Are you spending money on the right areas of your business that will make a difference in your bottom line? 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 a signature presentation, which showcase your expertise. Creating and having a visually appealing PowerPoint 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.
What is a Signature Presentation?
A signature presentation is one that contains your key message and highlights your expertise. It’s one that you can continuously deliver wherever you are, saving time and resources by having a go-to PowerPoint deck that you can use and re-package for your speaking opportunities. Having a signature presentation can create consistent brand awareness and help build rapport.
If creating visually appealing presentations is not one of your strengths, I highly recommend hiring a presentation and visualist to create or revamp your existing presentations. This person 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.
Where to Use a Signature Presentation
- Workshops / Seminars
- Guest speaking opportunities (paid and unpaid)
Pitfalls of Speakers without a Signature Presentation
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 the founder 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 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 professional stock image sites that I was willing to invest upwards of $20 – $30 per image.
How to Find Professional Stock Images
Stock image sites that I have found to have professional, good quality images, and have a good search engine (so you’re not spending hours looking for an image) include:
Beware of downloading any free images from the Internet! You want to make sure you don’t risk violating any copyrights and get sued for incorrectly using photos for your website or promotional materials. I knew a business owner who got sued for using a “free” image because his developer took an image from the Internet and used it in a blog post. The business owner took down his website for years because he wasn’t sure how many other “free” images that his developer used, and he slowly replaced every single image on his website.
Example: Before and After a Signature Presentation Make-over
Here’s an example of one of my slides before and after hiring a visualist to revamp my PowerPoint presentation:
Is the Cost of Signature Presentation Worth It?
Depending on the number of slides you have and images you’ll need, expect a professional signature presentation to cost anywhere from $800 – $1,000 and up. If you’re thinking that is way too expensive and out of your budget, consider how many times you can speak and get in front of your ideal audience. Also, keep in mind that more impactful your presentation is, the higher chances you can future speaking gigs, increase your email list, and gain new clients.
Having my book, Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur – Blueprint for Building a Solid, Profitable Business, make Amazon #1 Best Seller status and Amazon #1 Hot New Release opened the door to speaking opportunities. I received requests from professional groups, organizations, and community colleges to deliver my signature presentation, “7 Secrets to Financial Success for Small Business Owners.” I am 100% confident that I would not have received the dramatic increase in speaking opportunities without a polished signature presentation. With the paid speaking opportunities and exposure to my ideal, target audience, I saw a return on my financial investment within three speaking gigs. In addition to the monetary return, there are also the intangibles of increased exposure and getting input for future content based on audience questions and feedback.
Summary: Invest in a Signature Presentation
Bottom line – having a professionally-created and visually dynamic presentation will allow the audience to focus on you as the speaker, as opposed to the text on your slides. Hiring a visualist could save you on average eight to twelve 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.
According to Wendy Gates Corbett, founder and lead visualist at Refresher Training, LLC, “Easily at least 85% of the presentations I see have too many words on the slide and not enough powerful images.”
If you get invited and hired to be a speaker, do you have a signature presentation? Is the audience engaged during your presentation or busy reading your slides?
If you don’t current speak at events, would getting in front of your ideal audience help you grow your business? If so, have you created a signature presentation?