Many are under the impression that, as long as they have a business plan, everything will fall into place. However, having a business plan is not enough; you also have to make sure it is presented properly.
Presenting a business plan can be broken down into two parts: the written presentation and the oral presentation.
You may undergo several drafts of your business plan while writing it. That’s all right. After all, it involves a lot of research and going into other documents to consolidate all vital information that will be included in it.
There is no fixed or strict format for the written business plan. The written presentation will depend on the nature of the business or the industry. The question of what should be in a business plan will vary. For example, a business plan for a salon will be markedly different from a business plan for a gym. This is primarily because they have different target markets and core operations.
Similarly, the written presentation will also vary depending on the purpose of the business plan. A business plan meant to convince lenders or banks to grant a business loan will be prepared in a certain way. It will be different from how a business plan purposely prepared to attract investors to purchase a share of ownership in a new company will be presented.
Let’s take a look at some tips that will ensure that you present your plan effectively.
- Using prepared templates as a basis for your written business plan presentation is not always a good idea. Although it helps in ensuring that your business plan has a formal layout, template plans often become a form filling exercise and is shows in the finished document with irrelevant content. Investors are usually un impressed with template plans and it often shows a lack of commitment from the proposer.
- Check the formatting and the appearance; it must be clear and clean. Remember, first impressions play a big role, especially if you want to develop a good opinion on your business even before the readers flip the pages. If necessary, hire a professional editor to go over the business plan you have drafted. They will provide an objective eye on your business plan.
- Of course, it is not just the formatting that must be focused on. Completeness of the information as well as the supporting documents is more important. Double- and triple-check that all the information presented in the body of the business plan have any necessary supporting documents included in the Appendix.
- For most, the oral presentation is the most challenging aspect of presenting their business plan. The written document will be their ticket to grab the attention of their targeted investor or lender; now they have to convince them by talking about what is in the business plan and provide a strong argument in favour of their business.
- Prepare your pitch, and make sure it contains all the highlights of your business plan. Many make the mistake of coming up with long-winded speeches and end up boring their listeners to tears. Take note of the important parts and include only those in your pitch.
- There is a risk to memorising your speech: you just might end up sounding robotic or monotonous, and may even come across as insincere. It would be a better idea just to come up with an outline and talk about them.
- Practice your pitch. Do this in front of the mirror and also in front of other people. Ask for their input and take their suggestions seriously. Not everyone is naturally adept at speaking in front of a group of people – strangers, at that – so it is a good thing that there are now classes and special clubs for public speaking that you can sign up for.
- The most important thing when making an oral presentation is familiarity with the business plan. You have to know by heart what is written on the business plan in order for you to be able to answer any questions that may be thrown your way.
Preparing a business plan is only half the battle; presenting it will be what will seal the deal.