A pitch deck is a slideshow or presentation – created on PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or a similar software – that presents your company, goods, and services to an audience. Creating an effective pitch deck that keeps investors engaged and helps you achieve your business goals takes time and effort.
Anyone can throw together some slides in a matter of hours, but consider this: for every 100 pitches an investor hears, he or she will fund only 10 of them, which means most pitches get lost in the crowd. We’ve told you how to design a perfect pitch deck; now, here are 10 things to avoid to ensure that your pitch deck is at the top of investors’ minds.
1. Overcomplicate the presentation
Chances are, your investor does not know the ins and outs of your business’s industry. Avoid using technical jargon that will confuse your audience. Stick to simple words, animations, and transitions to convey complicated ideas. Create your presentation so that even someone with little knowledge of your industry and company could understand it.
It is important to note, however, that there is a chance your audience may be knowledgeable about your industry. Preliminary research is paramount to this point, as oversimplifying your presentation may appear as though you are talking down to your audience.
2. Use old-fashioned design
You don’t need to be a professional designer, but you also don’t want to present plain white slides. Your deck should convey how forward-thinking and modern your ideas are. Take advantage of the templates that PowerPoint and other presentation-building tools offer, and be sure to add custom touches, like your company’s logo and simple graphics. If you want to go above and beyond, hire an agency who can make your pitch deck in a more advanced software, such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign.
3. Get off to a slow start
Even if your business idea is incredible, if you can’t capture your audience and keep them engaged, your deck will get lost in the crowd. A strong, memorable introduction will keep investors wanting to know more about your company and how they can benefit from their investment in you. After all, they’re trusting you with their money; hook them at the beginning to ensure they stay with you through the end of your presentation.
4. Give a lengthy pitch
Show respect for investors’ time by finishing your presentation well before your meeting time is up. You don’t want to make your audience antsy about missing their next appointment, and you’ll leave time for any follow-up questions. You can shorten your presentation time by shortening or altogether omitting your startup’s history or founders. Keep them wanting more – share details later.
5. Fudge the numbers
It can be tempting to bluff data in your pitch deck, but it’s important to resist this temptation. This is a very poor business practice that misleads investors and wastes everyone’s time. Getting caught exaggerating in your pitch can ruin your reputation and lead to lawsuits down the road. Before you even pursue funding from angel investors and venture capitalists, gather concrete data that supports your business case. They’ll come knocking at your door!
6. Leave out your mission
Many startups fail because investors can see that their ideas are great, but their founders lack a compelling vision. When pitching to investors, your goal is to convince them that they’re going to make it big by investing in you, and there’s no better way to do that than selling them on your mission. If you don’t get much traction at first, don’t be discouraged. Rethink your vision and make sure it’s grounded in reality.
7. Forget to mention your story
Everyone loves a good story, especially one with a happy ending. For investors, that happy ending is when their investment pays off! Make your business story relatable and weave it throughout your deck for a compelling presentation. However, be careful not to overdo it – make sure your story relates to your overall business model.
8. Involve disclosures and NDAs
You know your ideas are worth a lot, which is why you’re protective of them. Many people think that the best way to avoid having their ideas stolen is by asking investors to sign an NDA before pitch presentations. The hard truth is that investors have probably heard a variation your idea before. Legitimate investors who receive pitches all the time will rarely sign an NDA. For best practice, have an attorney who specializes in your space review your pitch deck to make sure it’s legally compliant.
Remember that investors aren’t your competition. They’re not going to invest in multiple competing businesses. So while you may be intimidated by the fact that they have the money and resources to build a better product than you, resist the urge to ask for an NDA.
9. Forget about your exit strategy
This one might be counterintuitive. Venture capitalists don’t want their money sitting in the bank. They want it to be used to create a high return on investment. One of the best ways to get their attention is to show them how high their ROI will be in a few years. When you present a good exit strategy, you’re showing investors that you’ve done your homework, you’re credible, and their money is in good hands.
10. Leave off your value proposition
At the end of your deck, your audience should be able to answer the following questions: Why are you better than your competitors? What makes you special? Why should they invest in your company?
Your value proposition should be relevant to your business’s market, present a clear solution to a problem, have tangible and specific benefits, and differentiate from your competition. Focus on your product’s benefits, not its features, and use your value proposition to craft your story.
As you’ve read, there’s a lot that goes into building a successful pitch deck. If you want to earn investors’ funding and respect, focus on your story, stick to the facts, and explain your value. If you are looking for a marketing team to help build your pitch deck, Geraci Media is your expert in the private lending space.
Schedule a call with Ruby today to discuss how Geraci Media can make you an outstanding pitch deck.