Pitch deck tips - 3. Achieving the Goals of the Pitch Deck
In this series of mini blogs, we wanted to explore some of the key things you need to know before creating your pitch deck to set you up for success and avoid the dreaded investor delete button.
We cover investors' perspectives, goals of your pitch deck, common mistakes and more. This post follows on from the investors perspective and is focused on achieving the goals of the pitch deck so you can focus on this before creating or reviewing your existing deck.
“I want a pitch deck that right off the bat, on the first slide, tells me what this company is about, that starts with a good impression. From then on, I know what I am looking for. I know the context.” - Ariel Poler, a serial entrepreneur and prolific angel investor.
As we have spoken about in our last post, a pitch deck's goal isn’t to get investors money, it's to:
- Get past the 30 second skim,
- Intrigue the reader to follow into the 2-3 minute read
- Open up an initial meeting with the investor.
These 3 steps may sound easy, but creating a good pitch deck to navigate all 3 can be time-draining, and frustrating whilst you shuffle back and forth with what to include. It takes what seems a simple task into something of a never-ending cycle of edits, amendments, and rewrites.
In this post, we discuss the things to do to help achieve the goals of your pitch deck to set you up for success.
Let's dive in!
1. Each page must be easily digestible
Alway remove friction by making it easily digestible for the investor. Create an obvious & clear key takeaway from each page. Spend time making it look good and readable because investors don't like to read pitch decks that are ugly and complex to read.
Remember to go straight to the point with every sentence and there must be a takeaway supporting each page.
Simple pictures can tell 1,000 words and charts frame hundreds of numbers far more effectively, so ditch the text to the minimum and avoid big tables of numbers.
“Don’t Exceed 20 words per slide. You get one headline phrase, one sentence caption, and that’s it.” - Daniel Eckler, founder of Mylo, an app focused on men’s fashion.
2. Create your decks overall key takeaway
Before the deck has even been opened, you need to decide what 2-3 key takeaways you want to stick in their mind from the whole deck and put on their deal memos or scribble on their notepads. You have the chance to give them some key messages, so make them loud and clear so they resonate after they’ve closed your deck and moved onto the next, such as:
- This founder is incredibly investable and has created something truly impactful
- This business has incredible momentum, we can easily see a path to a 10x return here
- They have assembled a brilliant team that can execute their plan, want to learn more
Ideally your takeaways are woven into a story which showcases your idea, vision and investability, demonstrating your numbers are an exciting opportunity, and this is an incredible opportunity not to miss which can win investors' hearts & minds.
3. Create a flow from page to page
Your deck is a collection of complementary slides that tell a story & build from slide to slide. Ensure you create a simple to follow & logical flow so you build an awareness and drip feed information slowly.
If it's not a simple flow then the 30 second skim won’t let them build a quick overview, then their 2-3 minute review will end up with scrolling back and forth to try to make sense of different pages in different places. For example having your problem as page 2 then the solution as page 6 makes it difficult to see the power of your solution against the problems. Make it clear and obvious.
4. Showcase your traction
When you’re in a busy crowd you need to stand out and when you have fantastic traction and metrics then you should showcase them throughout the deck. The order in the deck is personal preference, but you must showcase whatever assets you have at your disposal to demonstrate proof points and evidence your opportunity has a demand and need in the market.
“I encourage founders to put their key numbers and traction at the very beginning of their deck. This grabs attention and clarifies the market opportunity, especially if the numbers are good.” - Chance Barnett, VC partner and CEO of Crowdfunder.com.
5. Tell investors how they make a return
It’s stating the glaringly obvious, but often pitch decks completely miss the fact that an investor is always looking for businesses that provide the highest return on investment with the lowest risk. If you fail to capture why your market & commercial model can provide this then they have 100’s of other decks in their inbox to skip onto next.
6. Allow investors to match to their thesis
All investment firms have a ‘thesis’ or a set of rules that guides how investors make investments. Angels may be softer on their thesis, but will still have a list of criteria they look for in an investment. The pitch deck should be clear enough to let them decide if your startup fits theirs, like any good sales person qualifies an opportunity in or out.
To summarise, you need to be clear on your decks goals and how to achieve them, by making it easy for investors to read, having key takeaway messages and creating a flow from slide to slide. When you do this and provide them with evidence of traction, how they make a return and if your investment fits into their thesis, then you’re improving your odds of getting that important investment meeting you so importantly want.
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