I’ve been working with Interdimensional Games for a couple of years now. Amongst other things, I am motivated by the use of story in the game and how every player’s journey through the game is their own story. Take a look at the kickstarter campaign and consider giving us your support …
Courtesy of my domain name service I was reminded this weekend that financialstoryteller.com has just turned 5 years old. So it makes sense if I actually get around to posting something to bring in the new year. As usual on a Sunday morning I was reading various things when an idea popped into my mind. Why not represent student grades as a city skyline. At the same time I discovered a new service called present.me which is what I used for what follow below. Take a look at the below and let me know what you think in the comments.
I’ve met a dozens of budding entrepreneurs over the last few years. Many of them either have or want to write a business plan. To some extent this is not surprising.
Many of the entrepreneurs are students and there is no shortage of academic courses which teach students how to write a business plan. This spans both undergraduate and postgraduate courses – most MBA programs have it as a core competency.
The problem I see is that a business plan is as much use to an entrepreneur as a chocolate teapot! Quit avoiding the issue by churning out a dead tree of static and waffle and DO something useful instead. Something like talk to an actual or potential customer.
Steve Blank captures my thoughts about this well in a recent post.
The business plan is a wonderful document for organizing and planning for existing companies to launchfollow-on products. In an existing corporation, the business plan is theexecution document for sustaining innovation.
But for startups, business plans fail to match the chaotic reality they encounter in the real world.
The reality is that startups needed anew class of management tools. Tools to help them manage the search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
Alexander Osterwalder’s 2010 book Business Model Generation is now the definitive text on Business Models.
It introduces the business model canvas – a one page picture of your business model and to a large extent your business. I’ve used it countless times over the last couple of years and learn something new every single time.
As an aside there is a new book called Business Model You which takes the original idea and applies it to your life. I made a small contribution to this book which gets my name in print. Now I need a business plan to really make this work for me!
Next week I will be running a workshop on presentation skills and pitching for our clients at SFU Venture Connection. For many entrepreneurs pitches and presentations revolve around the slides. Whilst I will be talking about slides during the workshop the real focus will be on the story.
Slides are merely a tool which should, to paraphrase Seth Godin, reinforce the story the presenter is telling, not repeat it. Many entrepreneurs struggle with the whole pitching, presenting piece. However, contrary to what many of them think, this is not because they have poor slides. It’s because they don’t know their own story.
Garr Reynolds has been talking about this for years, but his latest book gives the game away in the title! The Naked Presenter . In other words, what would your pitch/presentation be like if you didn’t have any slides? Can you still communicate your story and get the key points across?
When it comes to presentations one of the old favourites is practice practice practice. Practice is important because it really helps you learn your own story and learn it in a form which is hopefully more digestible to your audience. With the right structure you should be able to clearly tell your story. You can use the word ‘message’ for ‘story’ if the language isn’t working for you.
This means you can use your slides in a very different way. They can be used connect with your audience. Done well, this is emotional and nearly always driven by image. This is applies even when the audience has a clear expectation for slides – telling your story is going to be the most successful approach.
Ultimately, investors are looking to invest in you. Some may be impressed by your ability to deliver slides but it’s more likely they are looking for a compelling reason to buy into your story, and make it part of their own.