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The Big Three: Business Plan v. Pitch Deck v. Elevator Pitch

What’s the difference? Do you need all three? No one told me there would be written work!


A business plan is a thorough examination of the business concept. Here are some topics in a plan:
– market research
– determining your unique selling point
– production planning
– pricing
– branding & marketing
– start-up costs
– revenue & expense projections

Do you need a plan? Absolutely. Why would you start a business without considering these things?

“But I have answers to these questions,” you say. “I just don’t have them written down.” If you really have all the answers, it will be easy to create your business plan.

The WV Women’s Business Center can provide you with templates you can use to get them into the right format.

If you haven’t considered some of these issues, why not? You should investigate your industry and your market. You must look at your competition, and you should be able to define what makes your product or service different or valuable. As Jeff Haden says at, “Your business plan should convince you that your idea makes sense–because your time, your money, and your effort are on the line.”

What if you’re not a great writer? Get your plan drafted anyway! Then find someone to clean up your grammar and spelling. Or use free writing tools on the internet to check your work.


A pitch deck is what you use when you need to pitch your idea. It’s a short set of slides to summarize the key points in your business plan. These are useful for funding pitches, contests, or anytime you want to present the business idea visually.

You might think of your pitch deck as a set of talking points. Can you summarize your business idea? Can you make someone else get excited about your idea? A good pitch deck will do that.

Can you briefly explain the market, the opportunity, the product idea, and the revenue projections? A good pitch deck will do that.

You can read more about how to make yours effective in this breakdown of a famous pitch deck: Lots of free templates exist to make your slide deck; try,, or Google slides.


Imagine you find yourself on an elevator with a lender or a venture capitalist (or an investor from Shark Tank). You might want to have an elevator pitch ready, and it’s got to be short, because they may be getting off at the next floor. You’ve only got a few seconds to tell them about your fantastic idea!

An elevator pitch is a very short description of your business that captures the essence in a memorable way. Think of an elevator pitch for Starbucks: Gourmet coffee drinks for the masses?

You can read about how to craft a perfect, compelling elevator pitch here:

Are you ready to get started? You don’t have to do it all alone. The WV Women’s Business Center can help you refine your ideas and provide you with more resources to get through this crucial planning stage. Sign up today, at



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