Overhead: "We completed this extensive business plan for our startup 3 months ago. Check! It is a lot of work, but hey potential investors want it, so we churned it out."

Here is what investors really want:
  1. A good visual presentation that helps them understand your business quickly 
  2. A company that knows what it is doing, has a clear plan going forward
  3. More detailed data/information after 1. has been digested
None of these require a long, text-loaded document. Text is the worst way to deliver 1., the exciting investor presentation. And text is not the best vehicle to deliver 2. and 3.

There is a reason why management consulting reports are written in PowerPoint, in a style that is somewhere in between the Steve-Job-style-keynote and the densely written marketing text book.
  • Business issues/strategy can best be communicated/discussed using a visual language: it is about data, relationships, positioning, pros and cons, time lines. Diagrams (even poorly designed ones) do a much better job than a dense paragraph of text
  • Things change all the time, and text is hard to change. Swapping the flow of a story, adding a piece of information, updating the market shares. "We did this business plan in September, but it is already out of date (December)." A document in PowerPoint is easy to change and update.
  • PowerPoint document can be navigated quickly. It is easy to browse through sections, zoom in, zoom out.
  • It is very hard/time-consuming to get the exact wording of something right, especially to agree something among a group of people with different styles. In PowerPoint you cut words, leaving less room for lengthy editorial discussions
  • Most business documents are written in English, most people who write them are not native in this language. For a non-native speaker, it is hard to write a good proper long-hand text in 100% good English (native-speakers probably have spotted this in this blog). Most people can reach 80% correct English, and in PowerPoint you get away with it.
In short, save yourself the time of writing that verbose business plan.

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to daily updates about presentation design via email? Just blog posts, no spam, or you can follow Jan on Twitter to never miss a thing.