The Perfect Pitch: How To Wow and Win Investors
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1,987 words; 7 min 56 sec reading time
The Pitch Deck
When you think of a Pitch Deck, you probably envision another PowerPoint, the same as all the others, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Your Pitch Deck is like a living business card. Instead of simply going through the motions, use your Pitch Deck to show your company’s personality. Excite potential investors with an extraordinary presentation, all while developing hard-hitting facts and figures to outline your road to success. In this article, you will learn what a Pitch Deck is, why you need one, and most importantly, how to create your own.
What is a Pitch Deck?
A Pitch Deck is a presentation you give to potential investors. It provides an overview of the opening you see in the market, your solution, your business plan, and your objectives. There are different versions of Pitch Decks depending on if you are presenting in person or sending it out electronically. Those you present in person should focus more on visuals, while emailed Decks should contain more textual information. In this article, we will address a Pitch Deck presented in person.
Why You Need a Pitch Deck
Every company, no matter where they are today, started with a pitch deck. As you watch companies rise to the top, we often forget to look back at how they got their start. Many companies never make it past their first year because of these common mistakes:
Out of the Valley of Death have risen huge stars we never think to question. Yet, everyone starts somewhere and the place they all start? Funding. Without funding, the companies we know and love today wouldn’t have survived. To receive the capital, you need a strong pitch deck that highlights your strengths, showcases how you’ll navigate the market, and inspires investors to back you. Without funding, the world will never experience what you have to offer. So, let’s Pitch!
How to Develop a Stellar Pitch Deck
If you want anyone to invest in you, you must first invest in yourself. While creating yet another PowerPoint may seem like a chore, consider it an essential exercise for your company. Going through the process of creating a stellar Deck is anything but a waste of time. The more seriously you delve into each aspect of the Deck, the better prepared you will be for objections, and the more you’ll get to know your offering’s strengths and weaknesses. An effective Pitch Deck will be:
- To The Point
- Include Metrics
- Show Why Your Offering Is Needed
- Provide Enticing Financial Incentives For Your Investors
Engage Your Audience
Invest your time in creating your Pitch Deck so others will invest in you. Here are the steps and slides to follow to create the perfect pitch.
Preparation: Know Thy Investor
You’ve got the meeting, and now you need to secure the investment. How? Play to your audience. Perhaps your investors are cautious. If so, you’ll want to include metrics showing a clear ROI, create a detailed view of your competition, your strategy to overcome them, and any other market obstacles. Tailor your presentation according to whom you are meeting with and do your research on them as they certainly have on you.
Slide 1: The Problem
In this slide, you are describing the hole that you fill in the market. What is the problem that people face today that you will be remedying with your offering? This may be the most important slide because its premise is your value. Make sure to use any available metrics to illustrate the problem in general (more specific metrics are still to come). The need is directly proportional to how essential your investors will see you as being. Remember The Problem. Do not talk about multiple issues or offshoots of The Problem. Your issue should be singular and clear. It should be presented in a way where everyone can sympathize with this problem. Make it relatable and establish a clear ROI (Return on Investment) for your investors from the start. Make The Problem your greatest selling point from the get-go.
Slide 2: The Solution
You are the solution. As essential as proving that The Problem needs to be solved is showing that you are The Solution to this problem. The connection between the two needs to be flawless. Make sure to present your solution in its most basic form. Being clear and concise are your two objectives here. Starting the presentation off by demonstrating that your solution is scalable with a strong ROI is essential. This is not where you describe in detail why your offering is the best (that comes later). Instead, make a clear point A to point B connection between The Problem and your solution.
Slide 3: Your Market
This is where the numbers start coming into play. Here you want to show what your market is currently doing, what it is apt to do, and why (metrics, metrics, metrics). Create a clear path your investors can follow towards an expanding ROI. Remember, the question for them is not always, how great is this offering? But rather: What is my ROI if I make this investment? You need to answer the question of why they should invest in you? Make sure to segment the market using the TAM/SAM (Total Addressable Market vs. the Serviceable Addressable Market) model. Segmenting the market will not make investors wary of a smaller share; it will show them that you understand you need to start somewhere realistic and where there is potential to grow. Clearly demonstrate the monetary incentives for your investors by using both graphs, graphics and citing well-respected sources.
Slide 4: Your Product
Let it shine. This is where you showcase what investors should know about your offering. If you’ve already launched or had any market research with feedback, make sure to include any glowing testimonials, especially those that illustrate value. Investors don’t want to simply hear how great your product is from your point of view. They want to know why others agree and why it will build an allegiant customer base. Keep it simple and to the point; ensure this section demonstrates the value of investing in your company.
Slide 5: Business Model
This step is simple and essential: how do you plan to make money for yourself and your investors? If someone asks you for money because they are passionate, you might agree out of kindness or interest. This is not that situation. Demonstrate a clear Business Model and a Business Case to provide evidence (and demonstrate serious forethought) that those who invest in you will see a return on their investment within X amount of time. Do not be overly ambitious, overpromise or inflate your metrics.
Slide 6: Traction
In this slide, you should showcase how much your customers love your product. Highlight any advantage you have in the market and why you will only gain a greater following. Display your revenue and all impressive metrics. You do not need to show a graph where you suddenly take off with predicted success. A steady incline is fine as long as there is data to back it up. If you do have a moment where you anticipate explosive growth, make sure you can back it up with facts, not just daydreams. Forbes states that investors typically expect a month-over-month growth rate of 15%, so provide projections instead if you are new to the market and don’t have data representative of this.
Slide 7: Competition
Show your investors that you’ve done your homework. Illustrate to them where you and your competition overlap and where you differentiate. We’ve had great success using a Venn Diagram approach for this. Visuals are always helpful. They help to engage different learners (visual, auditory, reading/writing, kinesthetic). To position yourself in the market, you need to be on an even keel with your competition. Include funding stats for what they’ve received to show your investors where the bottom line is.
Slide 8: Competitive Advantage
This is another time to shine. Walk your investors through your competitive edge and your unfair advantage. What avenues of the market is your competition missing or ill-equipped to meet? Show how you will dominate these segments. What tools, personnel, software, or technology do you have that gives you a leg up? Shed light on every plausible place where you diverge from and thus excel over your competition.
Slide 9: Your Team
Why is your team unique? Discuss your upper-level or leadership members and quickly showcase their accomplishments. This is your time to show investors that their funds are in good hands because your company is in good hands. Keep this slide brief. While you are proud of your team and your offering, the main point of this Deck is to show investors where their ROI will come from. Make sure every slide continues to do so.
Slide 10: Financials
What are your financial projections? You may have hit on this topic earlier in your Business Plan and Business Case slide, but you will delve even deeper into financial specifics here. While the Business Plan has to do with the next steps, Financials should deal solely with how the next steps increase value. Investors tend to ask for 3-5 years of financial projections. Make sure that the goals you set are actually achievable, especially your near-term goals. New investors will be meeting with you regularly should they decide to fund your project. You want to make sure that you are hitting the goals you proposed one, two, three months, or quarters down the line from this pitch. Do not over promise and under deliver. Watch out for the following Financial Mistakes That Kill Funding:
Slide 11: User Testimonials
While you may have briefly touched on this in earlier slides, this is where you solely focus on what your customers have to say about you. Again, make sure that their claims illustrate how essential your offering is, how unwilling they are to part with it and how it provides value to them through eliminating a significant problem other companies do not solve. Again, use different ways of showing this information to diverse learners.
Slide 12: Press & Closing
Include any glowing press you’ve received. If you have an investor meeting coming up or are starting the next rounds of funding, send out press releases, announcements, etc., to try to bolster your presence. Then, wrap up the Deck with a closing statement thanking the investors for their time. Just because you have an offering, you believe in doesn’t mean that they owe you anything for it. Make sure to be courteous and grateful for their presence.
Common Mistakes That Kill Funding:
Investing is all about deciphering if the reward outweighs the risk. Highlight every avenue for a return on their investment in you and check your Deck against the investor risks below the surface.
Make sure to be wary of common mistakes that will hurt your funding efforts. If you need to do further research to satisfy one or all of the following common mistakes, do so. If you don’t have time to pre-pitch, admit where you need more time or information.
Show your dedication and integrity as you aim to enter into a relationship with your investors. Remember, while you know every aspect of your company, this is the first time investors are seeing all of this information in one place. This is your baby, but to them, it’s just another pitch. Make it clear. Make it enticing. Make it a deal they can’t pass up.
As time goes on and your success continues, make sure to update your Pitch Deck. It is your best resource to show your worth, continue to raise funding, and keep you in touch with where you are and where you need to go next.
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