You’ve identified that your company is going to benefit from investing in some new technology or software. But how do you get approval from the board of directors or your boss?
A lot of team managers, IT consultants, and entrepreneurs face this challenge frequently. In order to solve a business challenge, it’s imperative this new technology is invested in. This might be a new product that’ll generate more revenue, software that’ll satisfy customers’ needs, or IT service management software that’ll improve internal operations.
However, bosses or directors aren’t always keen to invest in new technology. You may be met with some skepticism because they’re not entirely sure this technology is necessary, feeling as though this is just an investment that’s being made to keep up with other businesses. They may be concerned about costs getting out of control. Or, as is most often the case, they’re not familiar with the technology you require and, therefore, don’t see its relevance.
So, how do you overcome these hurdles and get them on your side?
First, you need to put some clear steps in place before you even go ahead and meet your bosses, and here are some handy steps as to what you can do:
Understand Your Objective
Ask yourself how crucial this technology is to the business’s overall plans. How is it going to impact clients?
Before you go the next step, understand the return-on-investment and establish a cost-benefit analysis. You should also consider what your backup plan is going to be if the board doesn’t give you the go-ahead for this particular plan.
Showcase the Idea to Individual Managers
Before you meet up with all of the bosses/directors you’ll need to get approval from, try to arrange meetings with individuals first. It’s a good idea to get managers who can be particularly stubborn or who aren’t tech-savvy on board first. This gives them the opportunity to ask you questions in private, allowing you to understand what concerns they may have before your big presentation.
Then, when it comes to your presentation you can address these concerns, saying “I’m aware some of you are concerned about this issue, but here’s how we can address that…”
Ask for feedback from individual members about how important they feel the project is and whether they’ve got any solutions they think will make it stronger. Ask them how they’d present this idea to the board – doing this with as many managers as you can.
It’s important not to surprise them with a huge proposal in the presentation meeting because you’ll often get a resounding “no” due to the unexpected revelation of your idea.
Consider Board Members in Your Presentation
As you’re putting together your presentation, it’s important to think about who you’re going to be presenting it to. For example, you may find that you’d talk differently to new managers than you would to long-standing board members.
You should also tailor your speech to how technical they are. Your job is to demonstrate what benefits this technology offers, it’s not to teach the board members technical terminology.
Put Together Sides While Remembering You’re the Presentation
As you’re creating your presentation, start by describing what your goal is straight away. Use the benefits the project will provide your customers and/or business with as the focus for your funding request.
Don’t put too much information on each slide because then you’ll lose your audience members’ attention as they try to read all of the details instead of listening to you. And don’t just stand and read the information on the slides to board members – it’s quite a safe bet that they’ll be able to read!
Remember, these business leaders are interested in what you’ve got to say about this new technology – you’re the presentation, not your slides. Address the points, using examples and real-life stories to get your point across.
Keep practicing your speech on a daily basis, perhaps even performing it in front of someone else (a colleague who understands the project would be great). It’s also a good idea to practice it in front of someone who isn’t tech-savvy because then you’ll be able to see whether they understand the key aspects of your presentation. Did they grasp what your goal is? Can they restate this back to you? Would they give you their support after hearing your presentation?
After you’ve followed these all-important steps, it’s time to gather your notes, hold your head up high, and walk with confidence into your board meeting. Good luck!