I read business plans or pitch decks with a few filters in mind.

First – Does it come from someone I trust in my network or is it coming to me from a source who has a great filter? Someone who has already done work to determine this may be worth pursuing?

Second – Is there a strong title, subject or tag line? Why this matters – this hopefully gives me the perspective to keep reading or, at least, generates interest that’ll keep me reading.

Third – Design, as in presentation. Is this simply a black and white presentation from a template? Or is it beautifully designed with powerful and relevant graphics, charts and images? Or – even better – is it something unique that far surpasses any expectations?

Before you send me (or a VC, a potential angel investor or a strategic partner) your presentation, think about not only those three filters, but also what those filters imply:

  1. You know your network and you’ve got the confidence to use it. Did you utilize and optimize your network intelligently to connect and to open doors ?
  2. You created something exciting. Did you craft a title, subject line, or tag line that grabs someone else’s attention?
  3. You designed the presentation intentionally. What design choices did you make? How did you design it to stand out and deliver a powerful message?

The goal here is to get noticed – in a smart, well-intended, decisive way. Be a real plan in a stack of paper.