The hunt for investors can be long and arduous, and it’s at this first hurdle that many business innovators drop their whole idea altogether.
This can easily happen if you lose hope, which is a key contributing factor if you have completely failed at a pitch deck presentation – or fumbled some of your key stats. Such errors in presenting a pitch deck can lead to both a drop in confidence regarding presentational skills, and in turn, even a dire reduction in the confidence you will have had in their business concept in the first place.
Luckily, there are so many resources out there that cover the essential pointers you’ll need to lay out for the chance to succeed with any pitch deck. In this guide to pitch decks, there are some standard tips on what to include in your pitch deck in tip 3 – and some more personal ideas that can help you get it all right over time.
Without further ado, here’s the Innovationly guide including 5 easy tips on how to nail your pitch deck, starting off with our handy explanation of what a pitch deck is and should include. Make notes!
What is a Pitch Deck?
A pitch deck is a presentation to potential investors allowing them to learn more about your business. Think Dragons Den, or Shark Tank! A pitch deck is about concisely presenting your business to busy investors in a visual yet informative manner. It’s about getting across those key facts and figures, as well as embedding your presentation with the emotional pull that will help encourage investors that your concept has potential. Not only that, but you need to portray how your business model has the eventual opportunity for growth.
5 Tips to Perfecting the Art of the Pitch Deck
1. Understand There are No Failed Pitch Decks
Moving away from the dramatics of TV, the standard pitch deck isn’t just there to gain immediate funding for your product. In fact, your initial focus should be on simply making it through to the next meeting. Investors are, by their very nature, busy people. That’s how they’ve amassed the means through which they can invest in start-up businesses in the first place. So, even securing a follow-up meeting with an investor is a monumental achievement, and you then have the potential to explain your concepts further while also giving the investor time to mull over your pitch deck. They’ll likely come back to this next meeting with questions, things for you to re-consider, and perhaps even innovative ideas for you to think about.
Despite the feeling of being let down after what may feel like an ‘unsuccessful’ pitch deck, it’s important to remember that no pitch deck is a failure. You can’t instantly decide that the inability to secure investors with your first pitch deck means the whole thing is bound to fall to pieces. Innovators often have to grind their way through hundreds of presentations in order to find the right investor willing to take a calculated risk on their idea. Understand that you’re not alone in thinking this is a difficult stage.
You also need to build upon the opportunities for growth with every pitch deck that didn’t quite work out. If an investor gives a solid ‘no’ at the end of your pitch deck, see if you can follow up and find out why. Was it because of your lack of presentational skills, or the fact you didn’t convey emotional appeal in your pitch deck? Or was it because your figures simply didn’t add up? Learning from every presentation is the ideal way to hone your pitch deck over time, ensuring you eventually do secure that lucrative investment deal you’ve been looking for.
2. Consider: What is Your Narrative?
This point is all about emotional connections. Your pitch deck tells your business’s story. Like with any story, you need to keep the recipient interested. With only a short period of time, it’s important to catch the investors’ attention with a compelling and unique pitch that stands out amongst the numerous decks they receive each year. One of the best ways to do this is to provoke an emotional response. Like all people, investors are human and will naturally react to your excitement, enthusiasm, anger, sadness.
A good pitch deck will form a connection and resonate even long after the presentation is over, and while facts and figures are important in provoking a rational decision; it is the emotional response that will get you noticed quicker in these early stages.
It takes more than just money to sell a product. You must fill a need or desire, look at how you came to create your product or business. What need do you fulfil? Why? What was your journey in creating the business, and how does that reflect what the consumer’s journey could become with your product?
3. Provide the Correct Information: Points to Include…
Your narrative is vital but using your stats and figures to tell your story and sell yourself is still important. However, you don’t want to overload your audience with information. Keeping things short and straight to the point is key, vital so ensuring you only put the essentials in your deck is crucial vital to keeping your audience engaged…, Rather than drowning them in numbers. After defining the problem and the solution your business model aims to provide, there are roughly 6 essential topics that any pitch deck needs to cover:
- The Market: Who are your customers? How many people are struggling with this problem?
- Expertise: How are you better than your competition, or alternative solutions? What can you personally bring to the table?
- The Business Model: How will you make money?
- Your Market Strategy: What are the milestones in your business growth? How long will it take to make your dream a reality?
- Competitors: Is there much competition, and who is it? Are you a niche market? How will you combat potential struggles amongst your competition?
- The Financials: How much will this all cost? What profit is there to be made? How much funding do you need from your potential investor?
That being said, don’t write an essay with every single detail about your business. The numbers and figures are what will demonstrate your market knowledge and applying them to the context of your narrative will allow you to emphasise your expertise and the progress that can be made. Bring the intense details and description at a later date, but stay brief and to the point with your first presentation.
4. Convey Urgency!
Now, not all ideas are going to be able to pull on the heartstrings of everyone in the room, since everyone has alternating interests and priorities regarding the issues they’d like to invest in solutions for. What may appeal to one investor seems completely irrelevant to another.
Instead, it can be helpful to appeal to the idea of FOMO. Every business that has grounds for success is built around some notion of innovation. Imagine – your business statistics are good, you’re confident in your delivery, and you’ve included everything in a concise and easy to understand manner. But you’re not securing any investors. Now you know you need to play on the fact they might be wasting their time, sitting there knowing your idea works. Investors need to feel that they must take the opportunity to invest now, before someone else does.
Time is of the essence with many investments. As a prime example, Ronald Wayne sold his 10% of shares in apple for $800 in 1976. In hindsight, that was a bad move, as that same percentage of shares is now worth over $96 billion.
Play on the strengths of your business in the here and now, so investors will they think they’re avoiding being the next Ronald Wayne by investing in you. Innovation moves fast, and you need to convince your investors that they need to move quickly, too. Otherwise, the next big thing will come along, and you’ll be overlooked into oblivion.
5. Keep it Simple
Regarding both content and design, simplicity is your best friend. You don’t want to fill your slides with so much data, words, and graphics that the important information isn’t processed by your audience. The typical pitch deck should include just 15 slides. That’s not many considering you’re trying to convey the entire concept behind your whole business!
This is why everyone in the room needs to instantaneously grasp the message of each slide, as soon as they see it. With such a short span of time to get your ideas across, there’s hardly time for your investors to go rooting through a maze of images and text to find the information they need. This will also frustrate them and may lead to investors simply going through the motions and not really considering your ideas.
Twenty to thirty words per slide is generally a good rule of thumb, alongside a few intriguing graphics or pieces of vital data for each slide. Your slides should remain a visual guide. It’s you who is providing the key information, and the emotional pull that comes with it…
It doesn’t matter whether you’re here after countless pitch decks and you’re looking to perfect your approach, or if you’re just setting out and trying to devise a plan for your very first business presentation. Creating your pitch deck comes with standard guidelines that investors will appreciate, and presenting your pitch deck comes with more personal and emotional approaches that can help you entice your audience. If you follow the above guidelines in pulling together your pitch deck expertise, you’re on the right path.