The number one job of an entrepreneur is to sell a dream. The ability to communicate and get people excited around the value of that idea is, therefore, crucial especially when pitching to investors.
To be successful at this, you’ll need to know how to create a kickass pitch deck. The pitch deck is a presentation slide that you can put together using software like PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi. It outlines a quick overview of your business plan in a more visual format than written word document.
The primary goal of your pitch deck is not to raise money, but to get you another meeting with potential investors.
Your pitch deck is probably the investor’s first encounter with your idea. And, it’s a rare thing for investors to commit after just one meeting.
Ideally, if you hit all the right spots with your pitch, the investors will be interested in what you’re selling and would want to meet with you again. If you’re able to achieve that, your pitch deck has served its purpose.
One of the temptations you have to resist is dumping too much information in your deck. Most investors are busy, and probably see too many pitch decks in a day. It is safe to assume that you’ll have limited attention when they open your deck. To get a chance for a follow-up meeting, you’ll need to grab attention with the most relevant facts in a succinct way.
So how do you build a deck that will win you that next meeting? Here are the 11 points that you should consider.
What is the value proposition
Usually, this is a one sentence overview of who you are and the value that you provide to your customers. It has to be simple, clear and precise.
You can hack this by comparing what you are doing with a well-known product that the investors are familiar with.
“We’re the Netflix for African content” (IrokoTV)
“We’re the Uber for Diesel and cooking gas” (Yuzah)
There’s nothing wrong with this, as it provides an accessible frame of reference. Just be careful not to stretch the comparison. If your comparison requires even more explanations, then it might be better to go with something more original.
A good tip is to imagine the sentence as a tweet and your grandparents as the audience.
The real world problem you’re solving
We assume there is a real issue you’re trying to solve, right? Good.
Use this slide to discuss that problem and who exactly has the problem. You can also mention the current solutions on the market. But avoid spending too much time on explaining the market in this slide. Present the problem in the context of a relatable story, existing need or an emerging market.
Our startup is tackling unemployment by providing a service that connects skilled, employable candidates with recruiters and employers.
This is probably every founder’s favorite slide. This is where you show the prototype, user journey or any other proof to explain how your product will solve the solve the problems you’ve identified. This is where you can showcase how your product works in the real world.
Total addressable market size and opportunity
One of the major criteria used by most investors when evaluating an opportunity is the size of the market you are going after. You need to demonstrate that this is big enough to create value, not just for you but for everyone that invests in the opportunity. If your market is not big at the moment, you need to demonstrate that it is growing, and your product is well positioned to serve this market.
This will give you You need to identify an estimated number of people that has or will have the pain point your product is addressing. How much have they spent or have been spending on solving the problem? This will give you a real sense of the market size in dollars. This will show the scope of the problem you are solving, and why the investors should care.
One pitfall to avoid is trying to paint your market as large as possible, without strong evidence to back it up. Be very specific and present a reachable market. This makes your pitch realistic.
We have analyzed unemployment figures in every state of Nigeria. And we have cross checked that with internet and smartphone penetration figures. We have determined that our service would generate the most value in Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Abuja. The number of unemployed graduates in these four states is in the range of 6-9 million. Based on internet availability in these places, we can assume a penetration rate of 70% for our service.
How does your product make money? What do you charge? How does the customer make payment? Also, reference your market positioning – Is your product a premium brand or a budget solution?
We generate revenue by providing career services for candidates, some of which include; CV writing services and premium courses. Most of our revenue are from employers/recruiters looking for our high-quality candidates to fill their open positions. We bill them per successful recruit while it is 100% free for them to place a job opening.
Traction and milestones
In most cases, it’s important for you to show that your product has been validated by actual users in the real world. Anything you can do to persuade investors of this will increase your chances of landing that next meeting. This is why it’s important to focus on customers from day zero before building your product.
Highlight the important milestones that demonstrate what you’ve achieved and what you are going after.
Month 3: Minimum Viable Product
Month 5: Private Beta Launch
Month 8: Key Hire
Month 11: Public Beta Launch
Month 12: x% daily growth rate in signups
Go to market strategy
Identify the major strategies that you intend to use to promote your product and get it above the current noise.
The job of the startup founder is not only to create a product that is 10x better than existing alternative but also innovate on distribution/adoption channels that are 10x better than existing ones.
Your startup’s ability to grow and scale quickly is a substantial competitive advantage. Investors will like to know how you intend to grow and dominate your market. It doesn’t mean you’ve got it all figured out, but highlighting your hypotheses on customer acquisition channels will provide more confidence to whoever is reading your deck.
The winning team
Anyone can have an idea; it takes a lot to execute towards a vision. Highlight the strength, experience and uniqueness of the team you’ve gathered to work on your product. Whatever you lack in experience, show it in passion and skills. Demonstrate why you’ve got the right people to execute this idea and why you’ll beat the competition at it.
Right off the bat, your product already has competition. Even if you are opening up an entirely new market, your potential customers are using other solutions to solve their problems already.
So, describe how you are different and why customers will make the switch to your product or services. Talk up your key advantages and what differentiate your offering from that of the competition.
Our competition includes job boards like JobSquad, FulltimeJobs.com and recruitment agencies. What separates us from them is that we vet our candidates through a series of standardized tests, our database is online, so it is searchable, and we offer candidates training to help them meet up with employers’ requirements.
How much do you need?
It’s time for you to yell, “Show me the Money!”. You’ve got to ask for the money.
The preceding slides have helped you to tell your story well so far, let the investors know how much money you need and what you’ll achieve with it.
Avoid spilling out a random amount. Justify what you are raising by what you’ll achieve with it. Explain how your spending will help you achieve your business goals. Also, if you already have some investors on board, mentioning them is not a bad idea.
Finally, ensure your slide is not boring with too many texts. Make it succinct and illustrate your points with images as much as you. The purpose of a pitch deck is to get another meeting. Make it compelling enough to get you one.