While engaging in different startups as a Discovery Phase Consultant, I noticed that founders make a description of the product in their startup pitch decks usually in some kind of intangible own language. Of course, I understand they use their professional slang, but anyway it won’t make it more understandable to the average person. It makes others see these pitch decks the same as a cow looking at a new gate. However, founders still manage to talk the same way.
Founders think if everybody in their local environment talks the same slang, it should be easily understandable for others. However, it does not reflect reality.
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So from time to time, I ask them to do an explanation of some technical terms in simple words to make a child understand them. And my basic premise to this is to make them make themselves clear and straight to the point, and see if they are really understand they are talking about.
What Should a Pitch Deck Contain?
The most crucial component of making the best pitch deck is to keep it simple, clear, and straight to the point. If you start to realize that any of the pictures or information in your pitch deck is not totally required to achieve your primary intent, just remove it.
Quite often, founders aim to add just all available information to “reveal the topic” with the hope to amuse or even better infatuate investors while still conveying the most important idea or notion. For instance, when Uber presented a pitch deck to a venture capitalist, the opening slide was devoted to their business mission, which was an ultra-short sentence: “Next-Generation Car Service”. As you can see, there is no need to include more details on a pitch deck that is truly vital. The desire to fit a square peg into a round hole may divert investors attention away from the primary focus of your pitch deck and make them bored. The result of it will be sending your presentation to the trash.
When it comes to the maximum amount of slides that should be included in your pitch deck, everybody has their own ideal number. However, we recommend your pitch deck has 10-12 slides long, which qualifies as the perfect number for a pitch with a safe bid to win.
Guy Kawasaki, a venture investor and marketing expert, believes that the pitch deck should have just 10 slides, which must contain everything from your company’s name to your go-to-market strategy.
Guy is evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach an agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.Guy Kawasaki
Let’s learn the slides structure you should consider.
Slide 1. The Vision and Value Proposition
This should be a one-sentence description of your startup along with the kind of value you intend to provide to clients. This statement should be no more than 150 characters long. Many entrepreneurs articulate their value proposition by drawing parallels with preceding successful but similar businesses. If you use this option, the comparison must be within the same field or interests as your business.
Slide 2. The Challenge Your Startup Solves
Whatever audience you’re presenting this pitch deck to, it’s critical that your company is actively seeking to address an issue. It means you must specify which consumer has the problem and how your product or service addresses it. This slide is used by many entrepreneurs to present a relatable and compelling tale. If you can prove that the problem is an actual one that consumers encounter, you will have a much more straightforward option to get corporations to invest in your business.
Slide 3. Primary Target Market
Use this slide to go into further information about who your key consumer is and the size of your prospective market. Try to locate measurable statistics to back up the facts on this slide. To gauge current market demand, investors will also want to observe consumer spending statistics and related measures. If a company expects to reach many markets through various means of advertising, this slide may be divided into several sections. On this slide, be specific and realistic. While being imprecise with your objectives will certainly make your prospective market appear much broader, an investor or possible partner wants to know that you will be able to reach the primary market, and a realistic target will demonstrate that you understand the target audience.
Slide 4. Describe Proposed Solution
Use this slide to go into deeper details about your service or product and how it solves the problem. Explain how the product or service addresses an issue for customers and how your business is better at solving it than existing players. With this slide, visuals and storytelling may be quite successful!
Slide 5. Reveal Your Business Model
Now that a potential investor or partner is aware of your product or service, you must explain how it will produce income for the company. If you’re developing a content site and believe advertising to produce the majority of your income, you should go greater deeply into why these advertisers will want to work with you, how you’ll build these partnerships, and so on.
Slide 6. Planned Roadmap and Milestones
This is the slide where you highlight your startup’s progress and future plans. If you’ve made your product available to early adopters, make a note of it on this slide. You might also include a list of milestones that your company has already accomplished and those that you hope to achieve in the near future. This slide should be used to validate your product and growth strategy.
Slide 7. Marketing Plan
Explain how you plan to reach the audience you are targeting and establish momentum in the industry on this slide. If you’ve been working on a marketing and sales strategy, this information should be included on the slide, as well as any specifics regarding your plan of action, to validate your approach in the viewpoints of the audience you are targeting.
Slide 8. Show Your Management Team
Use this slide to illustrate how you and your management team plan to expand your business. Describe how your startup’s management team members bring various skills to the table and why they make effective team members. Make use of this chance to highlight any key investors, board of directors, or board of advisors who may be engaged with your company.
Slide 9. Financial projections and key metrics
This slide is primarily for highlighting your financial statements, which should include your sales projection, cash flow prediction, and profit-and-loss statement for at least a few years else you can display projected financials. Limit this material to easy-to-read visuals to make the facts easier for your audience to comprehend.
Slide 10. Competitive Market Analysis
Even if you feel your company is totally unique, you will have to deal with some rivals. Use this slide to explain how your concept or product compares to other offerings and why people will pick your product. Try to demonstrate where your brand places your product or service and what sets it apart from your rivals.
And if you think you have no competitors, think about the way your product will replace. This can be money from the wallet of your customer, free time, “Netflix and chill”. It means what you plan to replace is your real competitor.
Slide 11. Current status, accomplishments to date, timeline, and use of funds.
This last slide is most likely the most crucial among all. If you’re trying to apply for investments, use this slide to explain how much you need and how this funding can help your business. Investors want to know what their money will accomplish for your company and how it will help you achieve your goals.
Show here that you are engaged with your product and keep your hands on it. Depending on the product phase, you may notice different things like a registered domain, launched MVP, ready press release, if you are already overtaken some of your competitors, set up of an entity, open bank account with integrated payments to the website, and so on.
What Else to Include in Your Pitch Deck
While everyone should include some essential information in their pitch deck, you may also give some extra content that may appeal to particular audiences. For example, if you’re applying for investments from a venture capitalist, you might be interested in giving them a feasible exit plan, which is when they may get their funding back.
IPOs, M&A (mergers & acquisitions), and stock buybacks are the most common exit methods for venture capital companies. If you make the pitch in person, you should absolutely have a demo of your product available for the possible investor or partner to try. If you currently have partners in your company, try inviting them to the pitch, since this may help you convince another partner to join.
Also, the important part of your pitch deck is a script to represent your product by voice in front of your audience. Make it clear and understandable.
The better you make this script, the better feedback you get back. On top of this, we believe it’s gonna be not a solo campaign, but also your colleagues, so their need to be instructed on how to pitch.
Free Resources for Building Your Pitch Deck
- Pitch Deck Templates From Pitch.com
- Free PowerPoint templates and Google Slides themes from SlidesMania
- Online Presentation Software for Pitch Deck
- Best Pitch Decks From Real-Life Startups by Visme
- The Most Known Startup Pitch Decks
The Bottom Line
A pitch deck is a useful resource for every entrepreneur.
This is actually your hands-on working tool for applying for funding and representing your product or service to the world.
Do your homework, and you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect pitch deck and increasing your chances of success for your business!