It's about that time again for me to work with a few companies on their presentations to investors, which I do monthly. What better time to give a few presentation tips?
- One Presenter...the right one: Dozens of times I've seen companies attempt to give a presentation of virtually any length by doing a "hand-off" from the CEO to the VP of Sales for example. I've NEVER seen it work.
I recommend that any start-up choose the best presenter on the executive team to give the presentation. The CEO pretty much has to be there, but they don't have to speak. They can answer questions if necessary. This is particuarly true with earlier stage companies because the founder is typically the CEO and is atypically anything close to Tom Peters.
Bottom line: You want to give it your best shot when presenting. Take it by letting your best presenter present and if there are others who need to pitch in, let them do so during Q&A, not by fumbling an ill-advised hand-off.
- Financials: I'm a CPA, MBA, etc., etc. There is only one thing you can say about financials with any type of absolute certainty: EVERY NUMBER IS WRONG!
It only matters how wrong they are and are they consistent with the story you are telling. For me, I prefer to stick with 3-5 years of revenue projected in a bar graphy. I also like, where applicable, a box on the slide showing a few pieces of relevant pricing data.
I am not a big fan of putting in expenses and detailed margin information. I understand that the topic will be addressed beyond all reasonable limits throughout due diligence so you do need a financial model. However, when the Q&A for a start-up presentation gets into the land of margins except at the very highest of levels, you are wasting your precious time.
If they do, however, ask questions about the financials, I recommend to my clients that they say:
"I'm thrilled that you are convinced on our business model so completely that the discussion is primarily financial at this point. I'll address your question at a top level now and will be happy to share much more details on the model during your due diligence"
Pretty straightforward way to keep things on track. For more info on me and my company, check out my website.