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Financials for an Elevator Pitch

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Financials for an Elevator Pitch

You are writing fiction—we know that!

Your job is to convince investors that this fiction deserves a Pulitzer prize!

Your job is to convince an investor that these are reasonable and achievable numbers

But they are still fiction!

Writing a business plan will sharply refine these numbers

What you are providing for now is a “back of the napkin” sketch of numbers

The more refined they are, the better. But if you can convince investors that these are reasonable, you’ll be fine.

Firm valuation

Projected Sales

Projected Gross Profit Margins

Projected Net Profit Margins

Projected RoA

Cash Flow positive (in time)

Let’s consider each

When you ask for an investment, you ask for a dollar amount in return for a percent of the equity

Example: We ask for $25k for a 25% equity stake

If we divide $25k by 25% we get a firm value of $100k

“We are asking for $25k for a 25% investment, to build inventory. This values the firm at $100k

Figure out the size of your target market, and how much it should grow in three years

Identify market share for the top 4 firms in your target market

Compare yourself on four attributes to those four firms

Peg yourself at 70% of the nearest competitor

So you might get 70% of their market size in 3-5 years

Figure it takes you 3-5 years to ramp up to that 70% mark

25% year one 45-50% year two, 70% year three

Suppose you find that your target market grows 10%, and is currently $1 million

Should be 1.21 million in year three

You compare yourself to four top competitors, and find yourself equal to one with a 20% market share

You are then looking at 14% (20% x 70%) of the year three market, or $169.4k

Year one: $50,000 (20% of 20% of $1 million)

Year two: $ 99,000 (45% of 20% of 1.1 million)

Year three: $169,400 (70% of 20% of 1.21 Million)

So, your year 3 sales ought to be about $170k (notice I rounded up a bit)

In the elevator pitch you don’t tell them how you arrived at the numbers, you tell them what you estimate sales and market share to be

“We anticipate year three sales to be $170k, about a 14% market share”

Gross Profit margins are (sales-COGS)/sales

Net Profit Margins are Net Income/Sales

Report both as pct of sales

You estimate sales at $170k

Maybe your COGS is $85k

Your Gross Profit margin is $85k, or 50%

Suppose all other costs equal $68k

Your net income is $17k (85-68=17)

Your Net profit Margin is $17k or 10%

“We anticipate year three sales to be $170k, about a 14% market share”. That generates 50% Gross margins. Net margins would be about 10%”

(Unless net margins are significantly higher than industry average, you’re probably safe not stating them in an elevator pitch)

An asset is something of value within your business.

Question: how did you acquire it?

Pay cash, swapped another asset, borrowed money

Each time you add an asset, you account for how you acquired it, by increasing debt, equity, or both.

Return on Assets is Net Income/Total Assets

Re-write as Net Income/(Liabilities+Equity)

Return on Equity is Net Income/Shareholder Equity

Re-write as Net Income/(Equity)

One way to consider RoA is to think of it in terms of “multiples” for the investor

Suppose:

Investor pledges $10,000, for 25% of profits

In year five, you predict the firm will sell for $100k

Investor gets 25%, or $25k

Investors ROA is 2.5X ($25k/$10k)

Investors do this mental math anyway, so provide it for them

It’s also very quick, saving time

“Given our profit margins investors should earn a 2.5x return by year five”

You forecast a net income of $17k: Similar firms sell for about 20 times net income (PE ratio is 20).

The investor invested $25k in return for 25% of the firm’s sale price

25% of $340k ≈ $85k

$85k/$25k ≈ 3.4X

No easy rule here: here are rules of thumb

Ought to be between 1-3 years

How much inventory do you plan to have?

Compare to firms in an industry

Look up inventory turn ratio for competitors

How many turns does it take for your Gross Profit Margin to exceed inventory value?

Add to one year

Suppose your average inventory is $20k

Suppose inventory Turns is 6 (every two months)

Suppose Gross Profit margins are 50%

It takes two turns to pay for inventory out of Gross Profit Margins (4 months)

Cash Flow positive in 16 months

“We anticipate year three sales to be $170k, about a 14% market share”. That generates 50% Gross margins. We should be cash-flow positive in 16 Months.”

“We anticipate year three sales to be $170k, about a 14% market share. That generates 50% Gross margin, and we should be cash flow positive in 16 months. This provides investors a 3.5X Return.”

Here is your returns to investors portion of the elevator pitch

The judges are not dumb—they do the math in their heads—stating it as such makes it easier on them and you.