Harry Shah is the owner of Outkreate, a digital agency specializing in presentation design for mid to large sized companies. While being a Rockstar in his own right when it comes to presentation design, Harry also has great wisdom in many areas of business development. In this episode we dive into niches, hiring for culture, and of course Harry gives some great tips on designing a presentation that will “wow” and share your information in an effective way. Make sure to listen to his “sizzle & steak” analogy for putting together presentations.
What value could a well thought and creative presentation bring?
A: Presentations are an excellent way to communicate your ideas and strategies to clients in a formal manner. Just like how a CPG company would help other companies sell products to their customers, when you have a strong presentation with a tight story and great design, you’re able to sell more effectively because your audience will understand your message.
Everyone believes they’re great at presentations. A business owner has the best knowledge of their business, therefore, they have the best content in the head and creating the story. A presentation design agency comes as a second pair of eyes to step in and help you to tighten your story. It’s important to keep in mind that most of the business people have strong knowledge of their business. They can be designed as savvy to the extent needed to create a beautiful impactful presentation.
Do not get confused with creating a beautiful presentation only! Strong design, great content always come together.
A couple of tips & the Steak sizzle plating analogy
Start your pitch with the end in mind to understand the best outcome. Knowing what comes at the end of the presentation is important as a way of being in front of clients and presenting your company and services.
The last piece is the content and your subject itself, as they should be impactful. Imagine you’re working on slides and your design is the sizzle steak. If your content isn’t there for you, then your efforts are a disservice for your audience.
Find the right audience and objective to the presentation. whether you’re talking to a senior leader, or a large group of employees, they have different needs and attention.
Lastly, in the design front there are a lot of good practices but you would want to keep your audience in mind right. For example, if you’re involved with a financial, banking or healthcare industry you would use lighter colors which exude trust and confidence. While if you’re working in a food industry, you can use a lot more colors. The idea is to create a clear and easy presentation that appeals to your audience and it can engage them to get your point across.
Finally, you should practice again and again and put in more hours that make you more confident. This would improve your delivery and great end results.
The truth: what software Harry uses as a presentation expert:
I grew up on PowerPoint. I’m a big Microsoft office nerd So for my favorite days Power Point my team and we do use google slides for our own presentations we do use google slides quite a bit.
Transition from big corporation to owning a small business and the journey of hiring different talents
Harry noted that taking on multiple roles in various industries helped him learn a lot from his mistakes, allowing him to gain valuable insight. However, he stressed that it is impossible to be perfect at everything. He argued that the key to success is to focus on a particular strength and double down on it. Initially, Harry found it difficult to relinquish the rewards he could have gained from a more general approach, but he eventually realized that specializing was actually beneficial and made it easier to market his services.
Hiring the best people with unteachable skills
You probably think of hiring rockstar designers who are excellent at technical or design skills. This is not everything for hiring someone. We cannot coach people to be a team player or have a good work ethic. We can teach them to progress and grow into a good designer. This is called a cultural fit versus design skills.
As long as a candidate holds design experience or design education and they can understand the fundamentals and design assessments, they have the potential to be a great designer. But this is not the only criteria, we need to ensure that they are the right character. You need to factor all as a team how all team members are going to work together and with clients.
Start your business with a niche or without it?
There is a strong division in business whether it is good to be in a specific niche or add it to business later. This is almost like if someone is looking for help in presentations, Harry would come in mind to refer since he is in such a specific niche. While if they ask they’re looking for a digital marketer and you might know tons of people in that area.
Once you make your mental decision and gradually you start advertising in a specific area, like bookkeeping for agencies and restaurants, you are attracting the leads in that area and you will move forward way faster.
What if you lose revenue if you just start with one niche?
At the start of your business journey, you might think that you’ll lose revenue because you’re repelling clients that are not a good fit for your company. But in truth, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You will grow revenue in other ways as others get to know your business and can start referring you to better fits. Keep going and don’t give up—your ideal clients are out there waiting for you!
A piece of advice for entrepreneurs and the journey of entrepreneurship
If you have a steady career and you’re exploring other opportunities, I would definitely try to do things on the side. For instance, if your job is in a large company, and you want to design websites or offer bookkeeping services, you can do it on the side. Get a feel for how it would be to interact with clients and work on short notice and how it is to own the entire process.
That will be a pretty big shift from corporate days and being an employee to becoming an owner of a business. We all have families and bills to take care of and you can always put the revenue first. You would put revenue profitability first and then new expenses as opposed to investing. You might end up working a bit more but it’s good to have predictability of revenue first before you hire resources before you create expenses.
“Even now, I benchmark myself. But hey I’ve been doing this for four years If I was in my corporate role what would be my salary? Am I making that much money only then I think it’s worth it to be in the business, because business comes with its own challenges as well. There’s a lot of passion but a lot of stress as well So to make it worth you just have to be honest to yourself. Otherwise, there are a lot of great companies with job opportunities and those would be less stressful in some ways.”.Harry
If you are not paying yourself, this is not a job or company for you. It’s a full time hobby. You should pay for your time and hours that you are putting in. Though you cannot start from day one and say I will go back to my previous salary and pay myself, that is obviously a work in progress. But it’s a great idea to benchmark in front of you as a long term goal.
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