How to Present a Business Plan in Person
Your business plan is a working blueprint that shows how you intend to make money and build a sustainable enterprise out of your original business idea. It demonstrates not only the viability of your idea, but also sets out a clear roadmap to take you from start-up to established business. Creating a business plan is a useful exercise when exploring new ideas, and it is essential if you are seeking finance from investors or banks.
Your business plan itself will be a written document containing all the information and investor needs to make an informed decision about whether to put money into your business. It should be written so as to ‘speak for itself’, as more often than not you will be sending the plan by email rather than delivering it yourself.
However, sometimes it will be necessary to present the business plan yourself. This will either be to a panel of investors in the style of Dragon’s Den, or more frequently, to an individual representative of a bank or financial institution.
When presenting your business plan in person, the following tips may be useful:
1) Do your research
Prior to your meeting, it will stand you in good stead to find out as much as possible about the person who will be hearing your business plan proposal. If you can, seeking get some information about the kinds of projects they have previously funded, and those that have been unsuccessful.
2) Be confident
When presenting in person, you are the strongest advocate your business idea. So be confident and proud of your business plan. Stand up straight, make eye contact and speak in a strong, clear voice.
3) Dress for success
Dress as smartly as you would do if attending an important interview. Even if you do not normally wear formal office attire, a business plan presentation usually requires a suit for men, or smart work wear for women.
4) Be consistent
Make sure you know your business plan inside out, so that the information you deliver in your presentation is consistent with that written in the plan itself. Make sure your audience has a copy of the written business plan to refer to during your presentation, and reference any facts and figures on PowerPoint, or as a separate handout. Own your audience and draw their attention to the facts you want them to see.
5) Be prepared for questions
Be prepared that your audience may want to ask you a number of questions. In order to be well prepared, find someone you know to read through your business plan and play ‘Devil’s advocate’ by asking you each and every question they can think of. Prepare to be interrogated closely and to defend your reasoning behind the business plan. If you prepare for the worst, then you can go into your meeting relaxed and confident that you will be able to answer any questions you may be asked.
Presenting your business plan in person is a good exercise to go through, because it encourages you to hone your business plan down to its essential points and to thoroughly revise your thought process. Planning for a presentation is often a great means of streamlining an existing business plan and strengthening an idea prior to seeking investment.