FOSTERING THE SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Delivering a winning Business Presentation

Home Business FOSTERING THE SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Delivering a winning Business Presentation

By Dr Wilfred Isak April

At times people will ask their friend, brother or sister to write a business plan for them.  Sometimes we assume that when a knowledgeable person writes for us we will attract potential investors.  The challenge comes when you have to convince potential investors or funders to buy into your idea by means of a presentation.  Presentations can be nerve wrecking even for the most experienced presenters.  Business presentations usually force us to think and tell the potential investor how the end goals of your business venture will be achieved.  It is critical that you capture the attention of the investor when you pitch your presentation. 

There is a general assumption that you must have a perfect plan when you are making a presentation, while I have to tell you that most entrepreneurs operate at a certain level of uncertainty.  It is important to have a rough idea where you would like to go with the idea, but few have a full roadmap.  However my readers might be asking:  How come David was so confident the other day and act as if he knew exactly what he was doing?  It is not always true, and in the presentation room it is critical that you rely on your gut feeling.  When you get the chance to go for your next business idea, a good place to start will be to compare your business model to those businesses you know are successful in serving communities. Tell the funders success stories of businesses that are also in your  line of business.  Once you’ve established that your business model is sound, highlight and demonstrate to the funders what is so unique about your idea – why is your product or service unique to that of the existing businesses? Any Namibian investor will choose a product or service of an ethically sound presenter over a person who cannot show the ethical principles of their business idea. Make sure that your quality always match or exceeds the industry standards.

When you are making your presentation, remember that the funders have actually come to see and listen to you.  They are not there to watch your PowerPoint slides as the operator.  I must warn you to always look at your best because it means that you respect the audience.  Too many great ideas go down the drain, because of poor presentation.  Try and do away with bullets points as they bore the audience.  If you have to use them, keep them short.  You can agree or disagree with me? Tate Nelson Mandela never used any PowerPoint slides, but when he spoke the whole world was glued to their seats.   Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech was short and to the point.  Don’t try to bore potential investors unless you are trying to change the world.  Select few critical points and explain them very well. Dress appropriate from head to toe, as it will boost your confidence and make sure there are no holes in your socks or stockings.   Always stand up straight and never sit during your presentation.  Have you ever imagine why teachers and preachers always stand, so that they command the room.  Gentleman never wear shorts for your presentation and women who choose to wear short skirts, make sure that you do not pull it down all the time, it can really distract the audience’s attention.  If you choose to tell jokes make sure that it is funny, otherwise you look like a fool.  You do not want to make a presentation to a boardroom full of European decent investors, and talk about how bad apartheid was or a “Hitler” joke.  On the other hand you will not dare make a presentation to Namibian comrades, and pull a joke about how bad the Namibian government is.  Be careful and be sensitive to the feelings of others.   Make sure that your pronunciation is always correct and make sure that you say “Namalenga” and not “Nemalanga”.  It is like calling Jane -“Jen”.

Stay away from using phrases such as “I am going to bore you with this one”.  It shows that you don’t believe in what you have to say.  If you visit the bathroom during the presentation period, make sure that you wipe your hands; no one wants to be touched or greeted with wet, clumsy hands.  When the hosts offer you tea or coffees have some, unless it is for medical reasons.  At times they may even offer you cappuccino, absolutely go for it, as they are trying to impress you.  Ginger biscuits are good, but make sure you do not at any time talk with food in your mouth.  Always remain polite and a negative answer does not mean you are a loser, as we could be ahead of time sometimes.  Each Namibian must have a unique presentation style and be brave to ignore what others have to say.

*Dr. Wilfred Isak April is a UNAM Graduate and holds a PhD- Entrepreneurship (New Zealand).  He lectures Research Methodology and Entrepreneurship at the University of Namibia.