Do’s and Don’ts for Creating an Effective Pitch Deck

As a startup, you’ve probably envisioned yourself in front of a potential venture capital or angel investor, pitching your wonderful idea for a business—and getting an excited YES from them. If you’ve done a pitch deck before, you probably know it’s not all roses and rainbows.

Getting capital from investors can be challenging and can take up a lot of your time. Whether you’re new to pitch decks or a seasoned pro, it’s always important that you convey your pitch deck in a manner that shows your “business story” in an engaging and fascinating, yet informative way.

Actually, based on a study made by DocSend, a startup that offers people a way to share private files online, you may even have to contact more than 50 investors and have about 40 investor meetings. And when it comes to pitch decks with investors, it’s now or never. So remember: every step and every move counts.

In addition, you may need to contact and meet with up to twenty to thirty investors. Actually, based on a study made by DocSend, a startup that offers people a way to share private files online, you may even have to contact more than 50 investors and have about 40 investor meetings.

With these in mind, here are some crucial and strategic do’s and don’ts to always remember when presenting your case to an investor.

The Do’s of a World Class Pitch Deck

Incorporate Strikingly Intriguing Pictures and Graphics

Don’t just rely on the images available on your word processor or PowerPoint. Create engaging and descriptive images by tapping a photographer and/or a graphic designer. If you have no resources for either one, access pictures that are publicly available for reuse.

Have Consistent formatting

There’s nothing more irritating than seeing different font styles and sizes and colors in the slides. The format of your pitch deck should reflect the objectives you want for your presentation.

Email Pitch Deck Before Meeting

Make sure it’s a universal file format that’s easy to open, like a .pdf file. Don’t give your potential investor additional hurdles to open your pitch deck. Having access to your pitch deck beforehand allows your investor to go through the pitch deck prior to the meeting. Even better, the investor may even forward your pitch deck to his or her relevant colleagues and other potential investors. This can increase the probability of funding.

Tell a Story

A good way to go about this is to concentrate on four important things: what is the problem; what is the possible solution; how your business can be the solution; and why your business will be successful.

Talk About Market Opportunity

Investors would like to know that you’re not just swimming in a very small customer pool. They would like to know if your market size is sufficient to support their investments. So, do not be vague about this. Give solid facts and figures on the prevailing market shares, the money spent in the market, the growth rate, and the like.

Be Prepared to Demo

This is a way for you to show that your product or service actually matches the market opportunity you previously mentioned. If you have no product prototype, you may have to show pictures of what you’re trying to build. Even pictures that have been drawn by hand are acceptable. This proves that you’ve already began with the initial stages of creating and developing your business.

Create a Memorable Phrase or Slogan

Make it witty and smart, not cheesy and trite. Actually, if you can encapsulate your entire business in just a sentence, that is just great. If you aren’t able to do so, you may have to rethink about editing down your message, even your business model, prior to making your actual pitch deck.

The Don’ts of a World Class Pitch Deck

Talk About Your Competition

It would just seem as if you haven’t prepared and done the research. Don’t hesitate to include the presence of competition in your strategy—this allows your investors to see the proper context of your business and gives them a glimpse of your potential market.

Be Concise

If you know what you want to say, you don’t need too many highfalutin words. Based on studies, a lot of text on a slide is a terrible way to convey information. One’s brain simply cannot multitask. For example, if you have complicated data you want to give your audience and you ask them to read your slide simultaneously, it would be hard for them to retain anything.

Provide Only What You Need

Surprisingly, according to input again from DocSend, only fifty-seven-percent of successful pitch decks have this portion. Nevertheless, be ready with the numbers and documents when asked. If you do get to put in a financial slide, make sure it looks great, since this is the slide that most investors pour over.

No Abbreviations or Lingo

Constantly using industry jargons may look like you’re trying too hard. Remember that every day, new lingo and words are cropping up. Keep things simple and straight to the point.

No More Than15 to 20 Slides

Investors do not go through pitch decks for long periods of time. The average is just around three minutes and forty-four seconds. This is expected, as investors are very busy people, so keep your pitch deck short and sweet. If you think they would like more data from you, just put it in your appendix.

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Written by:
Martin Luenendonk is the founder of Finance Club which currently helps 700,000+ finance professionals and corporate executives exchanging knowledge, boosting their career and initiating deals. Furthermore, he blogs about his learnings on
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