Effective Business Plan Presentation Techniques

You have taken a great deal of time and trouble in writing your business plan and have painstakingly researched every detail. You are convinced that you now have a polished and thoroughly professional document which could convince anyone whether they are potential lenders or investors, customers or suppliers or even your own management team. The acid test now awaits you when you have to actually start giving presentations. The onus is entirely on you to be as convincing as possible and to answer questions confidently and comprehensively. Remember that different audiences will have different areas of interest and therefore an entirely different set of questions to be answered.

Start your preparation for your presentations by inviting close friends or associates to listen to your presentation. Preferably, they should be individuals with some exposure to business plans and business environments whose judgment you can trust and who have no prior knowledge of the details of your plans. Have them ask any questions that might occur to them and preferably questions that will really stretch your capabilities in answering them. Ask them to be as tough and forthright as possible. One run-through should be enough because too much rehearsal can cause you to sound too mechanical when you actually need to give the presentation. Try and stay spontaneous and entirely natural in your responses.

Because you never know where your opportunities to give the presentation may arise, prepare three versions of your presentation. From the first presentation, which should be the full scale version lasting 60 minutes or more, prepare a very short version lasting one or two minutes as well as a medium version that lasts from five to 10 minutes. Potential investors, customers and suppliers can be found anywhere around you and you should be prepared to take advantage. For instance, a very short conversation (usually referred to in the business world as an ‘elevator pitch’) may give you the opportunity to give your one-minute presentation and evoke enough interest to arrange a follow-up meeting.

Similarly, the five-minute presentation delivered at a visit to a potential customer may well provide you with a potential investor. Ensure that the presentation touches on all the key items required when writing an effective business plan and follows naturally from conversation so that it does not sound like a rehearsed sales pitch.

As an entrepreneur, you need to be ready to pitch your business idea at any time and be comfortable with the reality that a presentation does not have to be given to a formal audience in a formal setting.

(c) 2010 George Osawaye