LoudounPreneur entrepreneurial newsletter
 Information for the Innovative, Enterprising and Brave
April 2015

Rule #1: Don't Be Boring

Ever been to a Power Point event? They have different names -- Lightning Talks, Ignite, 24x7, Pecha Kucha -- but the idea is the same. Speakers give Power Point presentations, with a hard stop at five to seven minutes, using a limited number of slides. The format forces speakers to get to the point, and to be entertaining. It's an excellent format to use any time you give a talk, especially if you're presenting to potential clients or investors. Here are five ways to make your presentations more powerful. 


1.  Don't be boring. Let your passion show. You're so passionate about your business, you've invested most of your time, money and energy into making it succeed. Enthusiasm is contagious; let yours do the selling for you.


2.  Don't make an eye chart. Don't ever put so many words on the screen that you'll have to tell your audience, "You probably can't read this." The best Power Point presentations use about seven words per line, and only three lines per slide.


3.  Say it with pictures. Think about Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update." There's a photo on the screen behind the news anchor showing what he or she is talking about. They never copy and paste the anchor's script onto the screen. Never put your script on slides and read it to the audience.


4.  Keep it short. The famous WWII speech that that says, "December 7, 1941; a day that will live in infamy" is only six minutes long. The Gettysburg Address is only three minutes long. Even that rousing speech given by a fictional president in the movie "Independence Day" is only two minutes long. Make your point powerfully and end your presentation.


5.  Leave a separate handout. Don't use your Power Point as a briefing sheet and hand out printed copies of it before you speak. This wastes everyone's time. Your audience will read ahead instead of listening to you, and then they'll pull out their smart phones and tune you out. Put your main points in a one-pager, and only hand it out at the end of your talk. 


If you want to see some of these principles in action, watch TED Talks. Here are three by marketing guru Seth Godin.

Loudoun Small Business Week

Loudoun Small Business Week is May 11-17. Join us that Monday for a special presentation by the CEO of K2M; end the week that Sunday with a tour of small businesses in Loudoun's farm community. During the week, choose from more than a dozen business-related workshops and networking events. If your organization would like to host an event for entrepreneurs during Loudoun Small Business Week, fill out the form at LoudounSBW.org.

Events and Training

1 Million Cups

Join us for six-minute presentations from Loudoun business owners. Mentor your peers by sharing your knowledge and expertise with the presenters.

Dates: April 8, 15, 22 and 29

Time: 9 - 10 a.m.

Place: Mason Enterprise Center, 202 Church Street SE, Leesburg

Cost: Free

How Content Marketing Works: Small Business Integrated Web Marketing Strategy Demystified

Learn how to bring your target audience to your website; what to do with them when they get there, and bring them closer to the "buy now" end of your sales funnel.

Date: April 23, 2015
Time: 6-8:30 PM
Place: GWU, 20101 Academic Way, Exploration Hall Rm 101, Ashburn

Cost: $25 online, $30 at the door 


Protect Your Business Against Cyber Threats

FBI and Google experts explain the threats facing America's small businesses and what you can do to keep your business safe and profitable. Advance registration required.

Date: April 24

Time: 8-10 a.m.

Place: CIT, 2214 Rock Hill Rd., Herndon

Cost: $30 members; $46 nonmembers


Art as a Business

Retail consultant Marc Wilson will help you understand the business side of selling art, including how to master the basics of merchandising.

Date: April 30

Time: 8-10 a.m.

Place: Small Business Development Center, 202 Church St. SE, Leesburg

Cost: $25 online, $30 at the door

Read It and Reap

What's Stopping You: Shattering the 9 Most Common Myths Keeping You From Starting Your Own Business by Bruce R. Barringer and R. Duane Ireland

Concise chapters introduce readers to common myths about starting a business, such as: it takes an extraordinary person; it involves a lot of risk, and it requires a lot of business experience. The book counters these worries with case studies, statistics and plenty first-hand experience. The authors are a Wall Street Journal reporter (Barringer) and a strategic management expert (Ireland). Together, they escort readers through doubts, insecurities and misconceptions about starting a business, empowering them to take the first steps toward success. Check it out from the Loudoun County Public Library.

Gut Check From a Guru

"Don't find customers for your products; find products for your customers."

-- Seth Godin