How to Start a Business For Free (With Examples)

I gave this speech for a public speaking class. It included a self-evaluation assignment which I share here;


CJ Trowbridge


Sierra College Comms 1

Scott Kirchner

Demonstration Speech Self-Evaluation Assignment

In my speech, I demonstrated how to bootstrap a business. I gave examples from my experience bootstrapping a pizza business in Chico several years ago. I felt like the speech went very well. I shared the video online and received good feedback, and my peers seemed to feel that it went well based on their reactions during the speech and afterwards. (I used a special camera to record the speech which captures the audience as well as the speaker, so I was able to review their reactions.)

When I was composing the outline for the speech and rehearsing it, I tried to make it as relatable as possible. I made sure to include at least a few concrete examples whenever I discussed abstract ideas. I find this generally lacking in most entrepreneurial literature, so I think and hope that I improved on this frustrating trend. I feel like most people can relate to this topic if it is presented properly. For these reasons, I think the content was good.

My last-minute addition of a visual aid was also a really great touch. It was more than just the visual effect, or even the smell; it was visceral. I think it really grabbed attention, and it made the value-proposition of the content become a visceral feeling for the audience. Hunger is a limbic response, a deep emotional thing. It supersedes the prefrontal cortex and the trained analytic mind. This was a major underlying theme in my speech; take the product to the people who don’t know they want it, and make them want it. I demonstrated that without even talking about it. My clincher about how the audience could take the pizza into the quad right now and quadruple the money seemed to leave them with ideas about how they could implement the ideas I had discussed. Several audience members approached me about business ideas they had and how they might bootstrap them like I did. I think this part of the speech was very effective.

In general, I would say I was not very anxious about this speech. I have had a great deal of public speaking experience from a young age, BUT a big part of what little anxiety I did have was timing. I am not used to timed speeches. To alleviate this anxiety, I decided to include several quick stories in my concrete examples for each abstraction. Then, I could expand on the stories as required to get to the correct time. I think concrete examples were a good idea, but I think the stories went too long, and this was the one development opportunity identified by the professor, who said I “Squirrelled,” (or went on tangents or rabbit trails) in his remarks at the end of the speech. This had been a deliberate and strategic effort to fill time, but obviously it distracted from the content. I will try to expand on concrete details next time, or perhaps use a story as one of the major points, rather than trying to incorporate several into sub-points. Also, I should have defined the “unfamiliar” word bootstrap as soon as I first used it.

This implies a different structure would be better. Rather than enumerating abstractions and then providing concrete examples and stories, a better strategy might be to enumerate several abstractions and provide concrete examples only, then finish up with a brief story to tie everything together. This also means timing would be harder, and I will need a better strategy for making sure the time is correct. I think doing some sort of outline for the ending-story and then selectively condensing it would be a better strategy for getting the time correct.