Apr 12

Elements Of A Good Pitch Deck

One of our partner clients recently sent us this link Elements Of A Good Pitch Deck . We liked it and feel it's worth sharing. For your convenience I'm including most of the article here. I did make a couple / few changes, as I didn't agree with everything, but it's mostly intact.

"For an entrepreneur, life’s a pitch!”—Guy Kawasaki

The pitch deck (also known as a slide deck or pitch slide deck ) might be the first thing you will use when interacting with a potential investor. In many ways, it is one of your most important tools. The content of the pitch deck, along with your presentation, can help the investor to determine whether or not to continue evaluating your business opportunity.

You may give the pitch in person, on the internet (using Skype, GoToMeeting, Join.me, etc.) or you may simply be asked to email it. Either way, to some extent it needs to be able to stand on it's own.

The following table from Guy Kawasaki’sThe Art of the Start serves as a pitch deck template. It summarizes the key information that should be included in the initial pitch deck. Remember the“10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint”—10 slides, 20 minutes and no font smaller than 30 point.

Slide Content Comments


Include your organization’s name, your name and title, and contact information. The audience can read the slide—cut to the chase and summarize what you do (e.g., we sell software, we protect the environment). Open simply with,“This is my company and this is what we do.” You want to get investors thinking about the potential for your company and the size of the market.
Problem Describe the pain that you’re alleviating. The goal is to get everyone nodding and buying in. Avoid looking for a solution that is searching for a problem. Minimize or eliminate citations of consulting studies about the future size of the market.
Solution Explain how you alleviate this pain and the meaning that you make. Ensure that the audience clearly understands what you sell and your value proposition. This is not the place for an in-depth technical explanation. Provide just the gist of how you fix the pain.
Business Model Explain how you make money—who pays you, your channels of distribution and your gross margins. In general, a unique, untested business model is a scary proposition. If you truly have a revolutionary business model, explain it in terms of familiar ones. This is your opportunity to drop the names of organizations that are already using your product or service.
Underlying Magic Describe the technology, secret sauce or magic behind your product or service. Aim for less text and more diagrams, schematics and flowcharts on this slide. White papers and objective proofs of concepts are helpful here.
Marketing and Sales Explain how you will reach your customer and your marketing leverage points. Convince the audience that you have an effective go-to-market strategy that will not break the bank.
Competition Provide a com
plete view of the competitive landscape. Too much is better than too little.
Never dismiss your competition. Everyone—customers, investors and employees—wants to hear why you’re good, not why the competition is bad.
Management Team Describe the key players on your management team, board of directors and board of advisors, as well as your major investors. Do not be afraid to show up with less than a perfect team. All startups have holes in their team—what’s truly important is whether you understand that there are holes and you are willing to fix them.
Financial Projections and Key Metrics Provide a three- to five-year forecast containing not only dollars but also key metrics, such as number of customers and conversion rate. Do a bottom-up forecast. Include long sales cycles and seasonality. Making people understand the underlying assumptions of your forecast is as important as the numbers you’ve fabricated.
Current Status, Accomplishments to Date, Timeline and Use of Funds Explain the current status of your product or service, what the near future looks like and how you’ll use the money you’re trying to raise. Share the details of your positive momentum and traction. Then use this slide to close with a bias toward action.

Your pitch deck should fit in with your business plan, but is not simply a regurgitation of the plan. Consider using a whiteboard to scope out the content of the slides rather than jumping right in with PowerPoint or Keynote. Make sure that the content flows well. The ten slides outlined in the table above provide the core content for any pitch deck. The goal of the first meeting using the pitch deck is to engage the investors sufficiently such that they take the next step with you. The next step could involve doing further due diligence, referring you to another investor or introducing a strategic partner. If the investor is not willing to invest any further in the opportunity (either within their own firm or by opening their Rolodex to help you), do not expect any additional feedback.

Tips for building a good pitch deck

  • Do not include slide after slide about your technology.
  • Avoid making statements commonly heard by all investors, such as,“If we get one percent of the total market we will be successful” or“We will have first-mover advantage.”
  • The rules of 10/20/30 apply to all aspects of pitching when building your business as an entrepreneur, such as making sales, creating partnerships, hiring employees or convincing suppliers to sell to you.
  • Remember, for an entrepreneur,“Life’s a pitch!”

"This article may not be reproduced in whole or part without including the name of the author (James Naylor) and an acknowledgement of the fact the article was originally published in Shoestring Advice for Technology Startups (http://www.KENOVATech.com/blog). Any other use of this material is unauthorized and is a violation of law."

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