Effectively Presenting Your Business

By: Rich Kramarik

Last month we discussed the structure and content of a good business presentation, but no matter how well you have put your thoughts together, you still have to deliver your presentation in a convincing way. As you present your business story, your audience is paying attention to you as the person in which they need to have confidence to lead and manage the business. So, you not only have to convince your audience that you have an exciting business, but that you are the right person to be running it. Simply put, if your presentation is dull, your audience will think you are dull.

 Size Up Your Audience

 It is well worth your time to do some research on your audience. You should get a basic understanding of:

  • The business they are in
  • The role they play in their company
  • Why they want to meet with you

 If your audience is financiers, you need to understand:

  • Their investment strategy and criteria
  • Industry interest
  • Technology interest
  • Current portfolio
  • Size and status of their fund
  • Typical investment size

 Know What Your Audience Is Looking For

 There are lots of different things that they may want to see. It’s important to know ahead of time what their hot buttons are. Some typical ones are:

  • Impressive management team
  • An easy business to understand
  • Well understood and growing market
  • Clear knowledge of the buyer
  • Competitive differentiation
  • Solid value proposition
  • Achievable revenue model
  • High barrier to entry
  • Thoughtful go-to-market plan
  • Attractive financial results

 All audiences are not the same. Customize your presentation to the needs of your audience. You need to cover all the basic material, but emphasis should be placed on the areas of most interest to your audience.

 Organize your main points

 You have some very important points to make that illustrate all the attractive features of your business. Summarize these points for every slide or paragraph you have in your presentation. Be able to verbalize, in a single sentence, each of these summary points. The order of these points and your summary sentences actually embody the outline of the messages you are going to give in your presentation, and will serve as your roadmap for the entire presentation. When you have completed your presentation, it is truly awful to have to admit that you forgot to make an important point. You will have weakened the effectiveness of your presentation accordingly.

 Practice, Practice, Practice

 Don’t leave anything to chance. Practice your presentation. Practice it by yourself and practice it with an audience of critical advisors. Yes, you know all about your business, but you need to hone the effectiveness of the way you deliver your main points. Your practice should focus on the following: 

  • Follow your roadmap – Commit to memory the organization of your main points and the order they are to be given. With this firmly in your mind, you will not get lost while giving your presentation when your audience asks questions or takes you off track.
  • Be concise – You need to net out the main points that bring your business story to life. Avoid taking your audience into the weeds of details that your audience will view as not necessary. Your story should skim across the surface of all the most important aspects of your business that your audience needs to know. Spending too much time in the deep details can lose the interest and excitement of your audience.
  • Use results-oriented language – Assume your audience believes you, and that you don’t have to defend, hedge and qualify every point you make. Don’t beat around the bush explaining how you got to your conclusions. Simply make the point in an assertive way, as if it where a matter of fact, and move on to the next point. If the audience wants to know more background, they will ask you for it.
  • Listen to yourself – Record or videotape yourself so that you can see how effective you really are. This might surprise you, but it is a great way to get focused on your good and bad habits.

 Use time effectively 

Some presentations have a time limit. If you don’t know what the limit is, find out. Practice your presentation within the time limit by allocating slots of time to each of the main points you need to make. If you had to give your presentation in two minutes, like an elevator pitch, you would simply say all your main points in a few sentences. If you have thirty minutes, you can spend more time on each point, further bringing each to life. Either way, your main points are the same and in the same sequence. Leave half of your allotted time for questions, and show respect by finishing on time.

 Be Positive

 Be honestly positive about your company and its outlook. Express your points from the optimistic side. After all, this is a sales presentation. Don’t hedge your points with endless qualifiers and nuances that are manageable. But, don’t lie. If you come across as too cautious, your audience will think you have a low tolerance for risk and are already looking for excuses for failure.

 Show Your Enthusiasm

 Be professionally enthusiastic, without disparaging anyone or any company. You are presenting an exciting business, so show that you are really excited about it. I don’t mean act like a clown or a stand-up comic. Be sincerely assertive about each point you are making. Let your audience know that you truly believe in your business and that have a plan for success. Let your energy and drive for success show.

 Let Your Body Speak

 Look your audience in the eye, with a sincere smile on your face, and project your confidence and excitement. Don’t stand stiffly at attention while reading your presentation with your hands in your pockets and speaking in a monotone. Don’t read your presentation. Commit it to memory so that your delivery sounds like your story is part of you. Let your tone of voice emphasize your main points. Let your hands project the dimensions of all your points. Be animated by moving around and focusing yourself on each member of the audience through acknowledgement and eye contact. Dress appropriately for your audience.

 Use Professional Looking Slides

 Most business presentations can be done in 10-12 PowerPoint slides:

  • Use consistent font, color, background, indentation, spacing, bolding and underlining.

  • Use brief bullet points, two to five words each and only a few points per slide. Being too wordy deflects your audience’s attention to the slides and off of you.

  • A picture, graph or table is always best to depict technology, process, financials, business data and models. It also helps to bring your points to life by drawing a picture in the minds of your audience.

  • Slides like these will take a minimum of three minutes each to cover, so ten slides means you need 30 minutes to talk and ten to fifteen minutes for questions.

 Be Responsive

 Answer questions directly, being concise, taking no longer than 30 seconds for each answer. Take the time beforehand to anticipate your audience’s questions. Practice your answers just as you did your presentation.

 Summary

 Being totally ready to give your presentation is just as important as having the right content in your presentation. You can have the best story to tell, but still fail if you cannot deliver it in a convincing way. Put in the effort to prepare yourself to have your audience say, “Wow, I want to know more!”

 

  

Frequently Asked Business Questions

By: Rich Kramarik

You are not finished with your audience after your presentation. They will have questions. They will test you on how well you have your fingers on the essential elements of your business. Here is a categorized list of possible questions you should be able to answer. Pick the ones that apply to your business and make sure you know the answer before you meet your audience.

 Market, Buyer and Competition

  • Is this an existing market, or are you making a market?

  • Who is the buyer of your product/service?

  • What need are you filling?

  • How is the buyer dealing with the need now?

  • Does your product/service fit into the buyer’s business priorities?

  • How are customers buying decisions made and who decides?

  • Will customers enter long-term purchase commitments?

  • Who are the important competitors and how will you beat them?

  • Are there any regulatory or certification issues?

  • What is your source of market data?

 Marketing and Sales

  •  What is your value proposition?

  • What is the buyer’s return on investment?

  • What is your plan to reach the buyer?

  • What is your sales model?

  • How long is the sales cycle?

  • Who is selling your product/service?

  • Who is your first buyer, and why did or will they buy?

  • Do you have any customers and who are they?

  • Have customers paid your asking price?

  • What sales have you lost, and why?

  • Have you identified potential customers, and what are the top five?

  • What business will close next?

  • What alliances are going to be needed?

 Management

  • What is the founders’ level of involvement/time commitment?

  • Who will be the CEO?

  • What role will the founders have in the company?

  • What relevant industry and management experience do you have?

  • What successes have the management team had?

  • What other positions need to be filled now, and who will fill them?

  • Does management have any prior entrepreneurial experience? 

  • Has the management team worked together previously?

 Technology

  •  Do you own your intellectual property (IP)?

  • What is the status of IP protection?

  • What is the barrier to entry?

  • What is unique about your product/service?

  • Is your product ready for sales?

  • If not, what will it take to get the product ready for sales?

  • What is the status of product development and proof of concept?

 Financial

  • What is the revenue model for the company?

  • What is the pricing scheme for your product/service?

  • What revenue have you already generated?

  • When will you be cash flow positive?

  • What is your breakeven point?

  • When do you first become profitable?

  • What is your approximate burn rate?

  • When are A/R created and what is the expected time to collect?

  • What capital expenditures are required?

 Investment

  • How much are you raising?

  • What is the form of investment?

  • What percentage of the company are you selling?

  • What is the use of funds?

  • What is the pre-money value of the company?

  • How did you arrive at the pre-money value of the company?

  • How much founder cash is invested in the business?

  • What is the current ownership structure of the company?

  • What is your outlook for an exit strategy?

 

Brought to you by:                                                         [BACK]

            Bob De Contreras                                                  
            Rich Kramarik                                                     

 


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