Making up some numbers

In many cases it is hard to give a real example of the cost savings someone can achieve with your product or service. Data is not public, or in case of a startup, you might not have that many customers yet. “Making up some numbers” does not sound like an ethical alternative, but it is a good strategy if you stick to some simple guidelines.

  • Explicitly say that it is a hypothetical example
  • Create a highly realistic artificial customer (1 owner, 3 trucks, 1 warehouse, $x million in annual revenues, etc.)
  • And most importantly: explain how you get to your cost savings. If possible break them down into a few simple categories, and use a highly simple and transparent way to quantify them (10 instead of 35 phone calls of 30 minutes each per week equals $x)
  • Make the spreadsheet as complicated as you want, but start with a blank PowerPoint/Keynote page to explain your calculation. 
  • Add everything up and see whether the cost reductions make sense as a % of the total
The main purpose of the case example is to explain how you got to the savings, not the absolute point estimate.