Communicating your Business Clearly is Vital
Presenting the your plan to an audience is not always at the top of the “Things Entrepreneurs Love to Do” list. Yet, the ability to give an effective presentation is an important skill that can contribute to your success as an entrepreneur.
Knowing your audience and making sure to tailor the content of your presentation to the needs of your audience is key.
Know Your Audience
You may find that you need to present an oral version of your plan to selected audiences. Your plan may have more than one audience and several different reasons for its presentation. As you prepare your presentation, consider your audience and the purpose for the presentation. This step will help you to design the presentation to meet the needs of the audience.
For example, looking at the investment opportunity your business provides to a potential investor will help you communicate key message(s) important to that specific investor. In this way, your needs will be better met because the audience will gain a clearer understanding of your business and the role they could play in it. Use the Reality Check Business Plan Presentation to clarify your audience and purpose for presenting your plan.
Tips for Investor Presentation
Talking to a room full of potential investors is very different from selling a product/service to customers or presenting your business concept to peers. Features and benefits pitches used for customers do not necessarily excite investors. Descriptions of your learning process are irrelevant to them. The subject of your presentation to investors is not your product or service but their money: Who will use it, why it’s needed, how it will be spent, what return it will bring, and when.
Investors are interested in seeing the big picture at the beginning of the venture presentation. They want an engaging story about the venture’s profitability, profit margins, management team, product development, size of market, competitive climate, and market niches.
Some entrepreneurs present their investment opportunities solo, while others include their key management members. Many investors prefer to meet with and hear from the management team. Alone or in a group, you must be convincing and display leadership ability and passion. These characteristics are crucial to success in raising investor money. Remember, investors bet on the person; the product or service is secondary.
When giving your presentation to investors, leave ten minutes for questions and answers, the most important part of the presentation. This time allows you the opportunity to build a rapport with potential investors and establish the credibility of the management team. Anticipate questions and prepare responses. It is better to answer questions when they are asked than to say you will get to that later. The questioner wants an answer now, not later.
So what can you do to prepare? Take time to practice.
Beyond practicing with family and friends, consider giving your presentation to smaller investors in outlying areas as a way to hone your presentation skills and anticipate the questions investors typically ask.
Tips for a Professional Presentation
These tips can help your presentation appear more professional:
- Make sure visuals can be seen from all seats in the room
- Present only one key idea per visual
- Limit the use of colors to no more than three, (not including photographs), using only black font for words
- Use photographs instead of drawings or graphic images
- Use a consistent typeface and a 30 point or larger font size for projected words
- Regardless of the technology you use, take a handout as a backup
Use the Reality Check below to make some notes about the content for your presentation.
Presenting Your Plan
When presenting your plan, you should consider covering the following ten basic areas in an engaging way:
- Company history and background
- Concise product/service description
- Proprietary rights
- Unique features and competitive advantage
- Management team
- Market analysis
- Financial picture, cash needs, and purpose of new investments (if any)
- Growth and spin-off opportunities
- Potential risks
- Exit strategy for potential investors to capitalize on their investment (if presentation is about securing funding)
What do you want to make sure to cover from each of these areas?