10 Tasks You Can Ask Your Business Support Company to Assist You With

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If you are a startup or a small business and are thinking of using a business support company but you have no idea what sort of tasks they can help with, then this blog post is for you!

Many founders feel overwhelmed with the amount of tasks and admin involved when setting up their business (and throughout the growth stages). By hiring a business support company, some of these tasks can be handed over freeing up your time to concentrate on the key elements of the business.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a good indication on the range of support available. There may even be some you are surprised at!

1 – Email Management

Emails are the preferred method of communication by many people and there is an expectation for responses to be timely. If someone is interested in your product or service, then the last thing you want is for their communication to be lost in the sea of emails in your inbox!

A business support company can help by managing the inbox, responding to any emails and flagging any that need your attention

2 – Calendar Management

As a founder (or as a team), your diaries may seem incredibly busy with client meetings and sales pitches. By having a business support company assist with your appointment making they can ensure that meetings are arranged factoring in travel, personal appointments and length needed for that type of request. This should then leave your days running smoother and more efficiently.

3 – HR Onboarding

If you are lucky enough to be hiring then it could be worth asking for assistance on the onboarding steps needed for a new hire. This can include assisting with the employee contracts, documentation and welcome packs needed before their start date.

4 – Invoicing & Payroll

Being paid and making payments (to suppliers and staff) is a very key element of any business but sometimes this can be pushed to the side. Ask your business support company to help manage this by them creating and chasing your invoices on your behalf. They may even be able to assist in payroll and things like employee pensions.

5 – Operational Onboarding

If you are in an industry such as Service as a Software (SaaS) then you may have many operational onboarding steps in order to get a client up and running.

A business support company, like ourselves, can assist in the steps required and means that your clients have a consistent and positive customer journey from the onset.

6 – Implementation and Streamlining of Processes

Setting up processes early on is key as it helps you work more consistently and efficiently. This will impact the way customers view your organisation. By working more efficiently, you also allow more time on sales and the elements of growth for your business.

7“Office Management” 

This can be anything from ordering goods and stationery for the office to organising events for the team (birthdays, incentive trips, hotel and travel booking etc).

8 – Organisation 

When you started your business you may have found that organising your documents, Drive and emails were not high on the list but now you feel stressed whenever you need to find something! The business support team can help put everything into a logical place and order which can help you be more efficient. This should help bring your blood pressure back down.

9 – PA Tasks

This falls under the more traditional things you may first think of when considering a business support company or virtual assistant. These tasks do include some of the earlier tasks of calendar and email management but on a more individual basis of the founder rather than for the company as a whole.

Tasks could also include research such as new office space, energy or telecommunication deals.

10 – Squad Goals

This is not necessarily a task you would ask for when searching for a business support company but we thought it was important to highlight companies such as ourselves are invested in your business too. We want you to succeed and for your business to grow!

We will work with you to make sure you excel at what you do.

Ada Obi10 Tasks You Can Ask Your Business Support Company to Assist You With
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Our Top 5 Working from Home Tips for Maximum Productivity

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With the current situation many of us are now finding ourselves working from home for the first time. We are very lucky to have great flexibility and many of our team are working from home at least one day a week so we wanted to share some of our tips with you.

1 – Have a workstation

 If you are able to, then try to set up a workstation within your home. This could be a desk in a spare room, the dining room table or we have even seen people selling “isolation stations” for those who need their office on their lap!

With many people having to juggle work and childcare you may need to work in the lounge to keep an eye on the kids. If this is the case, then try to make sure you have your allocated spot on the sofa with all your essential items around you.

Explain to your children that you are working and set boundaries for when they can ask questions so you are not being interrupted too much.

2 – “Walk” to work

So with home working our commute has gone out the window (we love the photos of Londoners using their shower rails as pretend handrails for the tube!) but we should still make sure we are being active! Perhaps in your usual commute time you can go for a walk (if you are able to). If this is not an option you could do some yoga or a fitness video from YouTube; Joe Wicks is currently being P.E teacher to the nation at 9am Monday – Friday and we have been joining in with our children!

This allows you time to do some exercise and get yourself motivated for the day.

3 – Make sure to take a break

When working from home it is essential that you still take regular breaks and move from your “desk”. Perhaps set an alarm for certain times of the day for a coffee break and lunch. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day and try to stick to normal routines in terms of the food you eat for lunch. Snacking at home can become a bad habit so if you used to take a packed lunch to work, try to have the same things when at home. Have some healthy snacks near your desk for when temptation hits.

4 – Stay in touch

Although we are social distancing we can all still stay in touch. We use Slack for team messages and for sharing questions, updates and general chat. We also have a Google Hangouts call with everyone on a Wednesday morning so we can run through our week so far and discuss things on a group call.

Staying in touch doesn’t have to be all business either. We have a weekly “game” slot to play a quiz together. Other companies have been doing their own MTV Cribs and virtual pub on a Friday. It’s a great time to get creative with how to have fun on a virtual basis.

5 – Switch off

Sometimes the problem with working from home is that people struggle to switch off once their working day is over.

In a report from Buffer and AngelList on The 2020 State of Remote Work, 18% of people said they couldn’t unplug. It is important to still have the distinction of work and home life. The workstation in point 1 will help here as well as communication. Say goodbye to your work colleagues on work messages when you are logging off like you would in the office. They then know you have finished and your workday has ended.

We hope this will help with working from home. As with all new things, find what works best for you and don’t be afraid to adapt if you need to but just remember to cover the key basics.

Ada ObiOur Top 5 Working from Home Tips for Maximum Productivity
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Things to Consider When Expanding Your Team as a Startup

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Expanding your team as a startup or small business is not an easy job. According to a recent CB Insights study, 23% of startups fail because they do not have the ideal team to run a business. If growth is your business’s objective, it is vital that you choose the right people for it. A startup should be aware of the critical areas of their business. For a startup’s growth, the strategy, finance, human resource, product/brand design and development, research and development, and operations are essential.

Build a strong team

Growth is possible only if you have a good team to back you up. Hiring people that can help bring creativity and ideas to the table is always a good idea. Hiring people who also get the job done and are willing to be flexible in their role is essential for the early stages of growth of your business.

If you are considering fast paced growth within the business and team then it is worth considering hiring someone senior with experience to help like a Finance or Operations Director. They can help then support you with business decisions and plans.

Retention is then also key. It is all well and good expanding your team and getting the best people but useless if you then can’t keep hold of them. Help build a company culture from the early days. Show that you care and offer perks. These don’t necessarily have to be monetary; it could be flexibility with working hours or location for example.

Focus on your business functions

When expanding your team, your strategists should always determine whether that particular time is ideal for you to grow.  Performing a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) will allow you to understand your ideas better. Moreover, financing is integral to the growth of your business. Since your business is relatively small in size, you might need loans. On top of that, finance is important for forecasting and budgeting purposes too. When hiring people, you need to make sure that they possess sufficient knowledge regarding business.

Most people tend to ignore the area of research and development when expanding their startups. Your startups and small business will only grow if you work on your ideas well.

Think of your future roles

Expanding your business might be a good idea, but you need to see whether it is even in line with your business objective. There is no point in growth if your strategy fails to help you reach your ultimate goal. For this purpose, you need to know what your organisation chart must look like in the future. Thinking long-term is, therefore, the key. Always check whether your decisions blend well with the structure of the organisation as well as the relative ranks of its departments.

Is it best to hire or outsource?

You need to consider whether hiring employees of your own would benefit your business’s growth or outsourcing would be a better idea.

If you are finding you have too much work but not sure if you are in a position to hire then companies such as ADAVIRTUAL Business Support could be an option. By offering hourly rates as well as monthly retainer packages businesses can utilise the expertise and time of the team with the flexibility of increasing or decreasing the workload as business needs demand.

In most cases, small businesses or startups prefer to outsource during growth because they tend to avoid issues like sick pays, workplace pensions, holidays, etc.

However, it is for you to choose what option is the least costly for your business.

Ada ObiThings to Consider When Expanding Your Team as a Startup
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The 80/20 Percent Rule and Why You Need to Know It

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You might have heard of the 80/20 percent rule in your lives. But what is it? Even though it sounds like a statistical term that is boring, the 80/20 percent rule is essential for everyone, especially every entrepreneur. The good news is that you don’t have to understand its statistical implications to be a follower. In this article, we will tell you about the 80/20 percent rule and how using it can change your lives! So read this article and grasp the most that you can to increase your key clients and your sales. 


What is the 80/20 percent rule?

The 80/20 percent rule is also known as the Pareto principle. According to the Pareto principle, 80 percent of your outcome is from 20 percent of your inputs. It doesn’t make a difference what numbers you pick. There are few activities you perform (20 percent) that result in the majority (80 percent) of your satisfaction and outputs. You might have expected the numbers to be the other way round (20 percent of your activities produce 80 percent of rewards) which, too, is true because there are many activities you perform that generate your income.


Why is it key to know for my business?

If you’re an entrepreneur seeking to increase your sales and key clients, you must know the Pareto principle. According to the Pareto principle, 80% of sales come from 20% of clients. When operating a business, keep in mind to focus on key clients who make up the most of your income. You should regard them as valuable customers since they contribute to your incomes majorly.  Therefore, your business should organise sales in a way where your key clients are attracted to your products and services more. 

The Pareto principle also applies to your employees.  You should work hard on workers who work hard for your business and remove the worst ones. Similarly, forget the bad clients and narrow down your focus to key clients. Make sure that they are happy, and your business will thrive! 

Apply the 80/20 percent rule to your personal lives

Even though the Pareto principle is helpful for many businesses, you shouldn’t restrict its use there. Every individual seeking a healthy lifestyle should adopt this strategy. In life, one should focus on tasks that generate the best results. Before doing anything else, you must decide what your passion is. Once you’ve selected your passion, your path to long-term success will be easy and fun. However, remember to focus on getting the maximum satisfaction from it regularly rather than claiming that you’re still working on it. That is what the Pareto principle talks about! Remember, your satisfaction matters a lot more than your profession. Analyse your lives, and you’ll see how the 80/20 percent rule can help you. Identify your main happiness determinants and manage those to make your daily activities happen in a flow. You won’t waste time on 80 percent of activities that don’t satisfy you. 

Ada ObiThe 80/20 Percent Rule and Why You Need to Know It
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Tips on Conducting a Job Interview

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Conducting a job interview can be a tricky process for a business, especially when you want to expand. Hiring the right people is a must for your business’s success.

Remember that your candidates are assessing your office’s professional environment as much as you’re deciding whether hiring them is an option or not. Potential candidates, therefore, will also determine whether working for you is the best option for them or not during an interview. In this article, we will provide you with a few practical tips regarding conducting a job interview so that your interview processes run as smoothly as they possibly can!

Preparation

If you think getting a date in the diary for the interview and a piece of paper with 2 or 3 questions will get you through the hiring process, you’re wrong. Organise yourself before getting started. You should have a list of key questions for your candidates, which you can also expand more during the interview process. What does your ideal candidate look like? Not just in terms of qualifications but also as a fit for your business and the existing team. Moreover, make sure you have all the CV’s and cover letters with you to refer back to.

Interview Location

It is imperative to have a professional environment when conducting interviews. Make sure you carry it out in a quiet place that is free of distractions. This will also help you in the decision making process as your head will be clear, and you’ll be more focused.

Overview

When conducting interviews, most candidates do not know exactly what the business expects from them. So, ensure that you provide the candidates with an overview of your business, the team, their role in the company, and what an ideal candidate looks like to you. The candidates will then become clear about the interview process and what will be expected from them should they be successful in getting the role.

Designing questions

You need to think carefully about the questions you ask. Asking questions that will give you one-word answers will not get you anywhere. Even hiring your ideal candidates out of such interviews may not get you the best candidates. The key is to ask open-ended questions. It will make candidates talk more about themselves and enable you to explore their personality in more detail. At the same time, you will understand their thought process and know where they stand in terms of their capability. Also remember that interviews are not just about you asking the candidates questions. Allow the candidates to pose their own questions to you too. At the same time, make sure you fully address all the queries they have, either during the interview or at a specified later date if it needs exploring further.

Follow up

Candidates perceive your business as professional if you inform them about the upcoming steps (for instance, a second interview) as well as when you will be making hiring decisions. Therefore, make sure that you have assigned proper dates for decisions to be made. If you continue to lag and keep your candidates uninformed, they become less interested in joining you and an ideal candidate may slip through your fingers.

Conclusion

Prepare yourself! Book a quiet room away from distractions for the interview. Prepare open-ended questions that bring out your candidates personality as well as discusses their skills for the role. Then, make sure you act timely! Your ideal candidate may be someone else’s too and if you delay too long they may find an opportunity elsewhere.

 

Ada ObiTips on Conducting a Job Interview
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The Importance of Testimonials

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Testimonials are statements that are issued by customers or clients that you have had contact with. They can include the type of experience they had with your business and can be used to improve the credibility and trustworthiness of your business. Testimonials are basically a proof of the promises you make to your perspective clients.

In the business world, word of mouth is the strongest tool. One bad review from client or a customer can completely shatter the entire years-long built up reputation of a business. Whether you’re a start-up or a fully established business operating for years; word of mouth is what your success depends on. Therefore, it is important for business owners and managers to pay special attention to the generation and use of testimonials. If used effectively, they can be one do the most powerful tools that you can use to strengthen your business’s brand image.

Testimonials and Marketing

Testimonials and product reviews may not seem like an important marketing tool to many people, but once they are out to the use that they were invented for, they can work miracles. A good product review can help build credibility and trust in the minds of your potential customer base. The customer journey comprises of many steps before the final purchase is made and whether a customer makes it through the whole journey or not depends on the level of trust they have on the business. Customers that have experienced your product or service and have been satisfied can help with the building of that trust through testimonials. When potential buyers go through the product reviews and know that other people like them have been satisfied by doing business with your company, they are more likely to then go ahead with the purchase.

On the other hand, testimonials are also used by most businesses to connect with their audience on an emotional level. Research has shown that while making buying decisions, customers are more likely to be driven by emotion than by reason. Companies use this tool to be in a better position to persuade potential customers to buy their product through the use of happiness, laughter, excitement, or sadness.

Stories

Similarly, when we talk about connecting with the potential customer, there is another way that businesses use testimonials effectively. The buyers that have done business with a company have particular stories; about how they came to know about the product, how they bought it, how they started using it, etc. These stories are what the testimonials are built upon and these are what make them even more relatable for your potential customers. Narrative stories are, in fact, one of the most influential factors that affect the human mind and the use of them in testimonials is what makes them so effective.

Conclusion

The use of testimonials and/or product reviews is highly efficient tool in the marketing process which, if used properly, can help a business garner great success. Make sure to make the review posting process for your customers as easy and convenient and possible and you will be surprised at how easily your branding efforts can reap rewards.

Ada ObiThe Importance of Testimonials
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How can PR help my business?

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Maintaining public relations are one of the most impactful ways of creating awareness about small businesses. Most small businesses do not have sufficient marketing budgets needed to boost their brand. However, public relations are ideal if your business has a stretched budget as often it will cost you nothing but time. Moreover, PR also increases your credibility as a business as other people recommend your business to their fellows. So, if you have a small business and want to raise awareness about it, public relations are best for you. In this article, we will tell you how PR can help your business flourish.

1) PR raises awareness

As a small business, you would like to be known by more people. Public relations are ideal if you want to create awareness about your business. By creating an effective PR strategy, people will be willing to talk about you and potential customers will learn more about you through the mouths of people whom they trust. It means that you have higher chances of gaining not only customers but customers who are loyal to you.

You can also broaden your piece of PR. For instance, if your business is in a local paper for winning an award, you can upload your achievement on social media, or make it a part of your e-mail signature. Also don’t forget to mention it during those all-important sales calls to maximise on the opportunity.

2) Increases your credibility

Marketing can be a tricky process. Businesses can spend endlessly on advertising and raising awareness but still not get enough clients, which implies that marketing isn’t just about creating awareness, it is also about developing credibility too.

It is not enough to say that you are credible, credibility cannot be created alone. But by being referenced in a well-known newspaper or magazine, for example, your business can suddenly seem more trustworthy and convincing to your potential clients. Suddenly people will talk more about your business and help do the job of gaining more business and loyal customers for you.

A small business, therefore, doesn’t necessarily need a huge marketing budget in order to become successful. All you have to do is make sure you create and then sustain your PR strategy.

 3) Attracts investors

Public relations can help you attract more investors, which is beneficial for new business. If you plan your public relations strategy carefully to make sure that it generates positive feedback, you’ll be in a better negotiating position with your investors and can help you get more funds. You can use these funds to help your business become successful!

4) Attracts workers

PR can also attract more employees to your business. It proves that your business operates in a professional environment. More skilled, qualified, and experienced employees will want to be a part of your business. It will help your business become even better and improve it in terms of its operations. Therefore, excellent PR benefits your business both internally as well as externally.

In conclusion, PR is a key marketing strategy for new businesses since it can be a cheap, effective, and fundamentally easy way to promote your business!

Ada ObiHow can PR help my business?
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4 Tips For Networking Success

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For many people networking can seem a daunting and time-consuming thing. We have all been busy in the office and the thought of spending a couple of hours mingling with strangers hasn’t seemed a top priority. However, networking is key to business. For a new business to have opportunities in the future, to grow and meet all its aims, it must have some form of networking. This way, the opportunities become unlimited. Although, one thing is for sure that when done for the first time, networking can seem challenging. To excel, you can follow some of our top tips.

1. Make sure that you know your market fully

You must know where your business has the most clients so you can focus more on the events which are occurring at that place. If all your clients are mainly based in London, is it worth your time and money going to local events near to the office in Birmingham, for example?

2. Use a bit of trial and error

There are many different types of networking events and you need to find the ones that best suit both you and your business. From breakfast and lunch events, evening dinner clubs, to speed dating style networking there are many events that can fit around your business needs and your personal preference.

There will, of course, be some events that might not turn out too well but that’s nothing to worry about because if you are new at it, you’re a destined to make mistakes. The key is to learn from them. As you keep going to events you will notice that you will slowly be able to familiarise the type of events that suit your business and the ones that don’t work for you. This way you can also make fewer errors and save yourself time by only being at the ones more suitable for you.

3. Don’t forget the business cards

It may seem such a simple thing, but many people rush out the door and forget to bring them or if you are just starting out you may not even have any printed yet. This is something that you cannot skip out because nobody has the time to listen to your details and note them down. You as a business must make sure that you are on your A-game and represent your business in the best way.

4. Be patient

Networking isn’t instant. If you are going to gain leads and build connections with potential clients, then you must remember to be patient and that these things take time. Just because you attended one event and didn’t come away with a lead doesn’t mean it failed. You have started to build a relationship and are spreading the word about your business.

Networking can be beneficial in other ways too. Being able to speak to people in different industries and finding commonalities and how they tackle challenges can be highly valuable to your business too.

Ada Obi4 Tips For Networking Success
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Things To Consider When Creating A Marketing Plan

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A marketing plan is a comprehensive and detailed report written on marketing objectives and the marketing strategy to be used in the coming financial year. The business activities outlined in this plan help an organization in working towards the accomplishment of its objectives in a certain time period. When you are a business startup or a small business, it is imperative to understand the importance of having a marketing plan and even more essential to have one in place as well. Without pre-defined goals and clear directions, you cannot hope to achieve your desired target. Hence, forgetting a marketing plan is not an option!

Below are some factors mentioned that you, as a business aiming for success, need to consider when creating a marketing plan.

What is your Unique Selling Point (USP)? 

A unique selling point or proposition is what makes your business stand out in the eyes of a viewer or customer. It is something that your business stands for and that sets you apart from other businesses, making you unique. Having USP’s is a must for businesses as advertisements and promotions are going to feature and highlight it, making them known for that specific quality. Therefore, first of all you should be identifying your USP, followed by utilizing it in your marketing plan to develop suitable promotions and advertisements.

Who is your customer/target market? 

Customers are one of the most valued stakeholders of a business as they are the ones who are being targeted with your goods and services. Therefore, you need to have a clear picture of your target market and the persona of your potential customers; extensive primary research will need to be carried out to define the characteristics (qualitative and quantitative) of your customers. Detailed information about customers will give your marketing team a clear cut picture of the people your business is looking to appeal and will consequently aid in structuring more precise objectives and strategies.

What challenges do you face when selling and how can you overcome/address these? 

Small businesses and startups face a lot of competition in their initial stages. To overcome obstacles you encounter on your road towards achieving your objectives, you need to first identify the challenges you face and the areas you lack in. Once you are through with analyzing your current situation and the identification stage, you need to think about solutions you can work towards by working on your marketing mix. This analysis will provide great help when drawing out marketing objectives and strategies, making them more comprehensive and relevant.

Which channels will work best for you? 

Channels of distribution are pathways through which the products or services of a business are made accessible to the end customer. Choosing the best channels is critical as these will greatly affect your position in the competitive market and aid convenience for your customers. Once the channels have been chosen and cleared out, the marketing team will be in a better place to draw out specific goals and strategies related to them.

What is your marketing budget?

This is one of the most critical factors affecting your marketing objectives and strategies, as the budget will set the benchmark for your marketing spending. With a pre-set value for this budget, marketing managers and directors will be able to think about solutions and activities allowed by their budget. As a result this will undoubtedly save time and effort which would’ve been wasted otherwise if the budget would’ve been evaluated later.

How can technology help? 

There have been great technological advancements over the years, aiding marketing activities (promotions, advertisements) greatly. You need to figure out ways in which modern technology (Internet, social media, emails, text messages, online sponsorships) can make the implementation of your strategies more effective and efficient and allow you to reach a larger target audience.

Time frame – set goals and deadlines for your business 

While setting goals, you need to make sure that they aren’t vague or irrelevant and your deadlines are realistically achievable in the time frame you have chosen. Realistic and relevant goals will help you in formulating a marketing plan that serves as a motivator for your entire marketing team. Furthermore, it gives them a sense of direction and a pathway to follow, without which no team can hope of achieving their final objectives efficiently.

Ada ObiThings To Consider When Creating A Marketing Plan
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The PowerPoint 10/20/30 Rule for Winning Sales Presentations

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As a support business, one of the services we provide is working with our clients to create sales presentations which have helped them in winning big deals and acquiring key customers. One of the reasons that our presentations work well is because we have taken some tips from one of our business icon – Guy Kawasaki.

Kawasaki is a Silicon Valley based marketing specialist and venture capitalist who also writes a blog. He has come up with a great formula for the perfect PowerPoint presentation. He explains that he came up with this idea after observing hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their companies to him.

On his blog he admits that most of the pitches he has to listen to are not worth his while and, that going through sixty slides about a startup acts as a catalyst for his tinnitus, an illness he suffers, which causes a constant ringing in his ears starts.

Kawasaki puts a little humor to the situation and says that, “To prevent an epidemic of Ménière’s in the venture capital community, I am evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. While I’m in the venture capital business, this rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.”

So what is this 10/20/30 rule exactly? What does it mean and how can you as an entrepreneur use it in your own company to win business deals? Read on to find out.

Ten Slides

The ideal number of slides in any PowerPoint presentation is ten. This is because a normal person cannot understand more than ten concepts at a time. If for some reason you need to use more than ten slides for your pitch, you probably don’t have a successful business. The ten topics of interest are:

  • Problem
  • Your solution
  • Business model
  • Underlying magic/technology
  • Marketing and sales
  • Competition
  • Team
  • Projections and milestones
  • Status and timeline
  • Summary and call to action

Twenty Minutes

These ten slide should be explained in twenty minutes. That means two minutes for each slide. Even if you have an hours’ time slot, it is better to leave the extra time to configure the laptop with a projector and any questions and answers after the presentation.

Thirty-Point Font

A number of presentations you see today have a standard ten-point font. This is obviously done to cram in as much text as possible into one slide. People think that loading all the information they have into one presentation is a good move. It’s really not. Since there are low chances that the presenter will have it all memorized, they often read from the slides. Once the audience realizes that the presenter is reading, they read it themselves to save time. The result is simple: the presenter and the audience are not in sync. Always use a thirty point font.

So if you want to pitch your presentation successfully, practicing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint will help keep your audience’s attention focused and get your pitch to the point.

You can find a link to Kawasaki’s very helpful blog here

Ada ObiThe PowerPoint 10/20/30 Rule for Winning Sales Presentations
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