What is a Pitch Deck and What to Include in Professional Pitch Deck
Pitch deck is a brief presentation (typically consisting of 10 to 15 slides) that offers the potential investors a brief idea of your business plans, technology, team, target audience and any other relevant information, which would help convince them to invest in your venture. Here are 11 slides that your professional pitch deck should have.
1: Vision and the value you promise to provide
This should ideally be a one sentence overview of what your business is all about and its value proposition. Instead of using industry and tech jargon, keep this simple to understand. In case you compare your value proposition to a well-known company (like saying “we are the Amazon of retail business” in your pitch), make sure your business model is similar to the company in reference and your pitch makes sense. Else, it would ruin everything even when your pitch has several great things on offer in the next few slides.
2: The problem/pain-point you aim to solve
Unless it’s a pain-point you are addressing or a problem you are solving, getting your business a solid foundation could prove to be an uphill task. Ask your pitch deck designer to talk about the pain-points or problems that are troubling a specific group of clientele and how you are proposing to solve or are already solving the same. Though you can talk about other solutions (if any) in the market, it’s advisable to stay away from making a comparative analysis of how your solution is better, since you will have the chance to do it later on with some other slides of your professional pitch deck. To make an impression on your potential investors, try to make the problem as real as you can so that your pitch appears to be relevant. At the same time, weave the story that not only touches upon the pain-point/problem and the solution but even makes the investors understand your business and objectives better.
3: Target clientele
From talking about your target clientele and the market size to explaining your plans on positioning the company for grabbing a share of this market, this slide is your chance to prove your product/service has a reachable and realistic market. If you can mine some relevant data, let your investors know the amount of money people or businesses currently spend in the specific area of the market as that would give them a fair idea of the total market size and bring forward the scale and scope of problem your are solving or pain-point you are addressing. But don’t go overboard trying to define your target market as large as possible. Instead of having a wide open market, investors always prefer to have a specific market that’s real and reachable.
4: The solution
This is your pitch deck designer’s chance to showcase your product/service and explain how it aims to address and solve the pain-points/problems that you have talked about in slide 2 earlier. Though it’s tempting to have this slide positioned toward the beginning of your pitch, resist the urge. Follow the blueprint of classic storytelling where you focus on the problem, emphasize on how it has made life harder for a lot of people, and finally, unveil your product/service as the solution. Instead of focusing on your product/service and proclaiming how great it is, you should focus on the target clientele, their problems and how your solutions solve the same. To tell a story that impresses your investors, stick to this format where the focus is on customers, not you or your offerings. Try to use images as an integral part of your storytelling since they have a bigger impact than mere words or texts.
5: Revenue model
After you have explained your product/service, it’s time to talk about how your business plans to make money. From your product/service charges to how and by whom the bills are paid (say, by advertisers in case of some content sites), you need to explain your business model here. It’s important to differentiate your offerings at this stage (whether aimed at luxury buyers or budget buyers), and explain how your prices suit the current competitive landscape of the market.
6: Solution validation and milestones
If your product/service already has some early adopters or sales, make sure to talk about them here. Since they validate your solution (product/service) and minimize the risk associated with your business model, investors would be interested in them. If you don’t have anything related to solution validation, you can talk about your planned milestones, any specific goals that you have already achieved and the roadmap for achieving the planned ones.
7: Strategy for marketing and sales
From how you plan on getting your offering in front of your target clientele and encouraging them into buying, to various sales channel you are targeting and holding onto (and then expanding) your sales figures, you need to put forward your marketing and sales strategies at this stage. In case your strategies are different form that of your competitors, drawing attention to them would help you score some useful points with the investors.
Focus on your key team members, their experience and earlier successes to show why they (together with you) are the right people to start and expand this business. In case you don’t have a team in place yet, talk about the key posts that the company needs to be filled and explain why they are crucial to implement your plans and help the company grow.
9: The financial figures and plan
Though investors will anticipate seeing your profit and loss statement, sales as well as cash flow forecast for at least three years, you don’t need to include detailed spreadsheets in your professional pitch deck as the format isn’t conducive to easy reading and consumption. Instead, use charts that depict total customers, sales, total expenses and profits. Try to be as realistic as possible while discussing the assumptions your have made to reach your sales figures. Be prepared to talk about your key expense drivers too.
Every business has to face some competition and even when there’s no direct competition in case you are targeting a completely untouched and unexplored market, you have to indirectly compete with solutions that your potential customers are already using to address their needs. You need to explain how your product/service scores over other similar or alternate solutions already available in the market and the USP that makes it different or better than the competitors. The key is to emphasize how you are different from your competitors and what would make people choose your product/service over others.
11: Investment and your planned use of the money
This is the final step where you actually ask for funds. Talk about the amount of money you plan to raise, why you need it, and how you plan to use it. Your potential investors would need to know how you plan to use their funds and how the money they invest would help you achieve your business goals. In case you already have some investors, this is the time when you focus on the other investors, telling them why you need their money and explaining why they should put their money in your venture.
Some additional slides that you can ask your pitch deck designer to include could be the ones related to key business partnerships, exit strategy and demo of your product prototype or your service screenshot (in case they are applicable).
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Go ahead and design your professional pitch deck on these lines to become successful in raising money from your investors.