If it’s appropriate to thank the host organization or the program organizer, by all means do so, particularly if you’d like to be invited back. An e-mail message the next day is OK, but a hand written thank-you note has more impact. You might also ask that person how they felt the presentation went.
If possible, ask someone who was there for a critique. He or she may view the presentation differently than you do. What was it like from the audience perspective? Was your message clear and concise? Were there other things that should have been addressed?
If you have access to a means of recording your speech, record it and listen critically to the playback. Are you using good vocal dynamics? Are you speaking too slowly or too fast? Are the pauses in the right places?
Even if there’s no formal Q&A following your presentation, you should always be prepared for questions that may arise. You might need to answer some clarifying questions as you go along. If you’ve done your homework and know your subject, you should be able to predict the likely questions.
What is the purpose of your speech? Do you want to inform or persuade? What message do you want to impart? Try to summarize your central message in one to three sentences. If you can’t do that, you need to further refine the message. Keep it concise and to-the-point.
One way to prove the company’s viability is through the “lean start-up” process. The company grows from concept to start-up with limited funding to prove its core hypothesis, seeking full funding later. You might test the market cheaply by selling an early version of your product, pre-selling it, or giving free samples. This evidence can eliminate some investment risk and make your business more compelling for investors.
Most attractive business plans show growth, and keeping up with growth can be hard. What is the company’s operating plan? Can the team handle product line expansion and growth? There is no point in having a better mousetrap if, once the world starts beating the path to your door, you can’t deliver it!
Most funders think the capabilities of the team are among the most important predictors of success, so it’s critical that your plan describe their capabilities and experience in detail. Other company resources such as staff, facilities, or websites can always be added or changed as required, but success will depend on capable leaders.
You might need additional research on markets, technology or competitors. You may want help putting together financial reports and projections. You might need legal advice on the best way to structure your business. The experts are there if you need them. You may also be able to get help at no cost from government agencies, industry associations, trade groups, or other sources.
Imagine building a house without a plan—chaos! Producing a plan will sharpen your concepts, reveal gaps in your plans, organize your data and information, point out areas needing attention, and provide structure for company operations. View it as a “sanity check.” Producing a plan is a useful discipline and worth the effort.