Q1 What’s a Pitch Deck?
Pitch deck is an idea you are trying to instill in an investor’s brain for money. In short, that is everything about the pitch deck in one line.
You can also say that in the following way:
“You are trading your ideas to get the benefits for you and your investor.”
More or less, most pitch decks have the following things in their pitch decks:
- Cover page
- Market Size
- Final quote
Above are some of the most essential aspects of a pitch deck.
Q2 What is the basic need for pitch deck slides?
Pitch decks are the main pillar for any startup/business expansion to get the investments so we need to be mindful of everything in the pitch deck. If we are creating any pitch deck, it’s important to realize what we are going to talk about.
The arrangement of the pitch deck is one of the first things we need to have an idea of. For instance, the following are some of the basic needs of the pitch deck:
- The structure of the flow
- How many slides?
- What are you going to talk about?
- How big is the issue in the market?
- The statistics of the problem
- How many people are facing this issue?
- What is your approach to the issue?
- How are you going to solve it?
- What are the alternative solutions to this issue in the market?
- How is your solution going to stand out among the competitors?
- What are the numbers for competitors in the market?
- How are you going to seize competitor customers with your approach, if possible?
- How much capital do you need for startup/business development?
- What has been your company’s progress over the years, if any?
- The company’s projection after 5 years
- What is your team?
- Who is dealing with which department in your team?
This is some of the basic stuff you need to furnish in your pitch deck. But make sure you make between 14-20 slides for your pitch deck, nothing less, nothing more.
Although it depends on the individual pitch decks, you need to keep in mind that the higher number of slides can only drag the pitch deck idea and make it annoying to the audience.
Remember, you gotta grab the audience’s attention in the first 7 seconds itself. That’s when the possibility of your pitch deck idea will get into the brains of the audience.
Okay, that’s about the basic need, but, what should the deck consist of?
Q3 How do I make a pitch deck?
Pitch decks are the first thing you should go for to gather the money you want for a startup or any business expansion.
Pitch decks can look a bit menial and trivial if many people continue to live in denial by disregarding pitch decks. In fact, it is the first path to get your startup and business expansion going.
Without having a proper pitch deck, it is nearly impossible to narrate your story to investors.
Remember, a well begun is half done. Therefore, don’t give investors any chance to not invest in your idea.
Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself before making a pitch deck:
- Why are you doing it?
- Why is it needed in the market?
- Is there any chance that this product gets going in the market?
- How big is it in the current situation of the market?
- What is your solution?
- How are you going to approach the market?
- Who are your competitors in the market?
- What is their percentage in the market?
- What makes a customer choose your product over the others?
- What are the profits/losses (if any) that they are going to witness after 1 year?
- What are the profits they are going to witness after 5 years?
- How viable are these financial projections?
- What kind of investments are you looking for?
- How much money do you need for the investment?
- What are you going to spend it on?
- What is your team?
- What has been your progression over the years, if any?
- What is your tagline to end the pitch deck?
All these questions are very much needed for the successful pitch deck. If you have answers to all these questions, you are not only going to get the funds from investors but also get the returns after the introduction of your product in the market.
Always ask yourself these questions before making pitch decks for startups or even for business expansion.
Q4 What should the pitch deck consist of?
After your communication data, it should include the following points in a 12-18 slide deck that can be presented in 10-15 minutes, no more no less.
1.) Customer Difficulty
Summary of customer discomfort and how you fix it — approach & essential elements
2.) Product Summary
What is your approach, for whom and why is it propitious?
3.) Important Players
Originators, chief team members, and important advisors, with business knowledge and expertise
4.) Market Openings
Market capacity, growth aspects, segmentation
5.) Competitive Aspects
Competitive and competitive character sets, plus your sustainable competing privileges
6.) Go-To-Market Plan
How would you sell your product?
7.) Stage of Development
Product development, customer acquisition, partner relationships
8.) Severe Risks & Difficulties
What can go wrong and how you intend to accomplish it
9.) Financial Estimates
Best to show 5th-year mid-case, worst case and best case with essential appropriations
10.) Exit Options
Sections of likely buyers, rationales, the record of particular likely buyers and comparables with appraisal multiples
11.) Funding Demand
How much, what you will utilize it for, what breakthroughs you can hit
That’s it. Trying to do more than required is not going to make your pitch more compelling. It is only going to increase the possibility that you will not get through it.
Instead of working to pack too much data into your pitch, you should concentrate on covering all of the key details to guarantee you get to the subsequent meeting.
Q5) What are the essentials for a simple 10-slide pitch deck? (Do’s of a Pitch Deck)
In the second question, the premise itself is wrong. Why? Since the 10-slide pitch deck is not sufficient to pitch your idea to the investors.
Yes, there are a few essentials to put on the pitch deck, but that is not enough, so make it a point that you, at least, try to put 15-20 slides, if not more.
It is very challenging for even investors to get an idea about your pitch in just 10 slides. Yes, it is important to keep your presentation simple and short, but 10 slides are too short to even pitch your idea. Therefore, delete the idea of having just 10 slides in your pitch deck.
Here are some of the essentials to have on your pitch deck:
- Cover Page
- Market size
- Existing Market
- Highlighting competitor’s shortcomings
- Competitor’s market
- The future of the market with the product
- Market estimates
- Financial projections
- Fund needed
- Your expenses
- Final quote about your product
You can see that the topics themselves are 14 to cover on the pitch deck, and what about the explanation? Hence, it is not a good idea to cover everything in just 10-slides. Even if you squeeze in everything in just 10 slides, that won’t look good on the pitch deck and makes it hard for everyone to understand, that includes you, too.
In short, avoid it ENTIRELY!
Startup Pitch Decks
Q6 What should you avoid putting it on a startup pitch deck? (Don’ts of a Pitch Deck)
Going too much into the technical aspects is just one of the elements you should shun doing in your pitch deck. There are various things you should avoid doing:
1.) You shouldn’t wait too long to get to your key point
Attention spans are low. You don’t have the opportunity of developing a story, and then getting to the center of the story ten minutes in. Virtually everyone in the audience will have lost concern by then.
You have to get there rapidly, like in 7 seven seconds or less. That’s how quickly you have to perform.
2.) Keep it Short and Simple
You want to reduce the volume of text you have in your deck. Why? Well, most people don’t want to read text when they can get more data with a visual.
Then, and this may make you a little crazy, graphics are more visually captivating than text is. You want your deck to be enticing to your viewers. The larger text gives the sign that your business is too difficult to understand.
Then, while we are on the topic of graphics,…
3.) Don’t apply animation to your pitch deck
You remember the old proverb that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That’s why you shouldn’t practice animation because the animation will not run at exactly the wrong time.
Instead, you can use in consecutive slides that give the impression of animation without the risk of something breaking.
4.) Don’t go for a fancy template on your pitch deck
You want the center of your deck to be your narrative, not the template. That’s why a rich template is not required. Plus you can spare money by hiring a designer too.
A plain white background is all you need.
5.) Don’t Keep Charts for Your Financials in Your Deck
I know it views great to have that number chart of your growth that resembles a baseball bat. Instead, you should have a regular proforma income statement that gives all the necessary financial data in one place.
You can just copy and paste from your monetary plan. Then you’ve made things effortless for likely investors to see precisely what’s going on financially with your company in one slide.
Q7 Why Do You Require Two Narratives (Versions) of Your Pitch Deck?
Although it is a shock to many to discover this, when you are actively pitching and accumulating money, you should have two separate versions of your deck.
One that has lots of white space and comparatively fewer words that you use as a visual backdrop to a live presentation, and another one that has sufficient extra words that it can explain itself and make sense without you being there to describe it in case you require to email it to someone.
You don’t want to mail the white space one or present from the lengthy one. And you don’t want to try to get by on just one version. Both blunders are going to lead to poor results.
The single most relevant data to add to your deck is your contact info. On the cover page and the last page of the deck, you should list every single channel of getting in touch with you.
Put it at the very beginning. It sounds like a given, but some people don’t do this, either…
Q8 What are Some Important Rules of Pitch Deck?
i.) Consistency is essential – Ensure your slides feel part of the very narrative. Practice using the same kind of pictures, fonts, and phrasing across all your slides.
ii.) Consider Topic Transitions – Consistency is important but you don’t want every slide to look similar. Append crafty variations as you move on to a different topic. These will work as visible cues on your audience’s notice.
iii.) More concise is powerful– Only put words that carry a persuasive purpose. If a word doesn’t speak anything for itself, it shouldn’t be on your slide.
iv.) Let pictures do the talking – Pictures say a lot more than words could ever tell. Utilize pictures that speak to the story you’re describing, without being too complicated. They should intensify the purpose.
v.) Use animation and effects cautiously – Resist the urge to apply animations. They’ll grab the concentration from your story. If you have to, go for subtle and useful.
Email Pitch Decks
Q9 Should you email your pitch deck before an investor meeting?
If you are considering pitching the deck even before the meeting, then you have to be thorough with your deck.
Pitching the deck before the meeting has always been challenging for founders because it has both pros and cons to it.
First, we will talk about the advantages, then we move on to the disadvantages.
Q10 What are the advantages and disadvantages of emailing the pitch deck?
i.) It Saves Time
The one good thing about pitching the deck upfront is that you can save time for both of you.
If investors are not interested in your idea, then they save their time and your time, too. Hence, that is a plus for both of you.
ii.) You can work on the Idea
Another aspect of after investors saying NO to your idea is that you can work on your idea even more.
- Find the mistakes
- Address the issue
- Lookup for the solution
- Coming up with a new pitch deck with a better presentation
iii.) It Advances the Meeting
Since investors already have one idea on your pitch deck, you can advance your meeting with other significant topics you want to talk about.
iv.) Allows you to discuss detailed information
You will have so much freedom to talk about everything in detail since the investors already know the pitch. You don’t miss important points, which you think are relevant to address at the meeting.
v.) Dodge Unnecessary points
There will be no room for unnecessary points like introduction, problem, and solution to reiterate it at the meeting point. You can simply focus on other points, instead.
There are cons to it, too. You gotta gauge the other side of points as well.
i.) Chance for Misinterpretation
If there is any scope for misinterpretation in the deck, then it is not a good sign for you. Investors won’t even try to have a meeting with you in the first place just to avoid the time waste.
ii.) Scope for a lengthy Presentation
Since there won’t be anyone to explain a few things, you’ve got to squeeze in as much information as you can on the pitch deck so that investors won’t feel the explaining part in the deck.
iii.) A chance for a boring presentation
The length of the presentation is already very high and additionally, there is no one to explain it further, which leaves the reader bored.
iv.) More Chances of being Ignored
Most of the time investors won’t even get the time to read it so there is a high chance of getting your pitch deck ignored, and won’t even make the cut for selection in the first place.
Q11 How much info should I include in the pitch deck that is being emailed?
Though it is not a good idea to present your idea through an email, considering the time of investors, and how valuable it is for them, you have no room to make any mistakes while preparing a pitch deck.
The other thing is if there is any confusion with your pitch deck for investors, then it will be detrimental to your project idea. In short, avoid sending pitch decks through email unless it is essential.
When you are mailing, make the pitch deck as informational as you can. If you are presenting it in person, you can minimize the slide count, but if you are mailing then increase the slide count.
When I said, “increase the slide,” I meant as educational as it can be, not just for the sake of numbers.
Slides should talk for themselves without you being there. If you can make your slides talk for themselves, then there is a high possibility that you can talk further in your in-person meeting (remember, there will be multiple meetings before they say yes to your idea).
Anyhow, the following are some of the points you need to remember while preparing your pitch deck for email purposes:
- Cover Page: Because your investor needs to know your company’s name. Investors might be getting other pitch decks, too. So make sure you keep your cover page to let them know who you are.
- Problem: Though you don’t need to stress about this slide, you ensure that they understand the problem clearly.
- Market Opportunity: Let them understand the market opportunity. For this slide, you need to do a lot of research, especially the stats and the figures in the market.
- Solution: Explain how you are solving the stated problem. This slide doesn’t need to be extremely long but you explain enough to understand that the problem is being sorted out. If you think you want to include details then it is probably a bad idea to just screw up the whole concept. Some people won’t understand the technicalities of the problem in just slides so reserve it for an in-person meeting.
- Approach: Approach is another slide where you can tell the investor how you are approaching the market with your strategy.
- Competitive Landscape: Never forget to include this slide even in the slightest. It may not seem huge to you, but investors will not like it if you don’t include this slide because no product is competitive-free in the market unless it is super innovative and completely new to the market.
- Financials: Financial projections can be a little harder to predict whether it is a startup or a business expansion, but make sure you do your proper research before stating the facts and stats of the market after 3 or 5 years. Investors will give some liberty in this slide about the facts and stats, but make sure they are logical instead of complete rubbish.
- Funding Requirements: Include the funding needed for your project and let them know what you are spending it on.
- Management Team: If your management team is popular enough in the investors’ arena, then include them in your team slide. This might weigh a little bit more if they have some credibility in the market.
So these are all the basic slides you need for your pitch deck. Though it looks similar to the normal pitch deck, ensure that you make it as informational as possible.
Email your presentation only when it is absolutely necessary, otherwise, always go with an in-person meeting.
But if we look at the other spectrum of this presentation, it is very beneficial if you are not good at public speaking. The only thing you need to do is to ensure that the pitch deck is perfect with its information without giving no room for ambiguity.
But I would recommend a professional pitch deck designer for this kind of pitch deck since they have been in the business for so long and know how to get the message across to the investor.
Q12 Are there people who can help you make a pitch deck for email purposes?
There are so many companies in the market to get you a successful pitch deck that wins the hearts of investors.
As with every field, not every company is good. The only way to find out which company is offering good services is by finding which company is offering the most value to your pitch deck.
But you won’t know that unless you get their pitch deck in your hands. So to get an idea as to which company is offering the most value to the pitch decks, just go to their website and look at the information that they have provided about pitch decks, and what kind of intricacies are there in the pitch deck preparations.
You may have an idea about what the pitch deck is and the logistics behind it. With the kind of information the website is providing, you can gauge if the website knows a little bit about the pitch deck or not.
Why is it so important?
It may not seem important, but it is. If the website talks about every issue regarding pitch decks that kind of implies it has some experience in pitch deck products and knows a bit about pitch decks so you can assure yourself that you can’t go wrong with them.
But, is it everything?
Yes, I agree that just because one website has put everything about pitch deck doesn’t mean they can develop good pitch decks.
Yes, there is a chance that you can go wrong with them, too, but, at least, you can’t go all wrong with those kinds of websites so that was positive.
In the end, it is all about taking chances in life. Nothing comes easier in life, if it is, then it isn’t a good one.
Hence, go for possibilities that make some sense and logic to you, instead of just going for complete unknown things. Hopefully, this makes some sense.
Q13 How long (or short) should a startup company’s pitch deck be?
There is no explicit page count because every company and audience is varied, but usually speaking what you want is a deck that enables you to tell the company story immediately, precisely and cogently in 10–15 minutes.
That normally translates to 12–18 slides, with possibly a few more stashed in an appendix in case you want them during Q&A.
But there is much more to it than just page counts. Since you seem to be operating on a deck, let me share some advice on deck construction and design in case it is helpful to you.
Without uncertainty, the best investor displays use uniform building blocks, has the correct assembly and the elements are organised in a strategic flow.
Q14 As a startup, should I list the closest competitors in our pitch deck?
Most people think that the competitor’s slide is one of the tricky slides to include in your pitch deck if you are unsure about including it.
First things first, not including your competitors slide in your pitch deck tells the audience the following things:
- You haven’t done your research part before coming to the pitch deck proposition.
- You are unsure of your product.
- You know that your competitors have an advantage over your product.
- You are a negligent person.
It says a lot about yourself even though you are not that person. Hence, it is better to put the competitor’s slide in your pitch deck.
If you can add a few more competitors to your pitch deck, which are unknown to VCs, that can really impress the VCs.
Always keep in mind that following competitors’ strategies and their way of tackling business are very significant to your business success.
Even if you don’t follow them, they will make sure that they are following everyone’s strategies and strategies their plan according to it, and highlight your shortcomings. Furthermore, they will reveal how they are going to resolve your issue with their solution.
First things first, not including your competitors slide in your pitch deck tells you the following things apart from highlighting your shortcomings:
- You haven’t done your research part before coming to the pitch deck proposition.
- You are unsure of your product.
- You know that your competitors have an advantage over your product.
- You are a negligent person.
It says a lot about yourself even though you are not that person. To be on the safer side, it is better to put the competitor’s slide in your pitch deck.
If you can add a few more competitors to your pitch deck, which are unknown to VCs, that can really impress the VCs.
Always keep in mind that following competitors’ strategies and their way of tackling business are very significant to your business success.
Even if you don’t follow them, they will make sure that they are following everyone’s strategies and strategies according to it, and highlight your shortcomings. Furthermore, they will reveal how they are going to resolve your issue with their solution.
Q15 How can you do a startup funding pitch deck pre or early launch and have the financial and marketing projections without them being total BS?
Creating a startup funding pitch is always tough. For one, we don’t have previous experience with the work, and the other is that this can be the first time creating a pitch deck.
Both can seem a bit challenging at first, and to make financial projections is even more difficult. Let’s get this straight, estimating financial projections is troublesome for anyone let alone if it is a startup or some expansion business. It is daunting no matter what.
There are so many factors to consider to project finance numbers on the charts. They are so difficult to predict, even for people, who have been in the business for so long.
It is really amateurish to expect some financial projections for startups. Instead, you can include things other than financial projections after 5 years for your startup funding.
The following are some of the financial things you can cover in your pitch deck:
- Cost of raw material
- Office rent
- Labor costs
- Advertising costs
- Digital marketing costs, if any
- Electricity bills
- Phone bills
- Investment costs for PCs, if needed
- What is the price of the end product in the market?
- Market estimates
- How many people will buy it?
- What is the profit you can get from each product?
These are some of the elements you can cover in your financial projections slide instead of financial projections after 5 years because it is very tough to calculate the financial projections, especially if it is entirely new to the market.
Q16 What are some of the best-designed start-up/business expansion pitch decks? I’m looking to compile an epic list of sexy pitch decks for inspiration. List them here and post the links to view them online.
There are so many pitch decks out there that are very intriguing and compelling at the same time. I can’t list all of them, but I want to point out the 3 pitch decks which piqued my interest, and they are LinkedIn, Facebook and Uber. Here are the 3 pitch decks:
We all know all these 3 are different industries with different niches. There are a few common things I have observed in all three of them, which piqued my interest, and why they are the best pitch decks among the others.
The first two pitch decks i.e., LinkedIn and Facebook already have some initial presence in the market before they pitch deck their ideas.
Hence, they are not entirely new to the market, the Uber pitch deck is entirely new to the market, but they have some competition to beat in the market.
So my way of dealing with this subject will be different in some areas because you cannot equate a startup with an already existing industry in the market, however, there are some commonalities between all of them, and also, I will try to dissect the difference between a startup and expansion pitch deck.
First up, the common things. The first common thing between all of them is how they can generate revenue.
Is it really significant? It is, but it is not that important that you can put this in the first slide.
So don’t talk about revenue in the first slide itself, though it is important.
Revenue is important because no investor will invest in something that is not giving any returns after some time. You can have it on later slides.
The second most common thing about all 3 pitch decks is how they can grab the opportunity in the market.
The other important aspect is opportunity. Always remember, an opportunity is the most important thing to recognise in the market.
There are so many examples where a startup has entered the market when the market for that product is already saturated. Never enter the market without an opportunity.
The third most common thing is how they are highlighting their improvement to the already existing product in the market and explaining how it is a 2.0 version.
3.) 2.0 Version
Regardless of how small the improvement is, it is an improvement in the end, and you can sell it as a 2.0 version on the market. But keep in mind that there should be a significant improvement to the existing product.
The fourth most common thing about pitch deck is how they are ending their pitch deck with a solid final quote.
4.) Solid Final Quote
Always end your presentation with a solid final quote. Most people think the final quote doesn’t seem to have much significance on the pitch decks, but it does.
Just look at all the pitch decks, of course, apart from the Uber, the other two ended with a solid final quote, which makes a substantial impact on the audience when they are leaving.
And last but not least, the cover page. Though the cover page carries no weight on the pitch deck, you have to put it right on the first page itself. It is just basic common sense of what you are talking about.
5.) The variation between startup and expansion business
The key differentiator between the startup and expansion business is that you don’t need to talk about the product again since everyone knows about it already.
If you notice the Uber pitch deck, they have focused more on their product rather than expansion or anything else.
Keep this in mind when you pitch your deck as a startup. It is important to make them aware of your product before going into details like expansion and other stuff.
Finally, these are some of the things you can analyse by just having a glance at it, though it depends on the individual product, these are some of the basic stuff which they have talked about and why they have become so successful in getting the funds.
Q17 Do I need to include financial projections in my startup pitch deck?
Financial projections are hard to predict. Of course, at the same time, if you don’t know how the product is going to make an impact in the future, then it is pointless to ask for investment.
So, what should you do? You should have your financial projection that is for sure, but you need to make some balance between realistic, optimistic and unrealistic.
In all fairness, never be aggressive with your financial projections. We can’t take things for granted at any point in time.
The situation varies over time, especially when we are projecting things after 5 years. You need to consider a lot of things into consideration, and most of them are dynamic in nature.
Dynamic things are always hard to predict. Hence, to be on the safer side, do some little research about marketing and its way of penetration in the market.
At the same time, never be too conservative about your product. This kind of conservativeness reveals that you are cynical about your product.
No one wants to invest in a company where the CEO is pessimistic about his product. So avoid this one, too, as much as possible.
1.) Talk about your spending
Investors are interested in how you are spending your money.
- You should let them where your funding is going.
- Which department is getting the biggest share?
- How much money are you allotting to different departments?
- How much does raw material cost?
- What is the investment in marketing the product?
- What are the spendings on overhead expenses?
- Always estimate 3x your original estimation.
2.) Talk about your product and market
- Single product cost
- The market rate of the product
- How many customers are there for your product?
- What are your competitor’s customer numbers?
- How are you going to enter the market?
- What are the regions where you want your product to be introduced?
- How many products do you want to introduce in the market?
3.) Talk about the estimation of your product
As I mentioned before, it is important to talk about financial projections in your pitch deck. When you are talking about the financial projections, talk about the following things:
- Your product’s estimation right after the 6 months of introduction into the market.
- What is your price after 6 months?
- Your competitor’s price after 6 months.
- How are you going to improve your product after 6 months?
- What are the new features you are going to add to your product in 6 months?
- What is your approach after 1 year?
- Likewise, you have to estimate after 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, and 5 years as well, and what is your approach after every year.
The above things may not hold true after some time but do some research about the market and as well as about the product so you will get some idea about it.
Therefore, you can appropriate it up to some extent, if not for the whole period.
Q18 What legal disclaimers should a startup pitch deck include about financial projections?
Disclaimers about financial projections are unnecessary on the startup pitch deck. Most VCs know that. In fact, some VCs believe that most of the financial projections are completely rubbish.
Furthermore, the financial projections are there just for the sake of it, but the VCs just want to know what is your understanding regarding the subject, and that is it.
Though those kinds of financial projections won’t tell how true it is, it says that you have a solid understanding of the subject you are talking about, and this makes VCs believe to invest in the product even if the financial projections are completely wrong.
Always remember, there is a fine line between talking nonsense and rubbish. Even if you are talking nonsense make sure that you have some logic to it. This way, VCs would believe that the idea is executable.
Hence, don’t put any legal disclaimers on your pitch deck slides. That can just make things a whole lot worse.
Q19 How seriously do investors look at the pitch deck?
They are investing money so obviously, they do have a serious look at the pitch deck. It’s not like a normal presentation where you are losing no money because of the presentation.
Since you are investing money in the pitch deck, you know that a lot of money will be at stake if you don’t listen to it properly.
If an investor is not paying attention to your pitch deck, you are the first person who is most likely going to lose everything, not the investor.
Yes, the investor would lose his money, but he has other options to get his money back, but what about you? You will lose the trust factor in the market. Due to this reason, most investors won’t even try to have a look at your pitch deck because of your previous failures.
Hence, investors need to have a serious look at your presentation, if not for his sake, at least, for your sake. Ensure that investors are listening to your pitch.
Q20 How much does a pitch deck cost?
Pitch deck costs change differently across various platforms. People charge per hour, per slide, per pitch deck, etc.
It entirely depends on the kind of presentation, idea, research, number of slides, market reports, the experience of a candidate, skillset of the candidate, etc. There is no specific price for the pitch deck in the market. It usually varies between $250-$5000.
To be honest, you get what you pay for in the market.
Q21 Is it just a PowerPoint slide show?
In a way, you can say that it is a PowerPoint slide show, but the purpose of this PowerPoint is different from others. Yes, it is a PowerPoint slideshow, but it is not like every other PowerPoint slide show.
Here in this PowerPoint, you are selling an idea for money to an investor. For most PowerPoint slideshows that may not be the case.
Q22 How do you build a “sales deck” and how does it compare to a pitch deck?
The pitch deck is about you!
With a pitch deck, you’re looking for your readers to opt-in to an idea, like a start-up or a marketing drive. You’ll have to persuade them of its potential, by communicating your narrative and showing signs that the concept is worth persevering.
The sales deck is about your prospects, not about you.
Sales decks are intended to persuade a prospect that they want your product/service to approach their aims. The pivotal point here is your prospects, not you.
Don’t throw a group of facts and figures showing how well you’re doing at them. They don’t care.
Here’s a set of specifications you can pursue to work on a sales deck that will make your prospects say YES to your offer.
1.) Never Pitch
Leave the pitch. It’s an obsolescent word expressing what salespeople used to do: randomly launching data and numbers to see what holds.
Prospects don’t care about your astonishing name, your satisfied customers or your big collection of honors. They worry about themselves and they bother about what you can do for them.
To discover what you can do for your prospects, you first have to get to understand them inside-out.
Complete your study. Ask questions, hear and discover.
2.) Tell the Narrative
Instead of pitching, tell a narrative.
Stories pierce people in a way data & numbers just don’t.
That’s the way we’re wired.
Stories are the most compelling way to stimulate a human brain and thus the best way to captivate readers.
3.) Initiate with WHY
People don’t think of what you do, they think of why you do it
It’s what Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers have in general. It’s the code to influencing and motivating by and through language.
We talk profusely about what we do. Then we move on to the how and eventually if we reach there, the why.
The thing is that what doesn’t do much for us. Our brain just doesn’t care about what.
Why, on the other hand, is more like the attention seekers. Like narratives, they entice the part of the brain that ignites sensations.
There’s a lot. Research has uncovered that the brains of storytellers and audiences can synchronise as the story uncovers.
This suggests you can cause feelings, thoughts, and passions into someone’s mind, just by narrating a story.
4.) Use the Fairy-Tale composition
You don’t have to be an expert at storytelling to tell a solid story.
One company that captured the sales narrative is Zuora. Their sales deck has been recognized as the most comprehensive sales deck of all time.
Step 1 – Start with a bang
Kick-off by building a tremendous sense of necessity for your readers.
Name a prominent transformation in the world. It’s a move that comes with huge stakes for your prospects and makes them doubt the state of their company within it.
This transformation has to be as undeniable as the mass destruction of planet earth in the hands of Thanos in the Infinity war movie. The Avengers had no alternative but to take action.
Your sales deck requires you to make it explicit that this is about to happen and that it is time for your hero-prospect to take some serious action.
Step 2 – Make it apparent there’ll be Conquerors & Failures
All candidates experience from loss aversion — they’ll rather counter losing by adhering to the status quo than striving to succeed by going for a move.
Tell your prospects that this huge shift is a tremendous chance to win big or lose poorly.
You’re depicting a black and white portrait here
Proceed with the transition and be a champion => Glittering future ahead
Disregard the transition and be a failure => Gloomy future ahead
Step 3 – Stimulate the Land of Milk and Honey
By now you reasonably feel motivated to roll all your aces on the table and tell them all about how big your product/service is.
The momentum is all yours now but walk carefully.
If you go all-in too hastily, your prospects will drop their attention and tune out.
Delay the concept of the happily-ever-after destiny that you can help them accomplish.
This Promised Land should be charming, yet challenging to approach. That’s where you come into the picture.
This fantasy world is not your product. It’s how life will be like after opting for your product/service. Your product/service is a mystical enabler of the awesome life.
Step 4 – Layout Features as Superpowers
Now it’s time to display your features as the prospect’s sidekick.
You’re the prospect’s Master – you’ll be giving him the superpowers to surmount the impediments that lay between him and the dreamland.
These superpowers come in the shape of a game-changer, some kind of enchanting tool that picks the chosen one – your prospect – aside from the rest.
Step 5 – Let your prospects know that you can make the story come true
By now the story is pretty obvious: if they work with you, you’ll take them to the dreamland.
People are not scared of paying money. What they are frightened of is being deceived.
Unleash those feelings by revealing what you can deliver.
The final part of your deck should be about testimony that demonstrates your expertise to take your prospects to the stars.
The most reliable way to do this is by explaining you did it before. A triumph story about how you improved comparable prospects to get to the Land of Milk and Honey.
I’m talking about customer recommendations. If you’re still lacking in those, demos are the second-best compelling way to establish yourself.
Step 6 – Outline the picture
Slides are the least you should think about.
If you can’t narrate a story that penetrates without slides, your story fails.
Think of your slides as visible reminders that improve your prospect’s image of the Land of Milk and Honey. Your deck should be what makes your narrative sing.
Types of Pitches
The doors are shut, everyone’s assembled around the conference room table, notepads out, coffee in hand, waiting for your speech.
This is the time you’ve been planning for months now. The opportunity to raise funds for your project and start down the road to action …
Hold on, first, you have to pitch to the investors.
The harsh reality that sometimes hits startup founders is that they always need to pitch, I mean, always. If you want to lure investors, consumers, or just get people enthusiastic about your plan, you will be required to learn the art of pitching.
The skill of telling concisely what your startup does and passing the information in the right way, however, is not a simple task.
According to GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor), about 100 million startups are originating every year. That’s approximately 3 startups every second.
Before learning how to curate the message in the best way, startup founders need to understand that not all the startup pitches are identical. Knowing the various types of startup pitch becomes indispensable for long-term benefits.
As a founder, you won’t have much time to create and perfect your startup pitch, for this purpose, getting ahead of this task is crucial.
The answer here is that you study how to alter the messaging according to the circumstances you encounter. For instance, startup trials require a more diverse type of startup pitch than when you face someone at an exhibition.
Penetrating the messaging is essential, but the substance of the message is not the solitary thing to notice. Discovering how to pitch a startup is a process that anyone can master and, more significantly, everyone working for you should also know.
Every single employee, particularly in the initial days, should be a representative of your company. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and will promote your work as a founder.
Before discovering how to pitch and what’s necessary for a pitch, it’s vital to know the varieties of startup pitch you can present.
The messaging or the arrangement of your startup pitch don’t matter if you use it in an incongruous circumstance.
Types of Startup Pitch
Depending on who you are communicating with and the circumstances you are in, the information around product pitch should be modified. Below, we take a look at the most prevalent types.
1.) The Twitter Pitch
This sums up your complete idea in one awe-inspiring sentence. It has become obvious to devise a comparison with well-known organizations to promote this task for startup founders. For this reason, we frequently hear:
“It’s the Amazon of XYZ”
Despite this being still appropriate and powerful, I recommend you try to add something your innovation to it. In the last few years, startup founders have been exploiting the comparison method, so it’s great to come at it from an offbeat perspective.
When is the right time to Execute It?
This is most suitable for events where you meet completely new people and they don’t have an idea of your business.
An engaging, catchy line that describes in a few words your company, but doesn’t make the listener doze with futile data.
There shouldn’t be any question from the listener’s point of view other than “how does that work?” then you can go on and give a detailed explanation of the idea you have.
2.) What is a Seed Funding Pitch?
The first thing founders need to realize is that the seed funding pitch varies from other presentations. This will have an initial impact on the startup.
It is a short presentation that a founder or entrepreneur offers to possible investors, partners, and cofounders to give them a sense of the business plan at the beginning stage as well as the roadmap and strategies for the future.
The purpose of the pitch is to draw investors on board for seed funding, which will be the basis for the brand-new company.
There are so many things to keep in mind while preparing a seed funding deck. These involve specific things that should be part of your story and some that should be withdrawn at all costs.
Seed-stage investors are very selective about their time so your seed funding presentation should be brief but also have all the basic aspects that an investor would require.
3.) Pre-Read Pitch/Leave Behind Pitch
A well put together and comprehensive pre-meeting pitch deck is very challenging. Producing one as a send-ahead, where you won’t be available to give an idea, can be a whole different monstrous job.
Unfortunately, most investors want to see a deck before they meet you. And if you are fortunate enough to get an appointment without one, they’re still preferred to ask your pitch deck so they have some background setting for the conference.
below are the three top areas to cover in the pre-read pitch deck:
- Explain your problem
- Make your team stand out
- Unveil your product
4.) Demo Pitch
Demo pitch is loaded with heavy images and less text. So basically you have to make the images talking most of the time along with your oratory skills.
In short, make noise with pictures, not with words.
5.) Metrics Pitch
The metric pitch is all about numbers and the progress you have witnessed over the years.
The story you offer to investors is vital for your fundraising purposes. The financial metrics that succinctly and precisely explain your company’s traction and the business image will underpin this narrative, giving the backbone to maintaining your company up against the analysis of the fundraising process.
Understand your numbers and exhibit the most appropriate metrics to force investors to finance.
6.) Business Model Pitch
A business pitch deck is a portrayal that presents a summary of your business idea to your house members. Typically, you would offer a pitch deck to likely investors, business associates, board members, and customers.
The pitch deck requires you to describe your business model. After your likely investors recognize what your company does, the next thing they want to identify is how you get money.
The business model is a mixture of company stage and progress, product progress, income model, and product distribution models.
The business model has multiple elements. Don’t try to place all of the elements on the same slide. Multiple slides are much better to understand and easier to comprehend.
You can explain a revenue model with a pie chart on one slide, for instance, describe your product progress plan on another slide, and dedicate the third slide to the company stage.
7.) Elevator Pitch
This pitch is a brief description of your business. The intention is that this pitch should last as long as between 15 seconds and a couple of seconds. However, most times, your elevator pitch shouldn’t be more than 30 seconds.
This has become more important among startup founders, as VCs and angel investors get assaulted with startup pitches. The purpose is that once you have recognized your investor you get his or her concentration in as little as 30 seconds.
To curate a great elevator pitch, consider the following things into concern:
- Set the goal of your pitch – What do you want out of this pitch? Is it the next round of meetings? An evaluation? Think about this before creating your message.
- Describe concisely but clearly what you do – Can you be short and still communicate the core purpose of your startup?
- Describe your USP – Are you able to distinguish one or two key game-changers for your startup?
- Arouse the listener with one intriguing question
8.) Competitors Pitch
Probably the most important pitch in all of the pitch deck. The competition pitch deck is like playing with a two-edged sword. We all know it’s not easy and we can’t completely avoid it either.
Do the proper research before creating this slide as it is very important from an investor’s point of view. If you are avoiding it by saying, “there is no competition in your field,” then there is all the more reason for investors to suspect your idea.
9.) Investors Pitch
The investor pitch is somewhat comparable to how you show your startup at a competition, nevertheless, the dynamic of the communication is very diverse.
You need to involve the listener, make him or her engaged and be ready to get into particulars. But make sure you don’t go over 10 slides.
When communicating with investors, ensure you spend some time on problems, solutions (novel technology) and traction. This is THE PITCH that you have to get ready for. The people in front of you are the ones that can spend money to convert your idea into actuality.
Make sure you keep this slide with proper stats and numbers. Yes, it is tough to get clear estimates, but make it as logical as possible.
In the end, don’t make any mistakes with the competitors’ pitch. This is a do or die slide for you to get the funding.
10.) Final Thoughts
So this is all about different types of pitch decks. As you have seen, every pitch is more or less as important as the other one. Realize the importance of each pitch and do the respective research related to the pitch and present it to the investors.
In the end, it is all about how easily you are presenting your pitch deck, and how easily it is reaching the audience, in this case, it is investors.
Make your pitch deck as easy as possible to understand for investors, but to make this happen you need to realize the difference between all the slides, and what kind of purpose it is serving in your pitch deck. If you are clear about this, then it is not a challenging task to impress the investors with your pitch deck.
Likes & Dislikes of an Investor
In a pitch deck presentation showing business, the USP factor isn’t always the foremost factor for a perfect pitch. The principal factor for every start-up is having a fabulous team that encourages business with enthusiasm and intensity. The other part is knowing the ‘why’ behind the concept.
Having a perfect pitch is vital for an investor. It will further define if the company gets sufficient fuel to kick start the company. It is noteworthy that throughout this presentation you should grab everyone’s attention. An ideal pitch would be more appealing to the viewers than dragging a rabbit out of a hat.
Every start-up should have its all-hands-on-deck before offering it to investors. Entrepreneurs need to have a well-defined method on how to sweep their investors off their feet.
The following are some of the things investors would like to hear from your pitch deck:
1.) The team
The team may not seem important in the first instance, but believe me, if the company goes through some crisis because of some wrongdoings or because of some wrong estimates, there should be people who can have the ability to recover the company with their skillset and attitude.
It’s not always about the idea that you have, but about the people that you have in your arsenal to cope with conflicts.
Hence, make sure that your team is good enough to handle all these issues before presenting your team to the investors.
2.) Always have a “why” on your pitch deck
It was never really relevant to have “what are you doing?” on your project. When you are introducing one product into the market, most probably, everyone knows what it is doing. Therefore, “what are you doing?” It hardly serves any purpose.
Even “how are you doing it?” hardly serve any purpose so omit that one as well.
The only thing that matters to customers is “why are you doing it?” If you notice updates on mobiles or apps, that’s usually what happens.
They will tell you “why is it a better version than the previous model?” Since they know what kind of purpose a mobile or a mobile app serves. They only want to know “why should they go for it?”
3.) Dedicate your idea to a Niche
There is talk in the pitch deck field that investors are leaning towards niche products. It might seem like a bad idea considering the user base, but when you think of niche products, more or less, they are going to be unique ideas that don’t exist in the market yet, which means you are going to have some user base even if it is a small user base.
That way, you know you won’t go bankrupt. The other fabulous aspect of niche products is that you can tap into other markets as well if there is scope for product expansion into other markets.
4.) Communicate your Idea
Every startup has an idea, but that is not important. What is important here is how you are communicating.
When you look at history there were so many people who came up with similar ideas, but some succeeded with their ideas, but some didn’t succeed even if the product is similar to the other product or even if sometimes better than their counterparts.
It is because the failed ones weren’t able to communicate with the customers, in the end, the result was a big disaster.
Always select a guy for the pitch deck who can communicate your ideas with the audience. Investors wouldn’t want to invest in an idea where the team has no one to communicate the idea with the audience.
There is nothing more dreadful than looking at the pitch deck of an overconfident person. It does not just create a bad impression, but it also makes you seem arrogant with your thoughts.
A person should be able to talk the talk and walk the walk. If you are the kind of person, who is just all bark and no bite, then you are not just giving yourself a bad reputation, but you are also spoiling the chances of your company.
Never act that way even if you are, at least, for your company’s sake.
2.) Not doing proper research about your market
Imagine yourself being an investor and trying to find a good profitable startup to invest in and get some money in return for your investment.
You come across a pitch where he didn’t do the proper research about the market, and he thinks that there is no competition for his product in the market. Now, would you be able to invest or not?
If you are a good investor, then you probably realize that it wasn’t a viable idea to invest. Even if there is no competition, you don’t know what will happen in the future.
Just for that sake, you should mention the estimates even if they are not 100% right approximations. It implies that you are a practical person.
3.) Proper Evaluation
Investors would appreciate it if you evaluate your idea with a proper assessment of the market.
There is no need for your evaluation should be 100% correct about the market. At the same time, it shouldn’t be all about how magnificent the product is going to be in the market.
Prepare three scenarios for your product. One should be the best scenario, the second should be the medium scenario, and the last one should be the worst-case scenario.
So do a proper evaluation of your market.
Mindset is another aspect you need to be a little mindful of. It’s not about whether an investor likes it or not. It’s about you.
Having a settled mindset is very essential for a person, not just for an entrepreneur. Hence, speak with a clear mindset and clear clarity when you are pitching an idea.
Be open-minded only when it is needed, otherwise, be firm with your decision making no matter what happens.
So those are some of the likes and dislikes of the investors. If you identify any of those dislikes in your pitch deck, in your team, or yourself, then discard those to provide a good pitch deck experience for your investor.
If you don’t have one or two likes of the investors in your team, pitch deck or in yourself, then add those to your arsenal to make it even stronger.
Q23 Should I include a slide on my pitch deck briefly explaining all my struggles and how I’ve overcome them?
This is definitely a tricky question. This slide depends on the individual. Everyone portrays their struggles differently.
If you ask most people about this question, mostly you get the answer as NO. In the context of the pitch deck, it has its pros and cons to it.
But all you have to look at is how your downfall is helping the product’s cause. Basically, without proper context, it looks pointless to include the slide.
And, it also suggests that you are just an unstable person, in general, with those failure stories. Never let anyone feel that you are a big failure. No one likes to invest in an unstable person’s idea. So, in a way, it gives a negative vibe to your pitch deck idea.
At the same time, the struggle can score some points in an investor’s view if you know how to portray it. As I mentioned above, it all depends on how you are putting it in a positive light. At the end of the day, how your struggles are helping your business idea to promote it in the market.
Sometimes, your struggle can be your strength because struggles indirectly say that you are a tough guy to beat. Even if tomorrow the company goes through a crisis, investors know that you are not a guy who will escape from the trouble.
So it is up to you to decide whether you can handle this slide or not in front of the investors.
It also depends on investors. Some investors show interest in hearing struggling stories, some don’t.