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Grow Your Business Technology

Beyond PowerPoint: Presentation Tools for Small Businesses

Beyond PowerPoint: Presentation Tools for Small Businesses
Step up your business presentations by being more engaging and memorable. / Credit: Presentation image via Shutterstock

The prevalence of PowerPoint has made company presentations all too routine. It can be hard to get and hold your audience's attention with mundane slides full of bullet points. It may be an effective tool in some scenarios, but there are tons of other presentation solutions out there that can help you engage with your audience and communicate key ideas.

While traditional tools such as PowerPoint, Google Slides and Keynote can all be used to create presentations, you can break the conventional method – basic points on simple slides – by including images, creating movement, and limiting each slide or section to only a couple key points.

If you're looking to shake things up and connect with your audience in a fun and engaging way, it may be time to try one of these solutions.

Visme is a cloud-based presentation tool that allows you to create highly visual presentations to engage viewers and communicate your ideas. It features an intuitive, drag-and-drop design method for creating presentations. The business version also prioritizes brand consistency and company-wide image storage. When you or your employees create a presentation, it will feature colors, logos and images that are on brand for your organization. This promotes consistency across presentations among your employees. Visme also offers a built-in analytics system, so you can see who has viewed your presentation and who finished it.

Visme offers multiple plans ranging from $20 per user per month to $60 per three users per month. It's also possible to get a free live demo to see how the technology works before you try it out.

Haiku Deck is a platform that prioritizes simplicity. Business owners can create elegant, basic presentations with high-quality images. The spartan approach allows for connecting with audiences instead of losing them in information overload due to text-heavy slides. What separates Haiku Deck from traditional presentation tools is its library of images and array of fonts. It makes it easy to craft simple, powerful presentations that are accessible on any device.

Haiku Deck offers three plans, ranging from $7.99 to $29.99 per month.

Pitcherific is not only a presentation solution, but also a platform for building and practicing your presentation. It's a template-based program that guides you through the presentation creation process. Instead of drafting a few slides, Pitcherific prompts you to write out the areas of each part of your speech. The outline for an elevator pitch, for example, includes a hook, problem, solution and closing. There are various templates for different kinds of pitches and presentations, so you'll have guidance on many kinds of speeches and presentations. Pitcherific also recommends a character count for each section and a timeclock, allowing you to track how long your speech or presentation is and stay within a desired range.

Pitcherific's pricing depends largely on your business and its needs, so you'll have to reach out to its sales team to get a direct quote. Pitcherific does offer a free trial in case you're curious to see how the platform works.

Canva is an online platform that provides templates for a wide range of business-related publications, like resumes, newsletters, business cards, media kits, brochures and infographics. You can also use it to construct presentations. There are hundreds of design layouts and templates to start with, and you can upload your own images or choose from more than 1 million of Canva's stock images. As you build your presentation, you can adjust text and fonts, add filters to images, and drag and drop different elements for design. You can also upload and save your company logo.

Canva offers a free version equipped with all its features. If you're a startup or very small business owner, this is a good option. For larger businesses, Canva for Work offers team management features for $12.95 per month (or $9.95 per month when you pay annually). You can try this version free for 30 days.

SlideCamp provide slide templates for creating company presentations. You can adjust color schemes, add company logos, import charts and data, build infographics, and organize presentations into sections with SlideCamp. This is a great solution for maintaining presentation consistency across multiple presentations from your organization. After you set up branding details, employees will be able to work with predesigned slides to easily craft professional presentations. It's geared for larger businesses, so if you're a startup or one-person company, this may not be an ideal solution for you.

There are a few plans available, which range from $49 to $499 per month depending on the number of users who will access SlideCamp. There is a demo version as well, so you can try out the service to see if it's right for your business. 

While PowerPoint may be a tired way to handle a business presentation at times, Microsoft has other tools that can introduce a new level of practicality to the standard presentation. It recently introduced the ability to create live and on-demand events in Microsoft 365. These events can be viewed in real time or on demand by remote co-workers or even workers who were present in the meeting but want to reference what was said. It combines HD video with machine learning to create a speaker timeline, speech-to-text transcriptions and time coding, and closed captioning.

Live events are part of the Office 365 subscription plans. If you're already a subscriber, you can use this tool for no additional cost.

Powtoon is an animated presentation and video platform for creating short informational videos and presentations about your brand or product. Explainer videos are an important part of a brand's message, and Powtoon is an affordable tool for creating animated videos and presentations to educate consumers and clients about your business. You can easily edit presentations and videos, add voiceover, and build a professional experience for your customers.

Powtoon offers a free version, but there are more robust offerings at $19 and $59 per month.

VideoScribe is a whiteboard video presentation platform that allows small businesses to customize their presentations to fit their needs. These videos, which feature a whiteboard and hand that "draws" different objects and slides in the presentation, are ideal for quick explainers and marketing videos on your business or product. You can easily place objects, insert text, and even draw your own objects or text with VideoScribe's platform.

VideoScribe is available for either $29 per user per month or, if paid annually, $12 per user per month. If you want to extend VideoScribe to a larger team, you'll have to pay $110 to $130 per user, depending on the number of users. You can also make a one-time payment of $665 for a single user.

Prezi is another template-based presentation solution that you can use to create persuasive and engaging presentations with unique movement between "slides" and key points. Prezi maps out your whole presentation on an overall track that you decide. When you switch slides, it doesn't simply advance to the next one; it takes the viewer through the track to the point that needs to be made. This allows your audience to visualize the progression of your presentation. You can arrange content under different sections and create an overview so your audience can see your entire presentation plan. This method keeps the presenation organized and your audience engaged. You can also navigate freely through your presentation – your track is not locked in and you can adjust when you address which points as you're presenting.

Prezi is either $50 or $59 per user per month, depending on the number of users.

Matt D'Angelo

Matt D'Angelo is a Staff Writer based in New York City. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in Journalism, Matt gained experience as a copy editor and writer for newspapers and various online publications. Matt joined the team in 2017 and covers technology for Business.com and Business News Daily. Follow him on Twitter or email him.