Pitch Deck Golden Rules Part 2Jan 05, 2023
The second part of our guide to pitch deck golden rules...
1. Only promise what you can deliver
- You can excite investors with epic dreams of the future, but you also have to deliver whatever short-term progress you pledge.
- The fundraising process is not about securing investment. It is about securing investment from the right investor. If you need to inflate numbers to get someone’s attention, they are not the right investor for you.
- Investors will expect you to deliver everything you promise. So don’t make wild predictions or obvious overclaims.
- Instead, say what you can confidently deliver. You will be under less pressure and you are far more likely to get the best partner for your business.
2. Create an enjoyable experience
- Simple, punchy words with a little personality are far more effective than jargon or business speak.
- Write in such a way that your oldest Auntie would follow, understand, and enjoy it.
- Sentences should be short. Like this.
- Avoid unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, because they invariably detract from your messaging.
3. Don’t leave out the emotion
- 95% of our decisions are taken by our emotional brain. Investment decisions are no less emotional. Investors look for data and rational arguments, but they are also influenced by feelings. About your business, the opportunity, your competence, and what you can achieve together.
- They are more likely to listen to their ‘gut’ then be convinced by a future forecast.
- Try to make investors care about what you are doing and excite them with the possibilities.
4. Be as specific as you can
- Investors don’t have time for vague or generalised statements. Don’t say ‘the market is broken’. Say why it is broken. There shouldn’t be anything in your deck that could appear in anyone else’s.
- What’s the one big message you want them to take from each slide? That’s your slide title.
- Always zoom into detailed reasons, examples and statistics.
- Be as specific as possible. Craft statements so they have immediacy and impact, to make your deck feel dynamic, compelling and vital.
5. Make it a labour of love
- The future of your business probably depends on your deck’s success, so take your time to get it right.
- Imagine each slide is an ad, selling your business as a great investment opportunity. Good won’t do. It needs to be fantastic.
- Read every word out aloud. Do they flow? Convince?
- Look for feedback and be ready to iterate. Get someone else in your team to rewrite your deck, explaining things better and saying more with fewer words. Then you do the same with their version.
6. Be transparent about assumptions and risks
- Investors know early stage businesses are inherently risky. What they want to see is that you also know this, have thought about the riskier aspects of your business, and have realistic contingency plans in place.
- Be candid about assumptions, learnings and expectations.
- If your business has obvious shortcomings, say what they are and what you are doing to address them.
- That is the start of meaningful dialogue and something far more precious - trust.
7. Keep it lean
- Investors are scanners. They will zip through your deck in seconds. So don’t waste time labouring over detail they won’t read.
- Cut everything that doesn’t need to be there, so your deck is as clean and easy to scan as possible.
- Every slide, message, and image needs to have a clear role in telling and amplifying your story.
- If you are not sure, take things out and see the effect. Usually you’ll find it is an improvement.
Remember the key themes:
- Understand what investors want and how they operate, then give it to them
- Sell your business as an investment opportunity
- Treat investors as people, not cash machines
- Tell a short, engaging story
- Dream big but get the detail right
- Take the time needed to get it right and make sure it really convinces
- Only promise what you know you can deliver
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