Early this year, a client and friend organized a program where she gave out a grant of N500k to a business owner. Her program targets only women in business.

She invited Uche and myself to be judges to X-ray the business owners who made presentations for the grant.

We agreed to function like the judges on American Idol.

Preye was Paula Abdul.

Uche was Randy Jackson and of course, I was Simon Cowell.

We were originally set up to sit on the high table and face the crowd, but we changed the setting and sat in the front row with the audience so that everyone presenting would face the crowd.

I noticed that people were uncomfortable talking about their businesses to a crowd.

Some people froze.

Some people were fidgeting.

Some people said the wrong things.

If you are going to build a legacy business, you need to learn how to make presentations.

You need to acquire the skill of public speaking.

You need to also know a few things about your business:

1. KNOW YOUR HISTORY, and be able to narrate it. Your backstory is important.

People want to know how you started, and how you got to where you are.

There’s always a story.

Learn how to tell yours.

2. HAVE PROOF OF CONCEPT: Details of how your business has made progress.

Nobody wants to invest or listen to anyone who hasn’t demonstrated any kind of progress.

“We started at X now we are at Y”.

3. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: In the end, business is about numbers. Sales, Revenue, Costs, Customer data, future projections.

Investors want to know that you know your numbers.

This is also a sign that you are serious about your business, and you can manage money.

4. KNOW WHAT YOU WILL DO WITH THE MONEY, and how it will affect your business.

Exact details of how you intend to spend the money, and how it will affect your business.

5. IS THERE COMPETITION? In most cases, you will always have competition, so don’t try to impress anyone by saying there is no competition.

Do your research.

Who are they? What are they doing and how will you be different from them? You should know this.

6. YOUR TEAM. The people who work for you will also be as important as your product or service.

Your people give your business more credibility. Know the expertise of your team.

If you are alone, talk about those you will need and how you intend to hire them.

There’s always more to share, but these should help.

Nnamdi Ibe