Sometimes investors will want to read your plan, or even just its executive summary, before they meet you to discuss the opportunity. However, if you successfully pass this phase, you will have to present the idea at some point, either formally or informally. When you prepare a deck of slides for your business plan presentation, keep in mind the following three mistakes which are often made in business plan presentations.
Not Timing Your Presentation
If you have thirty minutes (or ten minutes or five) to present, you simply must to time your presentation to use the time available – no more and no less. If you go over the time allotted you might not be cut off by the audience, but they will keep in mind that you could not follow directions when they consider starting an investing relationship with you. If you do not use the entire time available, you will lose a valuable opportunity to explain your concepts further and the audience may, again, consider you somewhat incompetent.
Too Much Text on Slides
Each slide should be focused on graphics or a few bullet points. Paragraphs or lists of text should be narrated by the presenter rather than written on the slides. The problem with too much text on slides is that the audience will attempt to read rather than listen to what you are saying. And if there is too much text, it will become more and more difficult to read the font size.
Giving the Full Financials
Presenting the complete pro forma financial statements on slides is another serious mistake. In a short presentation an investor or investors do not have the time to take in all of this data and all you will convey to the audience is that a) you have financial statements and b) you don’t know how to present. Financials should be presented in summary format with just a few key metrics and numbers on each slide. Presenting these numbers in chart or graph format is an even better idea. If the numbers you show interest the investors, they will have time later on to peruse the financial statements in detail.
Believe it or not, the format of a business plan can also influence a potential investor’s decision. Make sure you learn all that you can about the proper format of a business plan before you start scheduling presentations.
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