This article on Creating a Pitch Deck That is Easy To Understand and Easy To Remember was specifically created for the many entrepreneurs who do the opposite. The entrepreneurs who mis the opportunity to get business funding because they over complicated the presentation of their idea which lead to themselves being nervous, while forgetting the reasons why they were there; to get an appointment for the next meeting.
It is a common misconception that pitch decks are there to win you investment. The truth is that in the majority of cases, the pitch deck, or your presentation of the pitch deck is only really there to get you to the next meeting with your target audience. It’s not to present the whole business plan in 12 slides.
Once you are ready to approach investors about your early or growth stage business, a practical and easily communicated pitch deck is an important part of your fundraising approach. You might have seen our post on what goes into a business plan. This article follows on from that. Creating an easy to understand, easy to remember pitch deck will ensure that you quickly gets the interest of potential investors, hopefully leading to an investment.
I’ve seen a lot of different pitch decks and presentation methods, and I’ve discovered that there’s a simple formula that works every time.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that the pitch deck is not there to get you the investment. This article discusses the reason for this statement and a number of other important consideration for entrepreneurs building pitch decks for their next investor meeting.
There will no doubt be numerous reasons why your idea is attractive. As the entrepreneurial team you will be energised and full of enthusiasm to convince anyone who is willing to listen why your busines sis the next big thing. But after a brief presentation or pitch, people only remember a few of them. When coaching entrepreneurs, we brainstorm the 5 to 7 most important ideas their start-up that people should remember. These are the 5–7 points you want investors to remember.
In this article I’ll draw on my experience listening to hundreds of pitch presentations over the years. I’ve been on the investor side of the presentation but have also been part of teams raising money for individual start-ups which I have been part of, as well as raising investment for an investment fund.
Over the years, I’ve also constructed my own and presented to both investment funds and venture capital firms, allowing me to understand more about what works and what doesn’t.
Key Considerations for Creating a Pitch Deck That is Easy To Understand and Easy To Remember
Definition off a pitch deck?
A pitch deck, also known as a slide deck or start-up deck, is a concise but useful description of your company. It should include your company plan’s main themes, the items and services you offer, high-level financial estimates, and capital requirements. Your pitch deck should be able to stand alone as a visual document, but it will largely be utilised to tell your company’s story.
What is a pitch deck’s purpose?
The aim of your pitch deck is not to raise money, which may seem illogical. What? I realise it doesn’t make sense, but the real purpose of your pitch deck is to get you to the next meeting.
Remember that an investor’s first impression of your firm will most likely be based on your pitch deck and pitch presentation. Because investments are rarely made after only one encounter, you want to get the right people interest in your business. After hearing your pitch, you want investors to ask for more, not just show you the door.
While a strong pitch deck is essential for raising funds, the deck’s primary objective is to bring you to the next step—another meeting and a request for more information.
What should you put in your pitch deck?
While every firm is different, I’ve found that the following structure works for the majority of them and is the most likely to gain potential investors’ attention.
1. The Team, Introduction of the Concept and The Size of Investment Required.
Start with introducing your team, provide a easy to understand explanation of the business – One or two sentences, and state hw much money you are raising. Why are you and your team the best people for this firm to create and grow? What expertise do you possess that others lack? Highlight the main members of the team, their previous triumphs, and the key knowledge they bring to the table.
Even if you don’t have a full team yet, figure out what crucial positions you still need to fill and why they’re important for company growth.
2. What is the Business and How Are you Different?
This is a one-sentence summary of your company and the value you bring to your clients. Keep it brief and straightforward. Imagine this slide as a quick tweet—describe your company in 140 characters or fewer and in a way that is easy to understand.
It’s usual for tech firms to compare their value proposition to that of another well-known firm. Many pitches, for example, begin with something like:
This can work, but make sure your comparison makes sense and that you’re not merely utilising a well-known company like Airbnb to demonstrate growth potential. Your business approach must be eerily similar to that of the company you’re mentioning.
3. What is the Problem That You Are Solving
It is clearly important that there is somehow a need for your product or service. Ideally you are solving a specific problem. Of course in some cases the market you are targeting might not have specifically thought about this problem in the way that you are articulating it, but your solution is ideally making life simpler or more interesting for your target audience, or they at least find it useful to use your solution as opposed to the current option.
Use this slide to discuss the problem you’re trying to solve and who the problem belongs to. You can discuss the present market solutions, but don’t spend too much time on the competition environment on this slide—you’ll have another opportunity to do so later.
The use of storytelling has become a great way to convey this in recent years. En entrepreneur might tell a story of how they struggled with a certain situation for example, with the outcome of this story being the new solution you are presenting.
4. Who Are You Selling To And How Many or How Often Can You Sell?
This slide can be used to elaborate on who your ideal customer is and how many there are. What is the entire market size, and how is your company positioned in it? Investors will want to know how much people or firms are currently spending in the market to obtain a sense of the entire market size if the data is available. This is where you describe the scope and magnitude of the problem you’re attempting to solve.
It makes sense for your organisation, you should segment your market and target different sorts of marketing and possibly different types of product offerings to each area.
But be careful with this slide. It’s alluring to try to define your market as broadly as possible. Investors, on the other hand, will be looking for evidence that you have a very definite and approachable market. Your proposal will be more realistic if you are more explicit.
5. A Easy To Understand and Attractive Solution to The Problem
Finally, you will have the opportunity to describe your product or service. Describe how customers interact with your product and how it solves the issues you identified on slide two.
You may be tempted to relocate this slide closer to the start of your pitch deck, but resist the urge. This is a typical example of storytelling, in which you build up the situation and illustrate how horrible it is for a large number of individuals. Now your product or service is stepping in to help solve that issue.
Most entrepreneurs are preoccupied with their product when they should be preoccupied with their clients and the difficulties they confront. With this approach, you can keep your pitch deck focused and tell a better story.
When describing your answer, use drawings and anecdotes if at all possible. Almost often, showing rather than telling is preferable.
6. How Does The Business Make Money?
Now that you’ve detailed your product or service, it’s time to discuss how it generates revenue. Who pays the bills and how much do you charge? Advertisers, not consumers, pay the bills in some organisations (content sites, for example), therefore it’s critical to get the specifics right.
You can also illustrate how your pricing fits into the bigger market by referring to the competition landscape. Are you a high-end, high-priced offering, or a low-cost alternative to the market’s existing solutions?
7. Is the product or service feasible?
If you have any sales or early adopters who are utilising your product, mention it here. Investors prefer to see proof of some component of your company model since it reduces risk, so any proof you have that your solution solves the problem you’ve identified is incredibly valuable.
You can also use this slide to discuss your achievements. What main objectives have you met thus far, and what important next measures do you intend to take? A product or company roadmap with major milestones is useful in this situation.
8. Ideas Around Sales and Marketing
What is your strategy for attracting clients’ attention and what will your sales process entail? This slide should be used to define your marketing and sales strategy. You should describe the primary strategies you plan to utilise to bring your product in front of potential clients.
Finding and retaining consumers can be one of a startup’s most difficult tasks, so it’s critical to demonstrate that you understand how you’ll reach your target market and which sales channels you’ll employ.
It’s critical to emphasise how your marketing and sales technique differs from that of your competitors.
9. Financial Forecasts
Investors will need to examine your financials for at least three years, including a sales projection, income statement (also known as profit and loss statement), and cash flow prediction.
However, in-depth spreadsheets that are difficult to understand and consume in a presentation manner should not be included in your pitch deck. Limit your charts to sales, total customers, total expenses, and total profits.
You should be prepared to talk about the underlying assumptions you used to arrive at your sales targets, as well as your main spending drivers.
Remember to keep your expectations in check. Investors are used to seeing over enthusiastic estimates and will mentally chop your projections in half. It’s tremendously helpful if you can justify your growth based on existing traction or in comparison to a similar company in a related industry.
10. Who is Your Competition and How Are You Unique
In one way or another, every firm faces competition. Even if you’re entering a whole new market, your potential clients are already looking for alternate solutions to their problems.
Describe how you fit into the competitive landscape and how you vary from the current market’s competitors and alternatives. What important advantages do you have over your competitors, or do you have some sort of “secret sauce” that others don’t?
The idea is to explain how you vary from the other market participants and why clients should choose you.
11. Investing and utilising funds
Finally, it’s time to make a formal request for funds. Isn’t that why you’re putting together this pitch deck? I know, I claimed that the goal of this pitch deck isn’t to get investment. That remains true, but your potential investors must be aware of the amount of money you require.
Crucially, you must be able to explain why you require the amount of money requested and how you intend to spend it. Investors will want to know how their money is being spent and how it will aid you in achieving the objectives you’ve set for your company.
If you already have some investors on board, this is the time to tell them about the others and why they chose to invest.
Additional slides to include in your pitch deck
While you should keep your pitch deck brief, you may need or want to include a few additional slides to better explain your business. You’re unlikely to use them during your presentation, but they might be a valuable resource for investors to evaluate afterward.
Here are a couple more slides that you might see in an investor presentation.
If you’re looking for investors, you’ll need to show them how you intend to pay them back. This is done in the form of a “exit strategy” slide, which details who your possible acquirers may be if your firm grows and succeeds. For some high-growth enterprises, an IPO and going public is a possible option, while other businesses are more likely to be purchased by larger competitors in your field.
Some businesses rely on important strategic alliances for their success. This can take the shape of intellectual property licence from a university or a major distribution partner who will help you get your product to market. It’s critical to highlight these types of collaborations if your success is dependent on them.
Additional Points to Think About When Creating Your Pitch deck
You will find that you do better than most start-ups if you simply explain your views correctly. Remember that the investor or corporate finance firm does not know what you know. He or she does not know what you are thinking or what you and your team have been working on for past 12 months or more. Because understanding is required before anyone can recall. Here’s how I explain things in layman’s terms:
First, ensure that your slides are easy to read. The idea is not for the slides to provide all the information That is why you are there. Investors who are interested will ask for more information, which you can provide through a business plan or additional documentation.
Readable slides are those that can be read by older members of the audience with poor vision in the back row. Points to consider here:
- Your writing must be big enough for everyone to read, even those sitting on the back of the room, if this is a pitch to a live audience.
- Use bold text which make it easy to see.
- Use a simple font, noting over complicated.
- The colour and contrast in your slides are very important. Have you tried to read yellow on an orange background for instance? It might look good on your high-definition laptop screen, but perhaps less so on a projector where the light in the room is bright enough for investors to make notes.
- If you are not presenting from your own laptop, make sure the program you used to create your pitch deck is compatible with the technology you are using. Slides created on Mac for instance might show differently on a PC. Be prepared.
If you have ever sat in the back of a hall, perhaps at school or in a lecture theatre, you will know that its often difficult to see the writing or images at the bottom of a presentation. Lesson here – don’t include to much at the bottom of the slide and keep the most important information to the top of your presentations.
The origins of the words simple and complex are the same.
Simple concepts are those that aren’t entangled with others. There is only one of them. They are a single concept. As a result, a single idea is expressed on a single slide. Don’t cram too many concepts onto your presentations. That’s how you complicate it. Some concepts may require more than one slide to communicate, but you should make every effort to do so in just one.
You shouldn’t have too many slides because you only have 5-7 concepts to pitch to investors. The recommended number of slides for an investor pitch is around is 7-9.
Let’s start with the most obvious slides. The term “obvious” refers to slides that can be understood at a glance. You can use this basic test to see if a slide is obvious: Show it to a stranger and ask them to interpret it for you. You lose if they don’t say your concept right away.
This is due to the fact that obvious ideas are relatively easy to grasp. Why do we worry about comprehension speed? The following two factors make a Investor presentation extremely difficult for you.
Investors, in fact, are more easily distracted than the general public. One of my own pet hates are when members of the entrepreneurial team who are not presenting, are whispering to each other separately from the presenter. Because investors are often impatient, they are easily sidetracked. This ight be your one and only pitch of the day but the investors might have looed at 30 others. They’ll check their email if they don’t understand what you’re saying.
You can assume that investors will not stare and listen to you the whole time. And, to be honest, even if it’s your work, it’s difficult to concentrate for many consecutive presentations. Have some compassion! To avoid this, make sure that whatever slide you display can be grasped right away. That way, when they look up from checking their email, they’ll see it.
Investors put their money into people, not PowerPoint. Your slides should help you to communicate your ideas more clearly. Allowing your slides to distract investors from what you’re talking out loud is not a good idea. You want to make an impression on them.
To Make Make it easy to read. – Make it simple. – Make it obvious.
If you just ensure you do these three things, you’ll have a presentation that anyone can probably understand. And since basic understanding is the starting point for getting someone interested enough in your idea to discuss it further at a later stage, that is really all you need to do when presenting your idea with a pitch deck.