As you build your business, you’ll spend hours sharing the story behind it – how the idea came about, where you are now, and your future plans. A narrative takes shape, and a good pitch deck will not only help you streamline that narrative, it can help your story win over investors who can help your business grow.
A pitch deck can be a powerful tool for showcasing an exciting business and what the future holds. Luckily, scores of startup veterans and investment titans frequently give their own insights into what can make or break a pitch – you can even find real examples used by successes like Airbnb, Uber and more. So, what is it that tends to make a pitch deck good enough to secure an investment offer?
Tell a story
Pitch decks are, at their core, company stories. From the moment a founder identifies a problem, to the moment the solution goes to market, a company narrative is unfolding. And that narrative not only guides prospective investors through the basics of the business plan, it also paints a picture for what the future of the company holds.
There is a basic outline of slides that are going to be the most vital points to hit:
- Target Market
- Marketing and sales
As you tell your story, think back to high school English class – a good story has an introduction, rising action, a climax and a resolution. The story of your business falls into this structure as well – tell it that way!
Show your investor how you encountered the problem you’re trying to solve – solving real-world problems is a key to selling your product. If people don’t understand the problem and experience it, they won’t need to pay for your services.
Your rising action is your approach to solving it. How did you come to your particular solution, and what makes it the best? What makes it cost effective? Who are the people struggling with it? (They’re your target market!) What makes it appealing to buyers?
The climax of your story hits when you get to the problem’s solution – your product – and how to take it to market. When you’re giving your pitch, this may be the point you’re at in your story. It’s a good time to really break down why this is the best solution to the problem, why you’re the best company to solve it and, ultimately, how it’s going to gain traction when you begin to sell.
From there, your story may include your investor in it – how will their investment enables your business to enter the market, gain sales traction and, ultimately, generate a return on their investment and add value to the company itself.
Get down to business
It can feel like there’s a lot to put into a few slides. Brevity and uncomplicated language are your friends here – investors don’t want to spend more than a couple of minutes understanding the basics of your business. And if you’re presenting to them directly, you don’t want the deck to read like a script.
Throw out complicated business jargon in favor of simplicity and accessibility – is Uber an app that allows riders to connect with subcontracted drivers and pay them through a secure payment portal, or is it simply a way to hail a ride with the push of a button?
The ability to explain your business in a simple and concise way shows that not only do you truly understand what you’re doing, but your customers will be able to easily understand, too. And that’s critical to whether or not they buy.
It may be the case that another company can do what you can do, but are there real, measurable reasons why your business is the best to solve the problem your way, right now? Maybe you’ve patented a cost-effective method of production or engineered a new, better model. Lay this out so there’s no question that your business is leading a charge into new, exciting territory.
The team behind the business is likely a big part of why your company is the most qualified. Realize that investors are not just investing in your business, they’re investing in you. Show them a demonstrated track record of success, expertise and innovation. Show that you’re a leader who builds on achievements and makes the most out of each opportunity.
Summing it up
When you really know your business and believe in it, it can be easy to convince others to join you. A pitch deck gives you the opportunity to turn what’s in your head into an effective tool for gaining support – and a great pitch deck just might land your company a powerful investor.