If you want to start a business of any size, getting financial backing is important. Having a great business plan isn't enough to sell your idea. If you want to nail your investor pitch, you're going to need a solid pitch deck.
You're far from the only startup looking for capital right now. There are plenty of eager startups that are competing for attention and money from the right investors. And you better believe that there's a competitor that already has their verbal pitch and presentation deck nailed.
Are you new to the world of startup fundraising? Don't worry, we're happy to be your guide. If you're ready to create a solid pitch, these are the elements that matter the most.
1. Introduction/Business Statement
If you had 15 seconds to explain what your business does and the value it provides, what would you say?
You're going to need a simple and succinct way to explain your business to potential investors. If you can't explain what you do in about 15 seconds, you need to rethink how you're positioning yourself.
Are you having trouble? Think about writing a mission statement before you work on your pitch. That can make it much easier to articulate everything someone needs to know about your business.
2. The "Problem"
Businesses exist to fulfill a need, whether that need is held by an individual, collective, or industry. If you want to market yourself as a viable solution, you need to understand what problem you're solving.
This can tie into your introduction and overall business statement. Think about why the problem is important to address and how your startup can solve it.
Clearly highlight the problem and describe how it's impacting people. Consumer data from surveys and quotes from individuals can help drive home this point well. Once people can sense urgency, it gets much easier to create meaningful buy-in.
3. Your "Solution"
Do you provide low-cost alternatives to pricey products and services? Are your company values unique and appealing? Do you utilize new technology to put a modern spin on an old need?
Your solution shouldn't just be the product you're selling or the service you're providing. Think about what makes your solution valuable to potential investors and your future customers.
We talked before about what sets you apart from the competition. Unless you're in a completely new market, you're bound to have some competitors. If you want to get those investment dollars, you're going to have to show why you're different from the rest.
4. Target Market
Now that you've identified the purpose of your business, the problem you're trying to solve, and why you're the best one to solve it, let's dive into your target market.
Your target market isn't a monolith. They will have some differences, but they'll share some common characteristics that make them interested in what you're offering.
Make sure your pitch deck includes some information around the demographics you're targeting. Think about what motivates them to make a purchase and what core needs they're trying to get fulfilled.
5. Market Landscape
Do you want to show potential investors that you understand the environment you're trying to work in? Include a slide or two that goes into the market landscape.
The worst mistake an investor can make is to put time and money into a great idea that has no place in the current market. Understanding your competitors and key opportunities show that you've done your research.
Think about the market size for products or services you offer. Do you see any opportunities or pitfalls you could run into? Have you thought about the potential for overall growth over the next few years?
Some entrepreneurs reading this post will be at their very early stages of building their company. However, there are also plenty of startups that have been running for a year or two that need more capital if they want to grow.
Traction is one of the best things you can show in an investor pitch. Investors are willing to take a chance on a business they believe in, but they aren't willing to throw all caution to the wind. A company that has shown steady growth (even if it's small growth) can be seen as a great investment.
Is your company still not turning a profit? Don't worry, there are still plenty of ways to show traction! Make a slide that showcases other milestones like a growing number of users.
7. Sales/Marketing Strategy
You might be at the very early stages of your company, but you should still walk into your pitch meeting with a solid idea of what you're going to do with sales and marketing.
Having a strategy in place shows investors that you truly understand your company and the best way to move forward with growth.
Don't think that you need to come prepared with a step-by-step rundown of everything you're going to do. Just mention some key areas your plan will focus on and messaging pillars you'll use in your strategy.
You aren't just pitching your company when you're speaking with investors, you're also showcasing your expertise and leadership.
Your typical "meet the team" slide may not seem like it matters much during a pitch, but it can tell investors a lot about who they're working with. Make a good first impression by highlighting important team members and public-facing founders.
Don't just put names and pictures on your slide and call it a day. Think about the expertise each individual team member brings to the table and how it's going to help the overall goals of the company.
How much money do you think you'll need to get your company up and running or make it to your next stage of growth? Do you have a clear idea of what your financial growth could look like over the next 3-5 years?
We know that you're putting together a pitch deck to find people with money, but your current financial situation still matters.
Include some information around income statements and projected growth in your pitch. Don't feel the need to make an endless list of numbers. This is where pie charts, bar graphics, and infographics can come in very handy.
Pitch Deck Creation Tips
Now that you know what information you need to include in your pitch deck, let's talk about what it takes to create a great presentation.
The information you present during your pitch is important, but the way you present it can hold just as much weight. If you want to make sure that you come prepared with the full package, remember these tips when you're laying everything out.
Make a Shareable Version
The only version of your pitch shouldn't live on someone's laptop or a flash drive. It's very possible that potential investors may want to reference your pitch later and with people that may not have been in your initial meeting.
We don't recommend just sending over the deck when you're finished. A deck can have presenter notes that you don't want people to see and won't look as professional.
It's always a good idea to create a PDF version of your slide deck. This makes it easy to share and gives someone a guide they can reference when they're thinking about investing in your business.
Cut Down Text
There's a lot of information you're going to want to share in your pitch. It's okay to cover a lot of ground when you're speaking, but you don't want to weigh your slides down with a lot of text.
Big blocks of text don't look good on slides, and they're also hard to read. That's why we recommend going with short bullet points and using charts and graphs to tell your story.
Create Different Versions
A generic pitch deck can get the job done, but it wouldn't take a lot of effort to make a few changes depending on who you're talking to.
Want to try to make an instant connection with who you're talking to? A pitch deck that has the investor's name, logo, or brand colors can be a powerful presentation tool.
You may also want to consider adding certain info on slides that's very relevant to who you're pitching to. If you're pitching to a company that loves investing in new tech, it can't hurt to add in a bullet point that mentions that you're interested in using AI in the future.
Make Your Perfect Pitch
Aside from being able to secure crucial funding, your pitch deck is going to be one of the first interactions people have with your brand or business. That's why it's important to make sure that you get your pitch deck done the right way.
Do you want someone to help you build an efficiently and beautifully designed pitch deck you can use to wow investors? Could you use someone to review a deck you built on your own?
Regardless of what you need, we're here to help. Drop us a line so we can talk about the best way to help.