There are a few core elements that every pitch deck should include, but try to steer clear of templates. Every startup is different, offering solutions to different problems, engaging different customers, and speaking through its own brand identity. Make sure your pitch deck truly captures the unique essence of your startup.
Creating a pitch deck that works, requires that you first answer these 2 questions:
– Audience. Who are you presenting to? Will your audience know about products similar to yours? WIll they be aware of the current market and available technologies?
– Forum. Will you be sending this pitch deck by email to be read by an investor? Will you be presenting the pitch deck in a one-on-one meeting, or will it be to a group?
These questions should be used to guide your decisions on the structure of your pitch deck, as well as its content. If you get stuck, go back to your answers to these questions.
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s look at the core elements you’ll need to cover in your deck…
Introduce your company…with a bang
Use the first one or two slides as a teaser to captivate your audience right off the bat. Present an overview of what your company aims to achieve, and how. You could view these first 2 slides almost like an elevator pitch – hit the main points, show value, and make an impression. Once your audience is locked in, you can launch into the rest of your presentation, providing a broader perspective, without losing their attention.
Present the problem you’re going to be solving
In this section, make sure you cover 2 important topics that every investor will be waiting to hear about:
– the problem your product will be solving;
– the market that will be using your product.
How many slides you need for this section really depends on how educated on the topic your audience is. More importantly, you will need to show convincing proof that there is a market for your idea – that there are enough people out there who need what your company will be offering, and will be prepared to pay for it. It’s likely that there are existing solutions in place for the problem you’re aiming to solve. You must show how these current services or products are failing to meet customers’ needs.
Unveil your product or idea
Now that you’ve shown that there is definitely a demand that hasn’t been met, it’s time to show how you plan on conquering your market. Your product or service should feel like a perfectly-shaped missing puzzle piece, outdoing the competition by answering the needs of customers in a unique and innovative way.
This is probably the most important part of your presentation as it is a condensed version of your company’s identity. Make your solution shine with high level information to backup your statements, and stay grounded. You don’t want your audience to think you’re in love with your own product without reason.
How is your idea different from existing solutions? It’s important that this part of your presentation be airtight – don’t leave any questions unanswered and be very critical with every statement you make. Investors will be searching for holes in your theory every step of the way.
Display your marketing prowess
In most cases, the state of your marketing strategy will depend on where you are with development. When it comes to a pitch deck, you must show that you’re already on your way to consolidating a solid plan-of-attack on your market share. Even if all the kinks haven’t been ironed out, investors need to know that the blurry middle ground between creating a product/service and actually getting people to notice it, is something you’re aware of, and prepared to conquer.
Show off your team
Building a class A team is no easy task. If you can show investors that this is something you’ve already mastered, it will make a big difference to your overall pitch. Present your team members in all their glory, highlighting their skills, but also their individual character strengths, and how they will be more than able to stand up to the challenges ahead.
Remember, investors will be imagining working with you and your team. If you don’t seem like a reliable and communicative bunch that can handle creating something big, it won’t matter how great your idea is.
Bring in the numbers
If you’re still at a fairly early stage, you probably won’t have access to significant data to put together integrated financial projections. Investors will realise this, but that’s not a reason to skip it out! You still need to take this part of the pitch deck very seriously, and show figures that describe both the revenue and cost side of your proposed company.
How well thought out this section is will determine the impression you make on your investors: are you business-minded enough to take this idea all the way? Will you make the best use of THEIR capital? How do you plan on hitting those critical milestones? Do you understand financial metrics, and can you manage a company through thick and thin?
Keep things creative
Let’s face it, any type of presentation has to be engaging, and the same thing goes for pitch decks. Make sure the tone you use suits your audience and isn’t too serious, or too informal. You don’t need to be cracking people up with memes, but if you do find a way to show some personality and creativity, then go for it. Just make sure that it’s not at the expense of the vital information you’re trying to get across.