A presentation showcasing trends and ideas

Sarah Wig writes articles for Investocracy News, a news and media platform focusing on startup news from Africa and Asia

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a brief and short presentation that provides a quick overview of a company to potential investors. When seeking a round of financing, it is important to have a pitch deck ready for investors that showcases the important aspects of your business. The pitch deck should not be too long. The most popular pitch decks are usually 10 slides and take less than 20 minutes to present.

 What are the key components of a pitch deck?

• Cover: A simple introduction telling who you are, and your contact information. It could also include a tagline.

• Vision: What are you setting out to achieve? What is the mission of the company? Finding a good balance between a mission that is achievable but not yet achieved by your company is key.

• Team: The investors will be working with you in the future and need to know who you are. Therefore, it is very important to have a strong team. Even if the business idea is great, if the team is unable to execute the plan, the company will not be able to succeed. Emphasizing on the team’s past accomplishments will showcase their strengths and the overall success of your team.

• The problem: Trying to solve a problem faced by consumers regularly is one of the most important components of a start-up. Clearly stating the motivation behind establishing the company and the problem your company is trying to solve is crucial.

• Your product: Elaborate on what your product is. Mentioning the ways in which your product is a good solution for the problem faced by the consumers will make investors interested. Here is a tagline to keep in mind: “Don’t sell the product, sell what it solves.”

• The target market: Answer questions like: Who are the consumers that will purchase your product? Which industry are you a part of? Mention your target audience and their specific characteristics like location, age, etc.

• Competition: Having a good amount of knowledge about your competition showcases a key strength of your business. Try to include answers to some of these questions: Are there other companies that are also providing a similar product to yours? What makes you different? Why would consumers choose you over them? Try to show your company’s competitive advantage to the investors.

• Business model: Present your revenue model, sales and distribution model, customer list, account size, pricing strategy, etc. Investors are looking for a smart and functioning plan that can be executed. Understand in detail, beforehand, your entire expenses (salaries, rent, legal fees, etc) and your profit/loss statements.

• Marketing strategy: Touching key points like your company’s differentiator and value proposition, audience segmentation, a digital strategy, influencer targeting and customer feedback will allow the investors to know how you are going to engage your customers.

• Financing: Provide data about any previous dates and sources of funding that you have received. Tell the investors clearly how much capital you are looking for and at what valuation of your company.

• Conclusion: This could be a summary of what you are aiming for. It could also provide a broader vision to your entire presentation. Ending your presentation with a strong and powerful message that urges for direct and immediate action will make the investors give priority to your company.

Important tips for presenting the perfect pitch deck

After collecting and organizing information about your company in approximately 10 slides, it is time to do the most important part: present. While most people have extremely professional pitch decks, they struggle with engaging the audience during the presentation. Very often, investors lose interest in pitch-decks as they do not follow the same pace as you.

Here are a very important tips that can help you better engage the audience:

• Importance of titles

Very frequently, investors will ask to send the presentation to them before-hand. Most investors will not have the time or energy to go through the entire content of each slide. They will simply read the title of a slide, catch a glimpse of the material and move on to the next slide. Therefore, using appropriate titles for your slides is key. Titles are highlighted and take a lot of space on each slide. Using this space wisely will help your investors understand the company better.

Try to avoid using general words as the titles of slides like “value proposition”, “market size”, “business strategy’, etc. By the end of the presentation, the investor has learnt bare minimum about your company and just remembers a bunch of general terms.

Furthermore, it is important to tell a story through just the titles of the slides. Writing out the titles of each slide in a separate document can help you understand what information about your company an investor can get to know just through the titles. This story should help the investor gather critical and interesting insight about your company.

• The second slide

While all slides are important and this point can be debatable, the second slide must be the most memorable and indicate your company’s capability to be the next unicorn. Investors will quickly go through your first slide that contains a cover page of your company and focus mainly on your second slide. Furthermore, the information on the second slide will help you set the tone of the entire presentation and acts like your company’s first impression to the investor.

• Independent slides

Most importantly, your slides should be independent. Sometimes, you will have to send out the pitch deck and will not get the opportunity to present it. Testing whether the slides, without you, can clearly explain what you are trying to portray will allow the investors understand your company better. The best way to test would be to show it to someone who knows very little about your business. Ask them what they gathered about your company and whether there were any points that stood out. You could ask your colleagues to present the slides to see how they would interpret the information on the slides.

• Showcase emotion

The last tip is to add some unique and emotional factor to the presentation. Showing the investors this is not just another startup that has large sales and the ability to generate huge revenue will make your investors believe in your startup’s story. Keep in mind that the way you present the pitch deck and engage with the audience will be remembered more than anything else and could be a key factor in influencing the funding process.

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