How to build the perfect pitch deck
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December 25 2015

Raising money is challenging, that's why you need a brilliant pitch deck

We've spoken a little bit this month about the different sources of funding for your startup. If you want to land that all important investment from a VC or angel, you're going to need to prove the worth of your business. That's where your pitch deck comes in.

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a concise slideshow that helps you present key information about your business to potential investors or stakeholders. It serves as a visual aid to your investment pitch and provides your presentation with much-needed structure. Visual cues will add impact to your words and help the most important information to stand out.

 

 

so it’s worth spending a serious amount of time building and tweaking your deck. Let's take a look at the components that make a great pitch deck, then we'll talk about ordering your presentation.

What goes in your pitch deck

We don't want to waste any time in getting to the main selling points of your company, so we're really trying to squeeze down the information in your pitch to the bare essentials. We're looking for maximum impact via the minimum information. Your pitch deck should include:

- Your elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is an extremely brief description of your company. It should last no more than 30 seconds, and deliver only the most essential information to the listener. For example, an elevator pitch for a digital marketing agency might be something like:

"We help businesses get more customers online using the most advanced marketing techniques available."

Or, for a snack foods business aimed at children:

"We make sure that every child in every school has a tasty, healthy option for their break time snack."

 

However, it's also great if you can add a dash of branding sparkle in there. It’ll help you stand out and show investors what's important to you.

- A traction slide

Traction is a difficult concept to define, as it means very different things to different companies. However, the essence of traction is proof of concept - we're trying to show investors that your business is more than just an idea, and that you've made significant progress towards making serious money.

If your business is in a profit-making stage, you'll want to show how much you've managed to make already, and how much you could make after you scale up. If you are pre-profit, or building an investment-based model, showing use data, survey results, existing high-profile stakeholders or strategic partnerships could all contribute to your traction.

- The problem (and the solution!)

We've already talked a lot about structuring your business around a real-world problem. Now's the time to identify that to your future investors and show them how you're going to solve it. If you have numerical proof of an identifiable market opportunity then even better!

- Your monetisation strategy

 

 

They need to know that your company has a secure financial future, so show them your past earnings, your future projections, and carefully demonstrate how you're going to bring in the dough.

- Your scalability

 

 

Talk about how you're going to market your product, and how the business is going to change as you scale. Investors will also want to know how their money is going to be used to grow the business, so make sure this is explained thoroughly.

- Your competitors (and how you're going to beat them)

 

You'll need to demonstrate that you're aware of the challenges your company will face in the marketplace, and that you have a reasoned strategy in place to deal with them.

- You!

Finally, it's important to remember that investors aren't just investing in a product, they're investing in people. They need to know that they can trust you with their money, and that you have the experience, skill, and mindset to make the business work. Showcase your team like the valuable assets that they are, and demonstrate that you've got what it takes to face any business challenge.

 

Styling your deck

Make no mistake, your pitch is a sales presentation. You're selling your company to investors, so employ every tactic you know about great sales copy writing to convince them to opt in.

When it comes to ordering you pitch, you'll want to put the most impactful information first, then reiterate it as a summary at the end. Investors aren't particularly interested in your idea, they just want to know what they can get out of it, so don't worry about explaining what your business does before getting to the high-impact material.  For example, if you have a great sales record already, start with this before you get to your elevator pitch. Within seconds of starting your presentation, your audience needs to know what they can gain from their investment.

The rest of your presentation should be built around removing the fears, questions, and hesitations your stakeholders may be feeling. Use the content above to structure your presentation and remove barriers to investment.

It also helps if you can encourage your audience to connect with you emotionally. If your business has a powerful mission to make the world a better place, make sure that it resonates throughout your pitch.

For more information on pitching, and some examples of great pitch decks, check out the links below.

Thanks for reading!

Other resources:

 

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