It is far more likely that whoever goes through your slides will be more positively affected if the data was presented in a more professional way. Furthermore, you can also use the space to use screen shots, pictures or links to videos of your product
I am still convinced that a business plan is an important document you should have. However, for a first shot, just send me your deck of slides.