Announcing the launch of Mark Philip Consulting LLC


I am delighted to announce the launch of my new company, Mark Philip Consulting LLC. I am still very much focused on providing business leadership and advice to pharma, biotech, medical device and diagnostics companies. I hope you will follow me to my new website, www.markphilipconsulting.com and continue to ask me business questions or refer me to you colleagues who need help.

I look forward to continuing to provide a broad range of business services to the industry and occasionally writing a blog.

Posted in Biotech, Business, Consulting | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What to look for in your due diligence process when buying a business asset.


To perform a reasonable due diligence before purchasing a business asset, you really need to know what it is you are buying. To achieve this you need access to key business information and an expert team to help you assess the asset from different angles. Minimally the due diligence team should consist of individuals with market and product knowledge, legal and accounting expertise, manufacturing and distribution expertise, and if research and development is a major part of your purchase, an expert in the field will be necessary.

I recommend you request a list of due diligence materials as part of the process of assessing the business you want to purchase. The documentation will help you hone your concerns or issues that may be best addressed in a face-to face meeting. You should seek to obtain as much information as possible before buying the asset, but minimally the following list:

Financial Information

  • Lasts three years financial statements (P&L, Cash Flow and Balance Sheet
  • Management reports: ask for budgets and planned versus actual management reports.
  • Accounts receivable history and a list of delinquent customers.
  • Capital structure of the company showing all shareholders, warrants, options, and any dilutive securities and vesting schedules.
  • Schedule of past financings and valuations.
  • List of all debt instruments with terms and conditions, and any off-balance sheet liabilities.
  • Latest federal, state and foreign tax filings and carryovers.
  • Financial statement projections (P&L; Cash Flow and Balance Sheet) for the next three years, with a breakout of revenues by product and key assumptions. An explanation of planned capital expenditures, depreciation, debt coverage and repayment, financing and working capital arrangements.

Business & Product Related

  • Business and Strategic plans: defining product definitions, positioning, pricing, distribution, marketing strategy, business drivers, economic and market trends, a competitive analysis, industry trends, customer demographics, customer feedback, government and legal aspects.
  • Description of each product, customer demographics, historical and projected growth rates, market share, major competition, competitive advantages and differentiation, cost structure and profitability.
  • New technologies and new products or product enhancements timing, advantages and costs and projections.
  • Top 20 customers for each product with pricing and revenues, customer feedback, complaints, list of lost major customers.
  • Strategic relationships, structure, implications, history, and current issues.
  • List of key competitors, products, strengths and weaknesses, basis for competition, market share and trend. Key concerns.
  • Marketing plans for key products: positioning, pricing, promotion and advertising, distribution channels, results of different marketing activities (new customers and sales), new customer prospects, pipeline analysis, new business plans, sales force productivity and compensation plans.
  • Disaster recovery plans.

Manufacturing

  • Top 20 suppliers, purchase history, relationship, quality and delivery consistency. Back up plans.
  • Sourcing of product, relationship, manufacturing process, quality control and systems. Compliance with all government regulations.
  • Status of manufacturing facilities, plans to ensure standards and modernization.
  • Manufacturing site list, floor plans, equipment list, capacity, efficiency measures, flow of work, plans for upgrades.
  • List of employees, status, pay levels, unionization. Disaster recovery plans.
  • Cost history and trends by product.

R&D

  • Overall strategy, plans and budget, past and present.
  • New technology and product development plans, status, cost, timing, risks and likelihood of success.
  • List of issued and pending patents, licenses, trademarks, copyright and trade secrets. Any freedom to operate analyses.
  • Specific rights or technologies required for current and future products.
  • Key personnel, biographies, expertise, contracts and performance.

Management

  • Organization chart with list of employees, status, pay level, duration of employment, function, and location.
  • Historical and future headcount plans, along with turnover.
  • Senior management biographies, compensation history, contracts and performance reviews.
  • Compensation plans, benefits and management policies.
  • Any serious personnel problems and resolution, past and present.

Legal

  • Company ownership, incorporation documents, capitalization tables, shareholders and owners.
  • Copy of all contracts and agreements relating to the business.
  • Copy of all insurance policies and history.
  • List of all lawsuits filed by the company or against the company.
  • Any SEC, tax or regulatory problems.

Due diligence is no easy task, but it is essential. The owner of the business may only let you view some of these materials at their location because of their concerns for secrecy, but the more you can review before visiting to discuss the acquisition, the more likely you will have a better sense of what you are buying and its strengths and weaknesses. Don’t forget to ask why they are selling the business and what value they put on the business. Both can be very revealing in influencing your decision to buy.

MP Consulting writes a weekly blog on Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Business Strategy and other Key Business Topics. Hopefully this has given you something to think about.  My goal is to make your life easier and to ensure you are as productive as possible. I hope you enjoyed this and that you will send me your comments, subscribe and link to my blog, and if you need help, or need to ask me a question, go to my blog questions section.

For More Information: visit my LinkedIn account.

Copyright © 2012 Mark Philip

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What’s your exit strategy, payback, valuation, and ROI? Your investors want to know.


Last week I talked about how and where to raise money for your business. I mentioned banks, venture capitalists, angel investors and other private investors. Some of the key questions that come up when you ask for money include: what’s the return on investment, or ROI, when is the payback, what’s the exit strategy, and what will be your valuation at the time of the exit? They want to know when they will be paid back and how much they will make. This week I will talk about how to answer that question.

To answer these questions appropriately you must have a good handle on how your business will grow and to be able to translate the growth into at least a 3-year projection of revenues, profits, and cash flow. You may have to go out further if your company’s product has a long development time (think Biotech).  But first, make sure you ask your investors what their expectations are?

Value projection

The key to answering the valuation, ROI and payback questions is to know your market and your product, in other words, to do your homework when it comes to projection of what you can sell, and not to be overly optimistic. In fact, it is better to be more pessimistic with your assumptions, because if you beat your commitment, your investors will be really happy. To answer the question you will need to project your revenues and expenses, to ascertain your cash flow. It is important to be accurate and realistic. With revenues you need to know how much you will sell and at what price. How quickly will your sales increase given the market conditions and how likely this is. It may be helpful to create an optimistic and pessimistic view to address different assumptions of how your business will evolve.

By forecasting your day-to-day expenses for creating and making your product, office rent, insurance, and materials, you can start to see when you might turn a profit and more importantly when you will start to generate cash (which allows you to pay back loans but also to generate value for your company).

In the case of a bank loan, the terms are usually laid out fairly clearly and you will probably have to start paying it back immediately, so factor this into your finances. If your business takes off quickly perhaps you can payback the bank sooner and save on the interest, unless you need to reinvest your free cash to build the business, which may in the long term, be a better for the business. Loans from family and friends or investors may have different terms, but again, this has to be factored into you running the business.

Exits

In the case of investors who take an equity interest in the company for the money they give you, they will definitely be interested how much money they can make and when. This essentially means you will have to create both an estimate of future valuation and a mechanism for them to take their money out of the business. Unless you are a public company, the only way for the investors to get their money out is:

  • To take your private company public with an Initial Public Offering.
  • Sell the company or merge it with another company.
  • Buy the investors out, or
  • Have new investors buy them out.

You can forget IPOs in the current market, although the time may come when this is an option again, but not in the foreseeable future. It is probably best not to tell sophisticated investors they can get out when you do an IPO, as they know this is not a viable exit today, except for an exceptional few.

If you are in a market where buying up small companies by larger ones is common place, such as, Biotech, Internet businesses, Technology, Medical Devices, etc., then selling the company at some point in the future could be an excellent exit for some of your investors. You could also potentially think about buying out your investors in the future, but be careful. Most investors in early stage businesses are looking for a significant return on their investments, such as in biotech, early investing venture capitalist would look for a 10X return on their investment. To the extent you can negotiate buy out clauses under specific circumstances, then this may provide you and your investors with an out.

Valuation and ROI

To answer the question of how and when you might sell your company as an exit for your investors, it is important to have a sense of what your company valuation will be if you achieve certain financial goals within a certain time frame.  By projecting your revenues, profitability and cash flow, you can estimate the value of your company. There are several methods you should use in order to establish a reasonable valuation.

  • Comparative value: look at the value of comparable public and private companies with revenues and profits in line with what you predict for your company.
  • Discounted cash flow estimate of value: this method estimates the value of your company based on your cash accumulation over time, which is discounted to reflect value today.
  • Net asset value:  this essentially just values the assets in the company after having paid off all the creditors and does not take into account the future value of the company.
  • Private investment valuation. This is the valuation of the company that was established at the last private investment.

The latter two methods do not make sense for a future value prediction for an investor, but are important measures when discussing loans with a bank.

Having established your financial projections for your business, and having checked your assumptions to make sure they are reasonable and supported by what is happening the market place, you can now ascertain by what time you can pay back a loan completely, or look at a potential timing for selling your company, raising additional funds, or even an IPO. The ROI can be easily calculated by dividing the valuation by the total investment.

 

MP Consulting writes a weekly blog on Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Business Strategy and other Key Business Topics. Hopefully this has given you something to think about.  My goal is to make your life easier and to ensure you are as productive as possible. I hope you enjoyed this and that you will send me your comments, subscribe and link to my blog, and if you need help, or need to ask me a question, go to my blog Questions section.

For More Information: visit my LinkedIn account.

Copyright © 2012 Mark Philip

Posted in Business, Business Leadership, Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Common Entrepreneur Mistakes in Raising Money For Their Business


This week I will discuss some of the common mistakes made by the entrepreneur in raising money for their business.

You have a great business idea. You’ve done the market research, tested your product and potential customers like it and say they would buy it. You just need the money to get started. So how do you find the money if you don’t have it sitting in your bank account? Well, very simply, you go where the money is and ask for it…but you had best be ready for the questions you will be asked before you make your request.

Where’s the money?

Most good business ideas don’t even get off the ground because the novice entrepreneur does not have enough cash themselves and does not know where to look to find it. You might first try turning to friends and family, who tend to be the least demanding, but if that is not an option, then where do you go? How about your bank? A bank may require significant collateral before they will loan you money, such as your house, if you own one and this may not be the best approach. Don’t despair, there are other sources of funds you can turn to which includes angel investors, venture capitalists or private equity. I will focus in this blog more on raising money through the private investors.

Are you properly prepared?

Another one of the common mistakes for the entrepreneur is not knowing how to best prepare before asking for an investment in their business. You usually only get one chance, and you don’t want to blow it.

The expectation with a bank, angel investors, venture capitalists, or any other sophisticated investor, is that you will have done your homework before you enter their doors. The minimum requirements going into such a meeting, are:

  • A clear business plan.
  • Projected financials of the business.
  • A definite amount of money you are asking for.
  • What you intend to do with the money.
  • Your contingency plan if the business does not go as expected.

The Business Plan

Again a common mistake of the novice entrepreneur is not to have a business plan when asking for money. But without being able to show that you have thought about how your business will function, defining your product and value proposition, and how you defend against competition and create a return for the investor from whom you are seeking money, it is unlikely anyone will invest.

The business plan should explain the business opportunity for your product and what it is that makes your product unique and better than what is already out their; in other words your value proposition. Make sure you have market research to back up your assumptions including data that supports what you expect people will pay for the product. You need to explain how you will acquire sales whether through marketing and advertising locally or globally, social media, print or word of mouth. In my experience, most of the questions you will receive will focus on your understanding of the market place and how your product will compete with what is out there already and the products that are in development. It is also important to make sure you can answer how easily it would be for others to replicate your product or service. In the technology spaces it is customary to have patent protection around your invention to stop others copying your idea.

Financial Projections

Investors like numbers and unless you can show them how you will make money, how and when you will be profitable, and what type of return they can expect to obtain from an investment in you, they are unlikely to invest. Your business plan should contain financial projections based on how you see the business growing. You should have at least 3 years projected with the first year broken out by month. I recommend you create a profit and loss statement, a cash flow statement and a balance sheet. If you are not familiar with financial statements you may need the help of an accountant. My advice is that you are not overly optimistic with the revenue projections. You could even consider creating an optimistic and pessimistic projection as well as the most likely projection so you can explain what you would do if the business takes off more quickly than you think or if the uptake is slower than you believe. This will at least show how you intend to deal with both scenarios should they occur.  With regard to your expenses, be accurate. Make sure you think about the type of people you will need, their salaries and benefits, the equipment you need, the facilities and insurances. Obtain estimates where possible and include all aspects of your running costs. If you are making a product, don’t forget that you will have inventory to consider and a time lag for selling it.  Consider when the business will be profitable, watch your margins (gross profit and operating profit), and calculate when the business will be generating cash.

Cash Needs

First time entrepreneurs often make the mistake of not asking for enough cash, or asking for too much. To make sure you ask for enough cash, turn to your financial projections, particularly in the case of the pessimistic scenario, just how much money you will need until the business is generating sufficient funds to sustain itself and your future. It is really important to ask for enough funds to see you through as going back for more if you have not achieved your goals or did not estimate accurately, will be very difficult to obtain. I like to look at when the business is consistently generating a positive cash flow. If you are going for a loan, don’t forget to factor in the payments on the loan and paying back the principal. If you are asking investors for cash in exchange for equity, then you will probably have to estimate when they will see a return and how much (I will cover this in a future blog).

Use of Funds

It is fairly typical for any investor to want to know how you intend to use their funds, but again, the inexperienced entrepreneur may not provide an appropriate response. Investors want to see that you plan to use their funds wisely and frugally to build your business, so you may want to avoid showing them some extravagant real estate you intend to lease or purchase with their funds. Stating that the funds are for working capital is rarely a sufficient explanation. Better to have several concrete items you can point to, for example, building initial inventories, establishing a customer base (initial marketing campaigns, website, social media, etc), establishing an office, manufacturing facility, warehouse, etc.

Contingencies

Finally, most entrepreneurs, the first time they seek financing, forget to challenge themselves with the types of questions an investor will ask and consequently stumble around trying to answer, and in so doing may lose the confidence of the potential investor. I think it is really important to challenge yourself, or have someone else challenge you, with what could go wrong with your business, and if it does, what would you do? You may even want to make this part of your business plan. This exercise will help you prepare for criticisms and questions and your ability to answer will help persuade the investor that you are taking your idea very seriously and provide them with the confidence they need in you to make that investment.

The better you prepare, the more chance you will have of successfully convincing others to invest in you.  In the case of a bank loan, you will also need collateral equal to what you are asking for. The bank does not want to lose out if your business fails. So, good luck, and let me know if you need any help; I will be happy to advise you.

MP Consulting writes a weekly blog on Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Business Strategy and other Key Business Topics. Hopefully this has given you something to think about.  My goal is to make your life easier and to ensure you are as productive as possible. I hope you enjoyed this and that you will send me your comments, subscribe and link to my blog, and if you need help, go to the question section of my blog.

For More Information: visit my LinkedIn account.

Copyright © 2012 Mark Philip

Posted in Business, Business Leadership, Economics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mastering Successful Business Negotiations


Negotiations are an everyday part of business. Whether it is negotiating the price on a service or a bulk purchase of product, or negotiating a multimillion-dollar deal, there are certain aspects that are common to all and important if you want to be effective and successful in your negotiations. In this blog, I explore some of the key aspects of business negotiations that will help you achieve successful outcomes.

1.   Do your Homework

Before you start any negotiating, it’s important to do your homework. It starts with simply defining what it is you want, what you want to achieve. Is it just to sell a product today, or to develop a customer who will buy again and again, and recommend you to others? Maybe it is more complex; maybe there are a list of requirements, in which case, break them down into what you must have to make the deal work for you and what you would like to achieve but could live with out.

It is also important that you have a reasonable understanding of the value of what you are buying or selling. So research the value of past similar deals, understand the differences in value and how the markets may have changed.

Consider the party you are about to negotiate with. What are their motivations and needs? What do they really want, what do they value and what’s their deal history? The better you understand who you are negotiating with, the better chance you have of meeting both your needs and striking a valued deal. Research the going rate for your service or product you are selling or looking to buy. What do you offer that is better than the competition and worthy of a higher price?

To win at negotiations, does not necessarily mean beating your opponent to a pulp, particularly if you hope to have a long-term business relationship. For you to win, both parties in the deal need to feel they have won what they want. This is not to say that you should give up what you want. There is a point when a deal does not make sense, and you need to know when this is the case for you. Know what you want, the value of what you are buying or selling, and what you are not willing to accept. A term often used in negotiations is the best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA. It is important to know the value or cost of not closing this particular deal, and what your alternatives are.

By understanding what you want, who you are negotiating with and what they want, what the value of the deal should be and what your alternatives to a deal are, before you start negotiating, will put you in a better position to create a successful and effective outcome.

2. The Negotiation

In my experience, stating your position first in the negotiation can provide a real advantage in terms of setting out the value expectation and ensuring you achieve the best deal. This approach has the effect of anchoring the negotiation around the value you have put on it. It is of course a risky maneuver if you have not done your homework first.

If the other side goes first, then it is up to you to counter the first offer. But before just jumping in with a value closer to what you want, stop for a moment and ask them to explain the assumptions behind their offer. What is it that they put value on and what is it they don’t value and, what is the reasoning they used to create their offer? Understanding their motivations and what they value will help you consider your counter offer. In a large complex deal, this is an essential step in putting together a thoughtful counter offer that considers their approach to valuation.

Never accept a first offer. Ask for concessions; ask for more value, even if their offer was better than what you had hoped for. If you just accept an offer, the other side will feel they offered too much and that they have lost out to you which, could negatively affect future negotiations. If you have to concede a concession, make sure the other side knows you are doing this and try to make it contingent on a reciprocal concession.

Be careful of the negotiator that lays down standards by which the negotiation will be held to, that can be invoked later in the negotiation to hold you captive.

3. Negotiating Quick Tips

  • Sitting across from those you are negotiating with can create a competitive atmosphere, whereas sitting next to them may create a more collaborative interaction.
  • Try to listen more than talk, ask questions to gather intelligence and a better understanding of what your counterparts are trying to achieve, and don’t be afraid of silence.
  • I find face-to-face meetings are much more effective than remote negotiations and they are essential if you have not met the person before. Watching the body language is essential to truly understanding what is going on.

4. Closing the deal

There comes a point in a business deal when most the key issues have been hammered out. I am a firm believer that great deals get done quickly and efficiently because both sides are motivated to get the deal done and to clearly state what they want, so don’t let the negotiation drag on too long.  When you sense the end is in sight, this is the time to close the deal; to try to bring it all together and seal it. You can test this out easily just by saying so; if the other side feels the same, then suggest closure on the final points, perhaps a final concession on both sides. Agree it and shake hands. Make sure you put it in writing.

Negotiations are more of an art than a science. No two are the same. Good clear, honest communications are essential. And, don’t forget, walking away from a deal that does not make sense is a success too.

MP Consulting writes a weekly blog on Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Business Strategy and other Key Business Topics. Hopefully this has given you something to think about.  My goal is to make your life easier and to ensure you are as productive as possible. I hope you enjoyed this and that you will send me your comments, subscribe and link to my blog, and if you need help, or need to ask me a question, go to my blog questions section.

For More Information: visit my LinkedIn account.

Copyright © 2012 Mark Philip

Posted in Business, Business Leadership, Consulting, Leadership, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Prepared If A Disaster Or A Crisis Hits Your Business Tomorrow?


It will never happen to me? That’s what most people think. But disasters do happen. The survival of your business and your livelihood might depend on spending a few minutes thinking about how you might best deal with such an event.

Most disasters are predictable, like the Japanese tsunami and nuclear plant disaster last year or the devastating fires in the Western states, and tornadoes in the mid-west this year. Even though their probability of occurring and impacting you are low, disasters happen, but how many people and businesses are prepared to deal with them and the crisis they create? How many have a disaster recovery plan in place to make sure their business survives? The answer is not many.  Creating a disaster recovery and crisis management plan makes sense. It doesn’t have to take much of your time, but it is worth giving it some thought over a weekend.  Here’s how to prepare a plan. You may want to do this as a team: with your senior staff perhaps? The more creative input you get, the better.

Step 1. Define Worst Case Scenarios

What are the worst-case scenarios for you? Perhaps an earthquake destroys your building and equipment, or an electrical power outage that lasts for several days? Fire? Flood?  Tornado? Theft? Hacked website? Perhaps it is simply bad press about one of your products, or a key supplier is knocked out by a disaster in another part of the country or World? Make a list of everything you can think of that could conceivably happen, even if it is only a remote possibility.

Step 2. Define How You Will Deal with the Worst Case Disasters

In thinking about each type of disaster you have listed, now answer the questions that follow. What are the first things you and your employees should do in each of these scenarios if they occur during work hours or if they occur out of work hours, at night or on the weekends? How does everyone get out of the building safely? How can you continue operations? How will you communicate with employees if your premises are wiped out? How will you handle customer calls or inquiries?  How will you continue producing and shipping product? Who can make decisions in your absence?

Step 3. Define What You Can Do To Mitigate Against Down Time of your Business

In each scenario, is there something you can do now to minimize the impact? For example, installing a back up power system, storing back up data off site; installing or renting backup servers at an alternate site; storing data using cloud computing may be a sensible approach so you can access your information from anywhere, – just make sure the servers are not in the same building.  Make sure you have sufficient inventory to last a few weeks or that you have multiple suppliers in different locations so that if they are hit by a disaster, you can still continue to operate. Take a close look at the weaknesses of your business: can they be strengthened? Make sure you have adequate insurance; and consider adding a business interruption rider to provide working capital. What about storing some emergency supplies in case of shortages? Make sure you have a good relation with your bank so you can get a loan if necessary, better still sign on for that line of credit now, and retain some of your profits, as cash to help keep the company going during a period of crisis.

Step 4. Public relations strategy

Having a public relations and communications strategy prepared in times of disaster or crisis is critical to ensure the best outcomes for your business. Make sure you define who is responsible to talk to the media and to communicate with customers about the disaster, particularly if it is something that negatively affects your business. Define a general tone and approach for each type of disaster you have thought of. Building a relationship with the local press before a disaster strikes is an excellent way to ensure you get the best support for your business during a crisis.

One of my previous company’s was hit by a flash flood, which wiped out the power, damaged part of the building and destroyed product and materials in the warehouse. Luckily, we had a Disaster Recovery and Crisis Management Plan in place, with a sequence of persons able to take charge of the situation, evacuate people, and start the process of repairing the damage and taking steps to ensure shipment of product to customers was not interrupted. It was a lot of work, and we lost quite a lot of material, but no shipments were missed and our customers never knew we had a problem. Most of the repairs and lost materials were covered by our insurance and so the impact of what could have been a devastating disaster for the business was minimized.

In preparing your own Disaster Recovery and Crisis Management plan you may want to ask for input from a consultant in the field so you can tap into their more general knowledge and experience, and to ensure you haven’t missed anything obvious. Once you have an outline of your Disaster Recovery and Crisis Management plan, make sure you go over it with members of your staff, so they can add other ideas, but more importantly, so they know what to do if you are not there.  And, once in place, don’t forget to revisit it at least once a year with your staff to remind everyone what to do in a crisis and to refresh any parts of the plan to adapt to your changing business needs.

MP Consulting writes a weekly blog on Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Business Strategy and other Key Business Topics. Hopefully this has given you something to think about.  My goal is to make your life easier and to ensure you are as productive as possible. I hope you enjoyed this and that you will send me your comments, subscribe and link to my blog, and if you need help, or need to ask me a question, go to the Question section of my blog.

For More Information: visit my LinkedIn account.

Copyright © 2012 Mark Philip

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Create a Knockout Business Presentation To Advance Your Product, Your Strategy, or Your Company.


How many times have you sat through a PowerPoint presentation and been bored stiff? Or worst still, had no clue what they wanted or what they were talking about? If you are making a presentation to entice others to make an investment in your business, to seal a deal or sell a product for your company, nobody wants to be bored, and nobody wants to know every little detail or problem you overcame. Your goal is to impress, to get your message across, to show your business understanding, to show your strategy makes sense, or to show your product is the best.

So here are a few must do’s for your next business presentation.

1. Get to the point: What’s the bottom line? What’s the one message you want your business colleagues to walk out remembering about you or your company? You have to start and finish your presentation with this one message. If you are looking for an investment, tell them how much you need and why they should invest, in less than 30 seconds. If you are trying to seal a deal or sell them a product, tell them why in the first slide, then you can give a little detail, but then finish with a powerful image and conclusion, which includes your key message.

2. Clear, concise, stay on the point. Business presentations need to be clear and concise, easy to follow and to understand. Here’s a few rules to help:

  • 4 or 5 bullets per slide; no more than 30 words (good size font)
  • Minimize your industry and company jargon and minimize fluff.
  • Graphics: make them clear and simple to understand; don’t over complicate.
  • Images: use them to stimulate the imagination and to explain what you are talking about: “a picture’s worth a thousand words”.
  • Video: make sure it is pertinent to the business issue and edit it to say what you need. Keep it short.

3. Timing: Make sure your presentation is not too long. Whatever time you are given, leave 10 minutes or 30% of the time for questions. The number of minutes available to you after you subtract question time is the maximum number of slides you should present; in other words, no more than one slide per minute. Don’t try and pack every piece of information into the presentation.

4. Great Content: The best content is part of a story! So what is your story; what makes this message so exciting and so interesting? Don’t forget that the audience wants to hear what you have to say, but don’t try and tell them everything, let them ask if they really want to know more. Put in the important aspects that support your message and leave out the rest.

5. Practice: I don’t care how good you are or how many times you have presented, you need to practice what you are going to say in order to make sure you are getting the points across that you want to and that the presentation is clear and flows well. Try it out on some business co-workers or friends and let them critique it. Check the timing and check the facts, spelling and grammar.

6. Prepare for Questions: Define a list of questions that your audience is likely to ask of you or your company; what will be their concerns; what else might they want to know? Then set about preparing answers that are short, sharp and to the point, which will save you having to think on the spot.

A great business presentation does not happen by luck, it takes preparation, practice and the techniques I have described here. If you use these tips, you will make a knockout business presentation and leave a lasting impression.

MP Consulting writes a weekly blog on Social Media, Marketing, Leadership, Business Strategy and other Key Business Topics. Hopefully this has given you something to think about.  My goal is to make your life easier and to ensure you are as productive as possible. I hope you enjoyed this and that you will send me your comments, subscribe and link to my blog (add your email address and accept the confirmation email when you receive it) , and if you need help, or need to ask me a question, go to my blog Questions section.

For More Information: visit my LinkedIn account.

Copyright © 2012 Mark Philip

Posted in Business Leadership, Consulting, Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment