If you are considering starting a business, you may have been wondering about funding your venture. Typically, funding for a new business comes from family, friends, grants, or crowdfunding opportunities. In some cases, however, the opportunity may be given to present your new business and business plan to lenders, financial institutions and investors. The presentation is usually accompanied by a pitch deck, which is an infographic or slide deck created in PowerPoint or other programs.
The opportunity to present a new business before interested parties can be effectively supported by the business plan, as it weaves together the story of the business and provides financials and operational plans to support the startup efforts. If you do not have a business plan, use this business plan template free as a guide to fully developing your business plan. Plan on taking six to eight weeks to complete the plan and include others, such as your accountant or business attorney, in the process, as well. In light of the importance of this presentation, we’ve offered our best presentation tips to secure startup funding in the following:
After developing your business plan, review it several times until you are comfortable with it. Memorize the plan in general and remember to weave specifics into the general points. If this is a struggle, work with a business plan consultant to practice and prepare for the presentation.
Prepare for the presentation by wearing professional clothing appropriate for a high-level meeting. This is not a “blue jeans” kind of affair. Dress in your best attire if you want to be taken seriously by investors or lenders.
Your demeanor, posture and tone of voice will tell your audience everything they need to know. Practice standing in a comfortable, yet commanding posture, and practice using a conversational, yet polished tone of voice. You do not want to whisper or shout; use a strong, yet comfortable tone of voice.
Bring two supportive friends or associates with you to the presentation and ask them to dress in the same professional manner. Although they will not speak on behalf of your business, they will be noticeable and most will assume they are either in your business or supporting it in some capacity, which supports the impression that you’ve got team members in your business with whom you operate. You will want supportive friends with you for the presentation; be sure to include them.
A strong presentation always starts with a pleasant anecdote or word of greeting. Although you can simply launch into your presentation; it is advisable to prepare a short story or humorous connection to the business you are starting. Use jokes sparingly, as most have some connotations that could be offensive to others. Engage with your audience; the more relaxed you are, the more they will be. It will also add to the impression that you are confident in your business plan when you present with that same confidence.
During the presentation, you will want to add interesting statistics or facts to generate interest from the audience. Find appropriate, connective facts and use them in 2-3 places during the presentation. Why would you consider this? The audience may have already read your business plan. If so, it is common for your audience to become uninterested in the verbal or video presentation. Activate their interest by inserting unexpected facts or statistics that will make a big statement.
After your presentation, questions will be fired at you in a rapid-fire fashion. Prepare for this grilling by practicing with questions and answers while an associate critiques your efforts. You will need to be ready to face a group of investors or lenders, and to do so with charm, confidence and a demeanor that suggests vast knowledge.
Although offering gifts to your audience is considered in bad taste and generally dismissed, a light, humorous touch can be applied to the end of the meeting by offering each listener a Tootsie Roll lollipop. This could in no way be construed as a bribe; however, it achieves a laugh and a connective memory from the investors or lenders and you. Never give a high-dollar value gift; use very small tokens instead.
By practicing, memorizing and preparing in several ways before your presentation of the business plan to investors or lenders, you’ll be informed and fully capable of making the most of your presentation. Enjoy!