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Meet the entrepreneur for whom presentation is everything

If frantically putting together a deck of PowerPoint slides in the final moments before a presentation sounds familiar to you, then read on – because according to one entrepreneur, you might not be ‘cutting it’.

Starting 20 years ago in London designing presentations for City banks and research companies, Emma Bannister tells Dynamic Business about her journey from kitchen bench to a multi-million dollar business transforming company information into a powerful visual tools.

“Every part of me has always believed stand-out presentations are a powerful communication tool for companies of all shapes and sizes. I knew that crafting intelligent visuals packed a powerful commercial punch,” said Emma.

Ten years ago – back in Australia and pregnant with her first daughter, Emma sought to earn some extra cash by designing presentations on a freelance basis.

“My Dad built a website for me and off I went. Companies large and small were keen for this visual expertise as they knew the return on investment was significant.”

Seeing opportunities far beyond ad hoc freelance work, in 2006 Emma took a bold step forward and launched PresentationStudio from her kitchen bench in Sydney. And bold it was without any help from investors and sacrificing a wage for the first two years of operation.

“Literally every dollar earned was invested back into the business,” Emma said.

“The enquiries soon started to roll in and my beliefs were confirmed, so that is how the business began – humbly and organically.”

From humble beginnings, PresentationStudio now with a team of 25 staff, provides services to household brand name clients including Westfield, CommBank and BHP. The business has experienced 56 per cent growth on Q1 of last year and is on track for its biggest year ever with a predicted revenue $3.3 million.

None of this can be achieved, however without the right people driving the business. Speaking of PresentationStudio’s recruitment strategy, Emma admits that lessons have been learned.

“Cultural fit is very important to me, in order to provide a healthy, happy workplace for everyone at PresentationStudio.

“I used to hire for technical skills but over the years I learnt that this can be taught. Most important now, is that our new staff fit in with our existing team. From day one they need to believe in our values and share our passion.”

And with that approach comes a breeding ground for ideas. Venturing into the education space with content workshops and having secured a position within the Apple Consultants Network, PresentationStudio is always on the lookout for opportunities outside the box.

Emma said “changing technology always presents opportunity. Our presentations specially designed for iPads caught the eye of Apple, inviting us to join the ‘Apple Consultants Network’ which has led to some exciting projects.”

An impressive story packed with inspiration, it’s no surprise that Emma was a finalist at the 2015 Telstra Business Women’s Awards in the ‘Entrepreneur’ category.

Speaking about what it means to have been a finalist at the awards, Emma said, “it means everything. For years I’ve seen that as the ‘Oscars’ for business women in Australia. Being recognised for all the hard work and current success is a massive boost for me and everything I’ve worked hard to achieve.”

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Daniel Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs was editor of Dynamic Business.

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