If a business plan is your company's resume, a business plan presentation is the job interview -- your chance to shine in a face-to-face meeting with investors.
Some entrepreneurs walk into presentation meetings with a fantastic business plan, but no clear strategy for presenting it to investors.
Don't fool yourself . . . Venture capitalists expect you to put as much thought into your presentation as you put into writing the business plan. Even though the information you share during the presentation will be the same information that is contained in your business plan, the way you present it has a significant influence on the investment decision.
- Create a Powerpoint Presentation. A business plan is a document, but it's not a presentation. Investors expect entrepreneurs to come prepared and in today's business world that means arriving with a Powerpoint presentation. Call ahead to make the proper A/V arrangements for your Powerpoint and bring enough color handouts of the presentation for everyone in the room.
- Be Succinct. When you wrote your business plan, you created a narrative about your company. But when it comes to your business plan presentation, you need to think in terms of bullet points – not prose. Clear, succinct statements are what investors are looking for during the presentation. They'll turn to the business plan if they want to read more.
- Cover Key Sections of the Business Plan. Business plan presentation meetings are not open-ended. You have a very limited amount of time to present your investment opportunity and you need to make sure that all of the key sections of your business plan get covered. If you bog down in one area, you'll jeopardize your ability to present a complete picture.
- Demo Your Product. If your business plan features key products, incorporate a brief product demo into the presentation. The idea is to use your product demo to reinforce your value proposition early in the presentation rather than saving it for the very end when you should be focused on the details of your investment offer.
- Be Passionate. It can be difficult to communicate emotion in a business plan. The presentation is the place where investors hope to see your passion and commitment. At this point, you have more riding on your company's success than your investors – if you're not enthusiastic about your company, don't expect them to be.