FOR YOUR BUSINESS
SOONER OR LATER, you’ll have to give a presentation. You’ll be asked to stand up in front of
other business owners at a networking meeting or
give a sales presentation to important prospects.
Perhaps you’ll have to give an oral report in school
or have to convince your town’s planning department to put up a stop sign on your corner. You’re
going to be scared. How do I know? Because in
surveys of things Americans fear most, public
speaking often tops the list.
You can learn to be an e;ective speaker even
if you have stage fright. The key is to create a plan
and a structure for each presentation so it isn’t
just a formless ;ow of facts, ;gures or opinions.
As you plan your presentation, visualize it as
a building. This building has three basic parts:
A foundation. Your opening. Gain your listeners’ attention, tell them why you’re there and
introduce your core message.
Supporting beams. Your key arguments.
Explain why your core message is true and important, giving facts and reasons for your point of view.
A roof. Your conclusion. Review your core
message and arguments, and give your listeners
a call to action.
You can add some “decoration” to your building—a story, a personal anecdote, a joke—but keep
the basic structure in mind.
As you start to develop your presentation,
ask yourself, “What do I want my listeners to
remember? What do I want them to do?” That’s
your core message. The best core messages relate
directly to the needs or interests of your listeners,
so they’ll be motivated to take the action you want.
Be sure to define your call to action. Your
call to action should point your audience in the
direction you want them to go.
Calls to action can be something you want
your listeners to:
Do. “Sign up for a year’s membership today.”
Feel. “We all need to work together to get this
done on time.”
Think. “This candidate will help our city be a
better place to live.”
Remember. “This company o;ers the best
products at the best prices.”
And remember, a little bit of fear before you
go on is perfectly normal. Even Frank Sinatra
said he had moments of stage fright before every
Scared of speaking?
BY STEPHEN SHEINBAUM
YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS equipment to
operate: maybe just a laptop, or maybe a
delivery vehicle. You might be able to use
the equipment for many years, or it might
be obsolete in ;; months. You might have to
acquire it new or pick it up from an auction.
Some equipment can be purchased outright, while others can be leased. To make
the right decision, it’s smart to consider a
It’s a great time to invest in equipment
for your business. In ;;;;, Congress made
permanent a tax deduction known as
Section ;;; (section;;;.org) that enables
K To lease or to buy?
small businesses to write off up to ;;;;,;;;
in qualifying equipment in the year in which
it is acquired, instead of depreciating it over
several years. The deduction applies to
everything from business machinery to
common software, and to equipment that
is purchased as well as leased.
Buying equipment and owning it outright is appealing for many reasons, but
three points usually drive most decisions:
;. You get an asset that can be leveraged
as collateral for a loan.
;. You can sell the equipment later and
apply the proceeds to other needs.
;. If the equipment is purchased new,
it comes with a full warranty.
Leasing’s proponents, meanwhile, cite
three arguments in its favor:
;. It can improve your cash flow.
;. It provides flexibility in meeting
demand or adjusting to new technology.
;. Leased equipment comes with a
maintenance plan, which can cut down on
Before committing to buying or leasing,
call your accountant or lawyer. For example,
a long lease can have a far different impact
on a business’s tax picture than a short one,
especially given the changes to Section ;;;.
Small-business owners should know that,
whether they are buying or leasing, funding
options from both traditional lenders and
alternative finance companies can help
them get what they need at the right terms
for their budget. C
Stephen Sheinbaum is an author, speaker
and the founder of Biz; (biz;.com), which
helps small-business owners ;nd funding.
Rhonda Abrams is the
author of ;; books, including
Successful Business Plan:
Secrets & Strategies, now
in its sixth edition. Connect
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