After the Business Plan, the startup pitch deck is the next very important thing for the new entrepreneur so it should be done as fast as possible. Some of you might not know what a pitch deck is, never mind how to create one. For sure I had not idea about this when I started my first business. Honestly, it might have been of great help in making that business profitable and avoid the bankruptcy.
When pitching an idea to someone you must provide all needed information without boring that person (be it any kind of investor or friend) with too much data. While a pitch is generally done solely by talking, a startup pitch deck is done with the help of a readable medium like PowerPoint slides, PDF, Prezi, Keynote etc (you have many options to choose from, each one of the being a good one).
To make a winning pitch deck you need to tell a story; to make a memorable pitch deck you need to add a good narrative. Also you need to create an emotional impact on your audience. You need to identify a problem, present a solution and show what you need to make that a reality.
The story you are about to tell your possible investors will be both verbal and with the help of those slides (or pages; in this article, where you read slides know that you can also read pages). Because of this you will need to be careful when creating the pitch deck on the order in which you will present things. Also how you will be presenting it is important. These aspects refer to the design of a pitch deck. Hearing things that are backed up by visual examples will make it easier for anyone to both understand and remember what you are talking about. You have to remember that the audience might not know your market but need to understand your product fairly easy in order to invest any capital in you.
Try and build your pitch deck from smaller stand alone “pitch decks”. What I want to say with this is to try to make each slide to make sense and to be understandable on it’s own, even if you take it out of the pitch deck. Each slide must focus on one thing and one thing only. Do it in a way that explains that subject perfectly to the investors. That’s how you will get the attention of your audience for the entire duration of your presentation. If you force someone to remember something you said 3 slides back, you might have already lost that person; and you don’t want to lose any potential investors.
Don’t put too much text on each slide, try to keep the text at a minimum because you will be the one talking and presenting that text. Instead, put the important data on the slides. Too much data is also bad, so try to not put all pieces of data you have, all statistics or numbers. Keep it simple ! (and I can’t stress enough how important this advice is).
When creating the slides, please have this in mind: you don’t want to pitch a product, you want to pitch a business. Most of the investors don’t risk their money on ideas or products. The explanation for this is simple: ideas and products don’t bring them money. If they invest an amount of X, they expect to get back at least 2X after a defined time period. The more the return, the happier the investor. Only a self sustaining and growing business can bring them those returns. Since you are a startup and don’t have too much (if any) traction, building the startup pitch deck in a correct form will bring great benefits.
The first slide of your pitch deck is very very important. Not considering the one with the title if you chose to have such a slide. You must provide the details of the problem that you have found and for which you have the solution. Get to the point quickly, because otherwise investors from the audience will lose interest.
Important slides mandatory to include in your pitch deck are the ones where you describe your business, the market size you want to attack and the competition in that market. Showing the investors that you have done your homework and thoroughly researched everything related to your company is a big plus.
Another important slide you must have in your startup pitch deck is the one showing the distribution strategy. Show you have thought about choosing one (or already implemented) that will help you reach your customers and make the needed sales. Don’t stress to much with details about technology or product features. Yes, they are important and should definitely be present in your slides. But try focus on them only if they are something extraordinarily innovative and groundbreaking. If everyone in your niche has the same features or uses the same technology…don’t focus on that at all.
In the end of the pitch deck make sure you have a slide with your team. Here you present every important member of your team: what their experience is; what they are in charge of; how are they contributing to the business. There are some people who put the “Team slide” in the beginning. My suggestion would be to place it towards the end of your pitch deck. Investors will want to get more data about the potential of your business in the beginning.
The pitching deck should have about 10 slides or so. This is because you will only have about 3 minutes for your presentation. When presenting your pitch, try to structure your story on these 3 acts: introduction, development and end. The culminant point needs to be towards the end of the development act. Grow the desire to know your vision and the most important parts of your business in your audience. Then deliver what they are expecting. You will be remembered by them even after the event and that might really help you securing one or more investors.
Last piece of advice I have for you, starting entrepreneurs, is to make multiple pitching decks. You should have a different one for every type of investor you might get to talk with. Before actually presenting it, try to learn as much as you possible can about those investors; you are required to do your due diligence because rest assured they are also doing it in what regards you. Based on what type of investor you will encounter, based on what other companies have received funding from them you should tailor your startup pitch deck based on that information.
You most likely have only one shot with an investor, make it count !