3 of 10
BACKNEXT
Time is money
"With a startup, everything happens too quickly and changes too often to fit in a 45-page business plan," says MyPunchbowl CEO Matt Douglas. (For more of his startup story, click here.)

Instead, Douglas and Conta used three separate documents to pitch VCs. A one-page document detailed the event-planning site they envisioned. An Excel spreadsheet listed costs and projected revenue streams. Finally, a PowerPoint deck explained the entrepreneurs' five-year vision and listed existing tools like save-the-date reminders and customizable e-vites, as well as plans to add a vendor search function that could find, for example, "all the mariachi bands in Phoenix."

As the VCs dug into MyPunchbowl's business model during their due diligence, Douglas added a fourth, equally brief competitive analysis document explaining that MyPunchbowl would stand out from the slew of event-planning Web sites by adding unique party-planning tools such as a pick-the-date algorithm that recommends the best date for a particular event.

NEXT: Show you're worth it

LAST UPDATE: Apr 21 2009 | 10:57 AM ET
Sponsored by
Full story: The venture game Even in tough times, money is available for startups with vision and a foolproof plan. More
Startup showdown Dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs will vie for a share of $800,000 in seed money at this month's Rice Business Plan Competition. Meet the competitors. More
7 business plan superstars After winning competitions with their business plans, these 7 ventures turned their paper visions into thriving companies. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.