There’s one thing that most start-ups have in common, and it’s that at some point, you’ll be sending off a pitch deck to potential investors. For some it’s a walk in the park, but for many it’s a dread-inducing minefield that can, at times, feel impossible to navigate. Here are a few basic tips to get you started…
Keep it short but sweet
Investors are just like you and I — short attention spans, lots of work to do, and not enough time to do it. Ensure the slides are concise and to the point — you’ll have plenty of time for detail in your face to face. Industry vet, Guy Kawasaki, swears by the rule of 10 slides — no more, no less.
You’re passionate about your idea and that’s great, but potential investors know you’re approaching them for a reason — you need their help. It’s good to be realistic about the problems you could potentially encounter, providing you offer up a solution. Look how AirBnb dealt with the issue of competition in their original pitch deck way back in 2008.
Consistency & accuracy is key…
Investors are hawks, and if your figures don’t add up you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll spot it. Check, check and check again, and if you’re still unsure get someone else to look over it. The same goes for typos — they’re sloppy and incredibly unprofessional.
On an equally important note, ensure that all the slides in your deck are consistent in font, format, colour and imagery. Sites like Slides Carnival are a great place to start when it comes to this.
Don’t get too technical…
Whilst you’re an expert in your business and the industry in which it sits, the potential investor may not be. Try not to lose them by filling the deck with industry jargon, acronyms and inside-jokes that only you will understand — if they don’t know what half of these terms actually mean then there’s a chance they’ll be heading toward that dreaded ‘x’ in the first few slides.
Try showing the pitch deck to a friend or family member outside of the industry you work in and ask them what makes sense to them and what doesn’t — this should give you a good idea of the parts that need a little tweaking.
Pitch to the investor, not the customer…
Whilst it’s good to really sell your idea, these aren’t customers, and their interest in the actual product is only half the battle. Here are a few other things you’re going to want to mention:
· How and when they’ll be getting a return on their investment
· Your winning revenue model
· That there’s a demand and a market for what you’re selling
· The great team behind you.
Look at this pitch guide from Sequoia (investors in LinkedIn) for a few other points you need to be including to ensure your pitch deck stands out from the rest.
Think we missed something out? Let us know your best tips for a top pitch over on our social channels @SwoopFunding