Effectively Presenting Your Business
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.
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
Why they want to meet with
If your audience is financiers,
you need to understand:
Their investment strategy
Size and status of their
Typical investment size
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
Well understood and growing
Clear knowledge of the buyer
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.
your main points
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
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.
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
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
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 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.
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.
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.
Professional Looking Slides
Most business presentations can
be done in 10-12 PowerPoint slides:
consistent font, color, background, indentation, spacing, bolding and
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Buyer and Competition
Is this an existing market,
or are you making a market?
Who is the buyer of your
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?
customers buying decisions made and who
Will customers enter
long-term purchase commitments?
Who are the important
competitors and how will you beat them?
Are there any regulatory or
What is your source of
is your value proposition?
What is the buyer’s return
What is your plan to reach
What is your sales model?
How long is the sales cycle?
Who is selling your
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
What sales have you lost,
Have you identified
potential customers, and what are the top five?
What business will close
What alliances are going to
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?
Do you own your
intellectual property (IP)?
What is the status of IP
What is the barrier to
What is unique about your
Is your product ready for
If not, what will it take to
get the product ready for sales?
What is the status of
product development and proof of concept?
What is the revenue model
for the company?
What is the pricing scheme
for your product/service?
What revenue have you
When will you be cash flow
What is your breakeven
When do you first become
What is your approximate
When are A/R created and
what is the expected time to collect?
What capital expenditures
How much are you raising?
What is the form of
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
Brought to you by:
Bob De Contreras
RTBA | Cary | Greensboro | Raleigh | Research Triangle Park | North Caroliina
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