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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Preparing your sales pitch - checklist

Selling can be intimidating, but our useful checklist will help you prepare a sales pitch that will help you persuade the customer, overcome objections and close the sale

  • Find out which services or products the customer is interested in.
  • Establish your objectives. Do you want to make a sale now, or create initial interest to justify a later presentation to the decision-maker?
  • Clarify what style and length of meeting the customer wants: for example, a full presentation, a product demonstration or a short introduction to your products or service followed by a discussion.
  • Establish the key message you want the customer to take away from your presentation - the main benefit that makes your offering attractive to the customer.
  • Establish a few key points that support this message; relate your points to the customer’s needs and interests.
  • Prepare a logical argument that will convince the customer to take action: for example, book a follow-up meeting or place an initial order.
  • Anticipate any objections or questions the customer might raise; decide whether to answer these during the presentation or just have answers ready.
  • Organise your material into self-contained sections that you will be able to expand or shorten in the presentation depending on the response.
  • Prepare an introduction and conclusion to introduce the key points at the start of the presentation and to reinforce them at the end.
  • Collate any facts and evidence to support your argument: for example, product samples, brochures or customer testimonials. Make sure your samples work.
  • Prepare a first draft and read it aloud, leave it overnight and then revise it.
  • Identify and prepare any simple, relevant visual aids that will reinforce or clarify your points: for example, technical specifications, product images, PowerPoint presentations or video demonstrations showing the item in use.
  • Transfer the key points of your presentation to cards or a summary sheet and note where any visual aids will be used.
  • Rehearse your presentation until you are satisfied; consider asking colleagues for feedback or recording yourself and watching it back to identify areas that need clarifying or tightening up.
  • Identify how you will close the meeting, agree follow-up actions or ask for the sale.

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