Although there is no guarantee of success when launching a business, the best way to protect against failure is to create a business plan. A good plan serves as an entrepreneurial strategic compass that keeps a business on course as it travels into an uncertain future.
Lenders and investors are favourably impressed by entrepreneurs who are informed and prepared when requesting a loan or investment. When attempting to secure funds from professional venture capitalists or private investors, the written business plan almost always precedes the opportunity to meet “face-to-face.”
An entrepreneur’s time for presenting her business opportunity is usually limited. When the opportunity arises, an entrepreneur must be well prepared. It is important to rehearse, rehearse and then rehearse more.
Some essential tips for making a business plan presentation to potential lenders and investors include:
- Demonstrate enthusiasm about the venture, but don’t be overemotional.
- Know your audience thoroughly work to establish a rapport with them.
- “Hook” investors quickly with an up-front explanation of the new venture, its opportunities, and the anticipated benefits to them.
- Hit the highlights; specific questions will bring out the details later. Don’t get caught up in too much detail in early meetings with lenders and investors.
- Keep your presentation simple by limiting it to the two or three (no more) major points you must get across to your audience.
- Avoid the use of technical terms that will likely be above most of the audience. Do at least one rehearsal before someone who has no special technical training. Tell him to stop you anytime he does not understand what you are talking about. When this occurs (and it likely will), rewrite that portion of your presentation.
- Use visual aids. Support every point and slide of your presentation with visual aids which could be in the form of pictures, tables, charts, pie, graph, clip arts and emoji. People might forget what they hear but they will never forget what they see. Visual aids make it easier for people to follow your presentation, but do not make the visual aids the “star” of the presentation. The star of the presentation is how you are able to successfully convey a million-dollar idea to a group of people in a way that an ordinary person will understand.
- Close by reinforcing the nature of the opportunity. Be sure you have sold the benefits the investors will realize when the business is a success.
- Be prepared for questions. In many cases, there is seldom time for a long “Q&A” session, but interested investors may want to get you aside to discuss the details of the plan.
- Follow up with every investor to whom you make a presentation. Don’t sit back and wait; be proactive. They have what you need – investment capital. Demonstrate that you have confidence in your plan and have the initiative necessary to run a business successfully.