Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Patti Schutte, Founder and CEO of Be Brilliant Presentation Group, located in Bethesda, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Be Brilliant Presentation Group is a presentation coaching and services business. We provide presentation design and delivery coaching and presentation design services to individual professionals, business teams, and conferences.
Our mission is to build business leaders into brilliant presenters so they ditch their nerves, stop leaving their presentations to chance, and gain a powerful edge over their competition. This transformation allows them to expand their influence and leadership and bring in tens or even hundreds of thousands extra each year.
Tell us about yourself
I didn't intend to start a presentation coaching business; my business found me. In 2011, a colleague who was an Event Manager for a large international conference was desperately brainstorming on how to improve her speakers' presentations. She knew she needed to increase the value of the content being presented or risk another year of poor survey results and missing registration goals. She had seen me in action and knew my coaching approach was efficacious. In a poignant conversation, she said, "You're the best I've seen. I need you to train my speakers via webinars and 1-on-1 virtual coaching sessions. My conference speakers must be better presenters! We have to deliver better content." And that's what I did. Early on, by word of mouth only, I expanded into providing presentation design and delivery coaching and services to individuals and businesses too. As the business grew, I added coaches and staff and transitioned the company to Be Brilliant Presentation Group.
The business world is drowning in forgettable presentations that do not generate results. I leap to my desk each day to help as many professionals as possible understand the presentation tasks they should stop doing and the ones they should be doing instead. I am passionate about transforming presentation design and delivery skills from boring to brilliant. It is my joy to empower everyone we coach to be confident in their natural presenting strengths and learn how to leverage them for maximum impact in front of any audience in any setting.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Wow ... this is a tough one. A story that stands out is I was working with a conference keynote speaker who had never presented at a conference before; not only was this going to be his first conference presentation, but he had to deliver it on the main stage in front of thousands of people. He was so nervous. We held several sessions designing his presentation and held practice sessions before the event and onsite. I was like a proud mom watching him deliver his presentation brilliantly. Later, I had numerous conference leaders and attendees comment on his great presentation, but most importantly, the joy on his face knowing he knocked it out of the park keeps me working day in and day out.
Another time I was working with a presenter, English was her second language, and she was presenting complicated data for their crowdsourcing app. She was concerned about how to tell her data story in a way that was simple for the audience to understand and allowed her the freedom to tell the story using English words she was most comfortable speaking. With each coaching session, her confidence grew, and the initial stressed, tense look on her face and in her voice relaxed more and more each time we worked together. What I didn't realize until we talked after the presentation was she had taken some Toastermaster classes, which I love anything Toastmaster, and congratulated her on doing so. What she said next surprised me, "Your coaching is like Toastmasters on steroids!" I was humbled and appreciative of her compliment.
These are two stories of hundreds, and the biggest accomplishment is taking someone who feels overwhelmed, nervous, and anxious about presenting and, in a few sessions transforming them into comfortable, confident, and certain.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Building a sustainable sales funnel and keeping up with the noise on all the social platforms.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Work through a monetization plan with backup options if your product, service, or solution doesn't resonate with your target market as you had hoped.
- If you are a solopreneur, don't think you can do it all alone. Identify your strengths (the things you love to do) and your weaknesses (the things you don't like to do or drain your energy) and figure out a game plan to spend as much time as possible on your strengths and delegate or outsource your weaknesses.
- Get serious about running a business. What systems do you need? CRM? Financial system? Automation? What is your tech stack? Like your monetization plan, you need a plan for how everything will seamlessly flow.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
In my experience, running my business comes with the highest of highs and satisfaction and also the lowest of lows and defeat. Extending self-compassion, asking for help, having a community of like-minded business owners, and moving forward, even if at a turtle's pace, are all part of the world of being a business owner. Embrace it, accept it with a smile, and keep going!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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