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10 No-Brainer Presentation Tips for Startups

startup tipsOver the past couple of weeks, I’ve attended a few events where startups have made short presentations. It goes without saying that it can be a challenge to tell a group of people what you do and why they should be interested, but I was surprised by how many startup entrepreneurs could easily improve their pitches.

Here are some tips that popped up when listening to these presentations:

1. Start by telling me what you do and the problem(s) being solved. By understanding what your startup is all about, it sets the stage and provides context for the rest of the presentation. As well, be clear how you’re different, unique or better.

2. Don’t back into your presentation by providing background about the market and the opportunity. It may seem like a way to create dramatic effect but it just makes me impatient and wondering why you’re not getting to the point.

3. Who are your customers? How do you make them happy, more productive or more profitable? If possible, use a “persona” of a typical customer – their job, their needs, how they do their jobs and how your product could help them succeed. Heck, give them a name to make it more personal.

4. Don’t be humble. Be bold and cocky. In other words, try not to be too Canadian. Instead of saying, for example, you want to be biggest player in Canada, proclaim you want to be the biggest player in North America. Think big, dream big, go big.

5. How much money do you want? What are you going to do with it? If I’m an investor, paint me a picture of how my cash would be used…if I decided to give it to you.

6. How big is the market you’re going after? And please don’t proclaim that if you could get 1% of the market, success is guaranteed.

7. Who’s the competition? This includes old-guard rivals, direct rivals and the alternative ways potential customers are doing business. For example, lots of online accounting services are going after people using Excel. A good idea is showing a quadrant chart of where the different rivals sit on the price/features spectrum.

8. How are you going to attract the attention of potential users? And don’t tell me social media is going to be your primary tool because it’s inexpensive. Provide some details on your approach to marketing and how it will resonate with target audiences.

9. What’s your business model? How are you going to make money? Yes, I realize we live in a build first, figure out how to make money later world, but it’s hard to build a business if you don’t have some sense early on how to generate revenue.

10. Don’t use too many slides. Keep text to a minimum. Talk over your slides rather than talking about your slides. Presentations are the snacks you serve before dinner. If people find your “snack” appetizing, it creates the opportunity to serve them dinner later.

What do you think? Any other must-do tips for startups making presentations?

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