A fantastic business plan is only part of a successful funding strategy.
To close the deal, you need a first-rate business plan presentation for your investors. Entrepreneurs often put more emphasis on writing the business plan than they do the business plan presentation, but that's a mistake. Investors fund less than 10% of the companies they interview, and the presentation of your plan carries just as much weight as the plan itself.
Here are some of the other common, yet costly mistakes entrepreneurs make when they present business plans to investors.
- Bad time management. The average business plan interview lasts one hour. No more, no less. As the presenter, the burden of time management falls on your shoulders. If you aren't careful you won't have enough time to present key aspects of your business plan.
- Wrong pitch person. It's not unusual for several team members to attend an investor presentation. But when it comes time to present, investors want to see one person running the pitch: the CEO. Other team members can chime in from time to time, but the investors are looking for the CEO to be the driving force behind the plan.
- No Powerpoint. Some investors rely on the Powerpoint presentation while others don't pay much attention to it. Either way, Powerpoint presentations are the standard and investors expect you to bring a really good one with you to the meeting.
- Failure to ID the "big problem". Your presentation should begin by identifying a problem - the reason your company exists in the first place. If you fail to sufficiently address the problem, you'll never be able to show investors why your company is uniquely qualified to solve it.
- Not convincing. Your presentation has to be convincing. How? Through a combination of credible information, honest forecasting, and an abundance of personal passion.
- Lack of focus. Business plan presentations have a tendency to veer off track. A single question from an investor can launch the conversation in a hundred directions – none of which were part of your presentation strategy. When the presentation goes off course, it's up to you to deftly reassert control.
- No story/weak story. A business plan tells a story and the presentation is your opportunity to tell it to investors. If your storyline is weak or unintelligible, it's difficult to make a compelling case for investment.