When it’s time to scale a business, many business owners decide to seek funding from investors. This means preparing an engaging, clear presentation on your business strategy, or what is often referred to as a pitch deck. A good pitch deck will help your investors understand why they should invest in your company, and how you expect to make a return on their investment. Below, you’ll find more detail about what’s in a pitch deck, and how to fine-tune it so it hits the perfect note with investors.
What is a Pitch Deck?
A pitch deck usually comes in two forms:
a slideshow that gives investors the broad strokes of your business
a booklet that dives into more detail
The slide show is usually a 10-20 slide presentation, designed for a 3-5-minute pitch, in which you’ll meet with your investors to answer any questions that arise. The pitch deck should be well-designed and engaging to read—ideally, all of your pitch materials should have a voice and style that’s consistent with your brand identity.
How to Create the Perfect Pitch Deck for Investors
Although different pitches may be structured differently depending on the business, there’s some general information you should always include. Below is a brief outline of how to structure your pitch so it flows together and includes all the information your potential investors will be looking for:
1) The Problem your Business Solves, and What Makes You Unique
Most investors know that really great business models find a gap in the market—a problem that has been solved by your product or service. Your pitch deck should start with the gap in the market and your solution for it, as well as what makes your solution unique. Make sure to spend some time thinking about the customer journey and what would motivate people to buy your product or service over others; although you might not be the only one creating the product, there may be a particular niche you’re targeting or a spin that makes it a fresh idea. To that end, you’ll also want to include some research about your competition, and what sets you apart.
2) How it Compares to Others in the Market, and How it Will Grow
Take some time to talk about the market as a whole and the position of your product or service within it. This should be backed by research on the size of the market, either locally, nationally, or globally, depending on your plans for scaling the company. Companies usually need to be scalable in order to capture investor interest, so make sure you include the specifics on your growth strategy. Including the projected market growth along with the projected growth of your business will give investors more confidence in your vision.
3) Your Financial Projections and What You’re Asking For
The part your investors will likely be most interested in is your financials. You’ll need to prepare projections for the next three years, based on the growth you’ve predicted and your business model. For the presentation, it’s good enough to have a broad overview, but investors will want to see reports in the booklet. Since you can’t guarantee that your projections will be accurate, it’s best to aim at the conservative side. When you ask for money, make sure you’re asking for the amount of money that makes logical sense for the business, rather than what you think the investors would be willing to offer. Investors will want to see that their money has a specific purpose in your vision and that you can back up the price you’re asking for with numbers.
Tips for Writing a Pitch Deck
Start with your elevator pitch and expand from there
If you don’t know where to begin, start with an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a quick, 30-second introduction to your business designed to spark interest and questions. Usually, they’re reserved for the initial stages of networking, but they can also be a useful exercise in trying to condense your pitch to its key points. Your pitch deck should flow well, so an elevator pitch works well as an outline or an introduction to a more detailed explanation.
Craft some great visuals:
Investors want numbers, but that doesn’t mean you should make slides of excel spreadsheets. If you have accounting software like Billomat, you can use it to generate financial reports and projections that are nice to look at as well. Graphs can also summarize your industry research, product testing, or marketing analytics to back up your presentation with hard numbers.
Don’t forget your contact information
It sounds simple, but presenters often forget to add their contact information to their slides and their pitch deck booklet. Even though you’ve handed your investors a business card, it’s in your best interest to make it as easy for them to find you as possible!
Take a look at other pitch decks to help you:
If you’re struggling, fortunately, you have some great examples right at your fingertips! You can view pitch deck examples online that won companies their first founders. A great thing about looking at examples is that it gives you an idea of how much these companies have evolved since they wrote their pitches.
When you start pitching to investors, remember that it can take time to get funding. You’re likely to meet with a lot of different investors, so if your presentation didn’t sit well after your first meeting, don’t despair! Use the opportunity to make an even better pitch deck for the next investor. After a few meetings, you’ll get more familiar with what information your investors will want to see, making you more and more likely to secure the funding you’re after.