A pitch deck is what you use to present your core idea to someone who knows nothing about it – a more detailed elevator pitch if you will. A pitch deck is more of an eagle eyed view of your business, a business plan teaser if you will. You use a pitch to get the viewers interested in reading the business plan. You use a pitch deck to guide face to face meetings with potential investors, or partners.
What a Pitch Deck Looks Like
So here’s our take on the ideal business pitch deck. Yours may vary based on industry, scale, etc. but when in doubt stick to the tried and true.
- Introduction: A short, to the point description of what you’re doing
- Vision: An explanation of why you’re doing this and what it would look like in 10/20 years
- Problem: What need are you solving
- Solution: How you’re solving these problems
- Product/Service: How your idea actually works, will it really solve any of the problems stated
- Market Opportunity: You’re saying these needs are not being met in the market? How are we surviving then? Show where the current economy falls short.
- Customers: Who are you serving? How many people is that? What do they look like?
- Competition: Who are you going up against? Why do you think you’ll win?
- Revenue Model: How will you make money? How much money?
- Marketing & Growth Strategy: How will you get traction, how will you grow
- Team: Who are you and why you are the best people for the job
- The Close: Why is the audience seeing this? What do you need? How much money? What do I get for it?
- Contact: Be sure to leave your contact information so the audience can get in touch afterwards.
How to Use a Pitch Deck
A pitch deck is a tool you use to guide face to face (or online) meetings. That’s why it makes most sense to make a pitch deck using presentation software, such as PowerPoint, Keynote, or Prezi. General presentation rules apply. We’ll cover the more important ones here:
- Images instead of numbers – present in a graphical format as much as possible. Use as few words as you can and focus on communicating the key points through imagery.
- Open with a bang – first impressions are everything. The first 2-3 minutes have to be the best.
- Tell a story instead of showing just facts and numbers. This will keep the audience interested, and boost uptake.
- Limit content on slides. You want to communicate one major point per slide, no more.
- Stay consistent throughout the presentation. This is both in terms of look and feel, and the message you’re trying to portray.
- Know your numbers. They are everything. Be ready to respond whenever questions for clarifications come up.
- Keep it short and to the point. Aim to wrap up in 20 minutes.
- Don’t script. You don’t have to stick to your presentation. If an investor interrupts you to talk about a specific point answering the question, and feel free to skip ahead to the point if need be. The question might well transition into a conversation. Remember that the pitch isn’t the end goal, connecting with the audience is.
And Finally: Don’t use a Template
No seriously. You know your idea and your company inside out. The $20 template designer doesn’t. Don’t try to fit your idea into a template just because some internet expert claims his PowerPoint theme can help you close deals. Be true to your idea and your brand. If you’re having trouble making it look good, by all means, hire an expert designer to pretty it up, but only after you’ve committed all the basics to the presentation. Happy hunting.