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Creating Your Startup Pitch Deck: 4 Must-Haves

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featured image: Creating Your Startup Pitch Deck- 4 Must-Haves

If you’re creating a new startup, you’ll join a crowd of over 300 million entrepreneurs who enter the market yearly. If you manage to succeed though, you’ll be much lonelier. About 90% of new startups flunk before becoming completely developed businesses. Unicorns are even rarer. Such impressive numbers are a stark reminder of how ruthless this market can be. 

What’s a Pitch Deck?

Your startup doesn’t need to go with the majority. However, you’ll have to stay strong, competitive, and well-informed about the best practices and red flags to avoid right from the beginning. From writing your business plan to crafting your pitch deck. 

A pitch deck is a short presentation of your project. It’s designed to attract the attention of prospective clients and investors. It should include details about your goals, business plans, products or services, and growth projections. Simply put, your company needs investors who are unlikely to open up their wallets to you unless you convince them your venture is a profitable one. That’s when you’ll need to make a compelling presentation. 

This might sound counter-intuitive, but the best thing you can hope for with a well-done pitch deck isn’t getting funding right away. It’s to score a second meeting, which won’t happen if you don’t get the attention of investors. That’s why your pitch deck must be informative, but also engaging and compelling.

Pitch Deck vs Investor Deck

A pitch deck presentation typically involves several slides telling your company’s story, vision, and goals. An investor deck is specifically designed to attract a round of investments. Here, you’ll need to give more than a passionate presentation. Investors are expecting to see more detailed and valuable information about your company.

Sliding Through the Minds of Investors: Elements of the Presentation

You don’t need complex tools to create an attractive pitch deck; you can use PowerPoint or other presentation tools for the task. Don’t forget to include branding materials in your presentation to make it look unique. Branding materials include a color palette, a logo, and a typeface. Such items help build your brand identity, which is vital to promoting your products or services. 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all recipe when it comes to developing this kind of presentation. However, some of the most successful attempts have been along the lines shown below.

Provide an Introduction

Talk about your company’s background and why you created it. Convince investors your startup has a meaning and clear goals. Don’t make it wordy, though. Investors are more interested in profits than in a good story. 

Show the Problem

Explain to them what kind of problems your product can solve. It’ll help them understand why your company is essential. 

Propose a Solution

Present the solutions most straightforwardly. Making investors understand your message quickly is crucial to your success. Moreover, you must convince them your product offers advantages that no other does.

Market Overview and Prospects

Talk about the market size you’re willing to join and what kind of opportunities it has. Here, it’s essential to feed your audience with numbers and statistics.

Present Your Product or Service

Show the best qualities of what you’re trying to sell. Also, show them why your product stands out from the pack. You might not have a second chance to explain why your product is essential. So, you want to say everything about it the first time, and in a way your audience will immediately understand.

Show a Business Plan

Talk about goals and growth prospects, and show a solid business plan. Also, you should make clear the next steps your company will take. A knowledgeable team is a further demonstration of reliability and competence. 

Team Members

Introduce the most relevant team members of your company. Investors will be interested not only in their academic and professional backgrounds but also in the quality of your teamwork.

Target Your Competition

Compare your company and products with what your competition is currently offering. It’ll help them understand your product’s potential and why it’s different. You don’t want to become white noise, offering the same things your competitors are offering. Edge over your competitors, showing you have what they lack.

Money Affairs

Demonstrate your financial knowledge of the business and that you know how to achieve your core objectives. 

Whys and Hows  

After a comprehensive presentation about the present and future of your business, explain why you need financing and how you’ll use it. 

How Not to Pitch

Remember, there’s only one chance to strike a good first impression. Besides, investors can be quite demanding about the information you provide. And the overall quality of your presentation. Some of the most common mistakes can be easily avoided if you pay attention to them while elaborating your pitch.

As much as possible, back up your arguments and projections with solid evidence and statistics. You won’t make it more appealing with just beautiful words; investors are looking for cold, hard evidence. Your arguments should be as solid as the pieces of evidence you can provide. However, try not to make it too full of numbers and no case studies. Real-life examples coupled with statistics can give a better picture of what you mean.

Market opportunities shouldn’t be exaggerated in any way. Talk about them realistically and show that you have researched the market and its opportunities. Some investors will have researched your competitors already, so you’re talking to a knowledgeable audience.

People invest in the future, not in the past. Yet, talking only about the future might not be enough to get the funding you need. It’s essential to explain your sales and marketing strategies and your revenue model. Still, it’s vital to find some space to talk about your experience and professional background; the same goes for your team members. This way, you can convince your audience you have the means and expertise to carry out your plans.

Although your slides must contain all the relevant information about your business plans,  they should not steal the spotlight. Make them focus on you and on what you have to say. Slides are merely a tool to illustrate your ideas and goals.

Above all, if you’re offering an innovative product, make sure to protect its intellectual property. Otherwise, your ideas can be stolen or disclosed without your consent or control. You can avoid this with an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Don’t forget to register your product to ensure your Intellectual Property Rights.

Top 4 Features Your Pitch Must Have

We’ve already discussed the elements for a successful pitch presentation. The rest now boils down to the four indispensable features of a successful pitch, regardless of what you’re offering. 

A Concise Introduction

Talking about your company and what it does is crucial. Yet, you don’t want to spend too much time on it. Instead, it’s advisable to explain it with the fewest possible words without sacrificing the meaning of your business. Take time to read about successful pitches and check their presentations. 

The opening slide of the Airbnb pitch gives it away with only nine words: “Air, Bed & Breakfast: Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.” This model earned the company a round of investments of USD 600,000. 

Updated Design and Information

An outdated design gives an impression of a lack of professionalism; the same goes for the data that comes with it. It can take some time until you get the first round of investments. It means your original pitch might not do the trick months later. Keep your design fluid and fresh by updating its design and its statistics. Make sure to use your brand logo, colors, and fonts.

Balance Between Data and Real-Life

While statistics and projections are very important, a presentation full of slides and graphics might look unappealing to investors. Include anecdotes and case studies to bring those numbers to life. Finding the right balance can be tricky, though, as you don’t want to be vague. Reading about successful pitches (and also unsuccessful ones) can give you a better idea of what a winning pitch looks like.

Why Your Product is Necessary

Last but not least, you must show what problems your product will fix. That’s what investors are interested in. Show that it solves problems your competitors currently don’t, and point out why it’s unique. It means presenting your product at its best and providing straightforward information about its functioning and outstanding features.   

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