Many small business owners tend to spend money on the wrong things to grow and maintain their businesses. Or they don’t invest in the right products and services at the right time to create the most long-term value for their business. Spending money on a website is often one of the first, and sometimes largest, expense of a business in its start-up phase. Depending on what type of services and products that you offer and how you plan to use your website, you may be focused too much on the website and spending more money on it than you need. The one investment that I have found that can accelerate your small business success that many don’t discuss or budget in their business plan is investing in PowerPoint presentations that will showcase your expertise. Creating and having a visually appealing presentation where the audience will be engaged and focused on you as a speaker, versus the text on the slide, is a business expense that every business owner should plan and budget for, especially in the early years of the business. The speed in the return on investment will likely surprise you.
Wendy Gates, founder and lead visualist of Refresher Training, LLC, helps clients with presentation make-overs and encourages all small business owners to have what she calls a signature presentation. A signature presentation is one that you can continuously deliver, saving time and resources by having a go-to PowerPoint deck that you can use and re-package for many of your speaking opportunities. Having a signature presentation can create consistent brand awareness and results. Hiring a presentation and visualist can help save you time and money by avoiding the common mistakes that people make, including putting too much text on a slide, leaving out images, or worse, using “free” images on the Internet that are copyrighted or need attribution when used. According to Wendy, “Easily at least 85% of the presentations I see have too many words on the slide and not enough powerful images.”
Here are areas and events where you can use a signature presentation:
- Workshops / Seminars
- Guest speaking opportunities
Prior to finding out about presentation make-over services, I was given an opportunity to speak and present to a group of 15 aspiring entrepreneurs about key lessons to financial success for small business owners. I jumped at the chance, but didn’t have a signature presentation. I had to quickly create a PowerPoint deck (staying up well past midnight the night before I delivered the presentation), making all the common pitfalls, including too many slides for the allotted time that I had, too much text on a slide, and not enough powerful images that made a lasting impact. Some of the slides were hard to read from the back of the room and I found the audience was not as engaged and didn’t ask as many questions as I had hoped.
Fast forward several months later, I found out about PowerPoint redesign services through a colleague. I met with Wendy and after listening to her services, I told her that I wish that I had known someone like her had existed three months prior! I told her the story about my first delivered presentation as a small business owner and how I spent time working on something that was clearly NOT in my line of expertise (which Wendy coins the term “line of genius”) and wasted hours of time searching online for “good” images to use because I was terrified of taking free but copyrighted images, and didn’t find any good stock image sites that I was willing to invest upwards of $20 – $30 per image.
After hiring Wendy, she transformed my PowerPoint deck and used stock photos from a site called StockUnlimited, which had many relevant (and not cheesy) images with a promotion at the time for $89 for a lifetime of unlimited downloads. Now, I have a signature presentation that I am extremely proud to deliver. The first time that I used my newly minted deck was as a guest speaker for the same instructor, who invited me to speak to another group of 15 – 20 aspiring entrepreneurs. Afterwards, the instructor gave me glowing reviews, asking who helped me create the updated slides because he was impressed with how the audience was so engaged, asking questions and sharing their own examples throughout the presentation. This was a significant difference from my experience three months prior. It was obvious that my investment in hiring Refresher Training to re-do my slides was worth it.
Examples that I’d like to share with you:
After my book, Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur – Blueprint for Building a Solid, Profitable Business, made Amazon #1 Best Seller status and Amazon #1 Hot New Release, I received requests from groups and community colleges to deliver my signature presentation, “7 Secrets to Financial Success for Small Business Owners.” In addition, I am being invited as a speaker at conferences from those who have already seen my signature presentation. I am 100% confident that I would not have received the dramatic increase in speaking opportunities without my stellar signature presentation. With the paid speaking opportunities and exposure to my ideal, target audience, I will see a return on my financial investment within three presentations. In addition to the monetary return, there are also the intangibles of increased exposure and making an impact from being a speaker at conferences.
Bottom line – having a professionally-created and visually dynamic presentation will allow the audience to focus on you as the speaker, as opposed to your slides. Consider hiring someone to refresh your presentation like Wendy Gates, who saves her clients on average 8 – 12 hours per presentation. As recommended in my small business finance book, always consider what your time is worth and know when you can afford (and should) hire someone. Know your yield per hour and get results by delivering only on products and services within your area of expertise.
Curious…how many of you are proud of your PowerPoint slides and are 100% confident that it is making the impact that you want and need for your business?
If you are convinced that you need to hire someone to re-do your PowerPoint slides, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share before and after examples of your results.