Honing Your Pitch
Get an investor’s attention with a killer pitch deck
Great ideas will get you far, but as an entrepreneur, funding is essential in order to keep those great ideas afloat. When launching your business – even if you’re bootstrapping – you’ll have to convince investors, clients and partners to to put money towards your venture, and that will most likely come in the form of a presentation. Enter, the pitch deck.
A pitch deck is a presentation that tells your company’s story and gives your audience (usually a group of potential investors) a rundown of your business plan and the problem your startup solves. And for a business looking for funding, they really, really matter. Here are three common mistakes to avoid when developing a pitch deck.
3 common pitch deck mistakes to avoid
1. Not covering the basics
There are certain elements all pitch decks need to have. Start with the basics, such as the cover page, an overview of the business, and at the end talk about the team that made it all happen. Explain what problem the product or service solves, and how, exactly, is this product or service the solution to that problem. For brownie points, have a demo ready to help investors familiarize themselves with the product. After the demo, give some testimonials. Showing that someone else thinks highly enough of your product or service to write a glowing review is an effective way to validate yourself and increase the audience’s confidence in the idea. Tell your audience why this is the right team to carry the company forward. Listen to our interview on The Founder’s Report podcast on how we prepared one of our clients for a Technori pitch.
2. Financial Projections
Investors are first and foremost numbers people, so always include detailed financial projections. Address why is this a good investment; the projected ROI; and how the company will make money in one, two, five and 10 years. Be prepared to visually demonstrate your data through graphs and clearly articulated numbers. Think Shark Tank, only without the camera crew and Mark Cuban. Finally, there is The Ask. This is where you lay it all out there by saying exactly what amount you’re looking to raise from potential investors. Use a pie chart to visually show how the investment will be used to help build the company.
3. Not tailoring your pitch to the audience
Knowing and tailoring to your audience can be the difference between closing a huge deal and looking unprepared. Before going into a pitch, find out how much time you have, if you have a screen, a whiteboard or none of the above, and who is going to be in the room with you. Will you be giving the pitch in person, via Skype or Google Hangout, or will it simply be emailed and passed along? Regardless of how you present your pitch, have two versions prepared: one for the actual presentation, with fewer words and more visuals, and an additional one for emailing that has more detail should it be passed around to different hands. Remember never to email the Powerpoint version of the deck, and instead convert it to PDF for consistent viewing on all devices and operating systems. Also, there is no harm in getting inspiration from the pitch decks of companies who have successfully funded. Compare the slides to the elements discussed above, and then tailor them to fit your business and voice. Check out these decks from AirBnb and Front for two examples of great pitch presentations.
Pitch decks show what you, as a founder, already know about your company: that it is a worthy solution to a real problem, that your team is capable of carrying the idea into the future, and that it’s a smart financial decision for investors. If your company needs help designing the perfect pitch deck, contact us. We’ll help you get something put together before your next big presentation.