Okay, so you have managed to get yourself invited to a meeting during which you will get your shot to pitch your business idea to room full of important decision makers. This is the moment you have been waiting for to present your revolutionary product, service or idea, and you really need to make an impression. You know what you want to say, and how you want to say it, and your ideas are well connected. But is your slide deck the best it can be? Below you will find how to produce the 10 slides you need for a perfect pitch.
The Purpose of a Pitch
Before you decide what your slide deck is going to look like, you need to think about what the purpose of your pitch is. It is very rare for investors to make commitments based on a 20-minute presentation by someone they may have never seen before, so as a presenter, instead of going after this, your pitch should go after arranging a second meeting in which you can get into the specifics of your idea. Therefore, you should keep your pitch concise, simple, and clear, and you should not try to cover all the aspects of your proposal or provide too much detail. Your goal should be to generate enough interest in your idea to get another meeting. That is all.
What Should Your Slide Deck Look Like?
If you want your slides to be effective, it is important to keep them very simple. You don’t want your audience examining your slides while they should be listening to your pitch. Your slide deck is your support, not the main feature of your pitch, and it should not be a distraction. You also need to figure out how to talk about your visuals. In other words, you need to decide what you are (and may be more importantly) and what you are not going to talk about when it comes to your slides. The general rule should be, the more slides you need, the less compelling your idea is. In most cases, all you need for an effective and memorable pitch is ten simple slides with mostly keywords and pictures, and you should never need more than fifteen.
- The Title Slide
Your title slide should contain the following information:
- Company name
- Name and title
- Phone number
This slide should be up during the beginning of the presentation, when you introduce yourself, thank your audience for the opportunity to pitch your idea, etc. Generally speaking, detailed information like names, addresses, and numbers, are very difficult to remember, so it is important to visually support them by putting them on the slide.
- The Problem/ Opportunity
Your second slide should be all about the problem you are solving or the opportunity you are presenting. For example, if your idea is selling a revolutionary type of paint that is environmentally friendly, and that is so strong that it will last for twenty years, you may want to talk about the problem of having the repaint your whole house every five years.
If your idea is about offering an app that will allow regular people to trade on the stock market, using the same real-time information stockbrokers have access to, you could start your pitch by explaining that up until the present ‘normal people’ don’t have the opportunity to effectively trade on the stock market because the lack of access to up-to-date information. Presenting the problem or opportunity should serve as the ‘hook’ of your presentation; a way to grab your audience’s attention.
- The Value Proposition
After you have talked about the problem or the opportunity, you need to explain how your idea, product or service solves this problem or how it provides pleasure for your buyers. In short, you should answer the questions: What is in it for the customer if they by my product?’. The answer to this question is your value proposition. You should be able to answer this question in a concise, and clear way.
- The Underlying Magic
Explaining the ‘underlying magic’ is about making sure that your audience understands what the technology is behind what you are offering. This will help them to assess what makes your product different from what your competitors might be offering. You need to explain what makes your it special. To do this, you can put simple charts, diagrams, or other visuals on your slide, but make sure that you keep them as simple as possible. This means using very little text and using pictures instead of words when possible. If you have a working prototype of your product, this is when you should do a demonstration. Keep in mind that it is always better to show your product than to talk about your product.
- The Business Model
Explaining your business model is all about making clear how your idea makes money for you and your potential investors. Basically, this means talking about who has ‘the money’ now and how you are going to get it instead. In case of the aforementioned investment app you are going to explain how the app is going to generate income. For example, this could be by asking money for the app itself, charging the app users for in-app transactions, putting ads inside the app, etc.
- The Go-to-Market Plan
Presenting your go-to-market plan concerns making clear how you are going to reach your customers. This could be by opening up brick-and-mortar stores, starting a website, making deals with large retail chains, etc.
The go-to-market plan also involves a marketing strategy. In other words, how are you going to make sure that your customers know you exist. Are you going to buy Facebook Ads? Are you planning to reach your customers through influencers, and so on.
- The Competitive Analysis
A competitive analysis involves providing a complete overview of who your competitors are. What counts here is that it is usually better to have too many than too few, because having a lot of competitors means that there probably is a large demand for what you are offering. Many starting businesses tend to underestimate how much competition they have and paint a picture for their potential investors that is not realistic.
- The Management Team
Who is in your management team is important for your potential investors to know. Investing in a business is often about trust, so investors would like to know who they will be working with if they decide to invest and what these people do. If there are other investors that are already on-board, this should also be made clear. You may worry that you don’t have the perfect team yet to run your business, but you need to keep in mind that is why you are delivering your pitch.
- The Financial Projections and Key Metrics
On this slide your need to back up your claims with numbers. You need to explain how much money you are going to need from your investors to continue growing your business. You need to forecast the number of potential customers, how much they are going to spend, what your turn-over projections are, etc. It is important that you present your metrics ‘bottom-up’. This means that you start with the smallest viable customer base to be able to run your business, and then explain how you are going to grow that customer base about three years into the future.
- The Current Status, Timeline, and Use of Funds
Finally, you need to explain the development status of your product, service, or idea. Do you have a working prototype? Are you already selling your product? How is the business currently doing? Next, you need to explain what your future plans for the business are, what you want to achieve, and how you are planning to use the investors’ money you are trying to raise. This should also be your closing remark of your pitch.