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A Checklist for Effective Business Plan Presentation Design

When writing your business plan, it's a good idea to think about how the information can be presented visually. Get useful tips here. 

In writing a business plan, the amount of information you need to gather and articulate can seem overwhelming. But creating a presentation of the material can help you focus, even if you don't end up in front of an audience.

Here are some insights on how to design a business plan presentation that stands out.

Key Elements

Every business plan will have unique characteristics, since every company is different. However, you should always include elements like these:

  • Company purpose: This should be a one-sentence declarative statement; often, it's the same as the mission statement.
  • Reason for launch: Have you seen a spot in the marketplace for your product or service? Is there a customer need that's not being met? Address how your company will fill that gap.
  • Market information: Identify the customers you intend to attract and where they can be found demographically and geographically.
  • Competitor data: Be frank about the leaders in your space and what they offer. How will your company provide what they don't?
  • Product or service: Go into detail about what you'll offer, including a development roadmap for future features.
  • Business model: Dig into your financials, including potential pricing, revenue model, distribution, sales and marketing and any projections in a five-year timeframe.
  • Company makeup: Describe the background and experience of your company founders and team members.

Layout and Presentation Tips

When designing a layout for your presentation, follow some general rules:

  • Limit the number of words on each slide, and make sure graphs and charts are easy to read. You don't want to put up a wall of information that detracts from what you're saying.
  • Provide a handout of the presentation so your audience can jot notes more easily.
  • Set a limit of 15 to 20 slides. With material as complex as a business plan, it can be very difficult to keep an audience engaged during a 40-slide presentation.
  • Use attractive graphics and color, without taking away from the text.

Audience Participation

Although a business plan prepared for a presentation will share some similarities with a written plan, there are some distinctive aspects to consider when an audience is involved. Here are some tips on how to make the most of their time:

  • Address questions after each key element is presented. That way, you can help shape later parts of the presentation if necessary. For example, if questions early in the presentation all pertain to potential growth, you can present later material with a perspective on possible market expansion plans.
  • Set a time limit. Unless your audience agrees in advance to an open-ended meeting, it's better to determine a "hard stop" and mention that timeframe when you get started. Audience members will appreciate this respect for their time. At the end, you can offer to address additional questions then or at another meeting if necessary.
  • Start on time. In the same way that a hard stop shows respect for the audience's schedules, beginning on time says a great deal about how you run your company: professionally, and with consideration for others.

With a strong presentation style, well-designed slides and concise information about your company, your business plan will be ready to make its public debut.

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