What are the do’s and don’ts when creating a pitch deck?

What should and shouldn’t you do when creating a pitch deck to ensure it is effective and maximizes your odds of getting the funding you need?

The Power Of Pitch Decks

Pitch decks are an incredibly important piece of the puzzle for startups. Yours can make all the difference in getting off the ground, maintaining the funds you need to keep surviving and thriving, and whether you can really unleash the potential this business idea has, or not.

You really only get one shot at making a first impression with your pitch deck. If you blow it, you have probably blown your chance of funding from that investor. If you nail it, that successful connection can lead to many more pitches and opportunities.

Even beyond the present fundraising round, your pitch deck can be very influential when it comes to recruiting the best advisors, partners, and key team players.

With so much on the line, it is worth investing the time and energy to get it right. Let’s get started exploring the do’s and don’ts when creating a pitch deck for your startup.

The Do’s Of Creating A Winning Pitch Deck

There are volumes of amateur and outdated advice on pitch decks out there today. It is a hot topic many people want to cash in on. Unfortunately, that can make knowing what to do really confusing too.

Here are some of the most important things you do want to do when it comes to creating your own deck.

Keep It Super Clean & Simple

Simplicity is your friend and white space is your ally.

If in doubt, leave it out. It is better to have more empty space so that viewers can absorb the most important points, and don’t gloss over or get bored before the call to action.

Use images and graphics where it makes sense. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

For more information about how media works, check out this video that explains the key mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck.

Focus On Your Four Most Important Slides

There is a lot more that goes into crafting a powerful pitch deck than most realize. In fact, it can sometimes seem a lot harder to create a very simple looking deck than to just brain dump everything you’ve got in slide form. Between research and design each slide can be more demanding than you anticipate. So, make sure you put the most energy and thought into the four slides that are most pivotal and important for investors.

These are:

  • Cover slide: it’s all about first impressions, and getting them to keep swiping
  • Problem slide: demonstrate clarity on the problem, and how big it is
  • Financial slide: this is where investors will spend most of their time
  • Team slide: the team is even more important than your startup idea

Show Your Traction

Millions of people can talk a good game when it comes to selling and presenting. Very, very few can really execute. What can you prove that you can actually do?

Show the progress you’ve been making, the milestones you’ve achieved and the growth you’ve maintained.

Show What You’ll Use The Money For

If they are interested in your startup, what will you use their funds for? Put yourself in the investor’s shoes. What is a worthy investment of their capital that will really yield returns? Do you still need to finance building a prototype? Do you need to hire experts to build this? Or is it scaling a proven marketing and business model? Make sure your ask lines up with these uses.

Get Feedback Before Sharing

Get third party feedback from qualified advisors before you hit send and bet everything on this deck.

Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Let’s move on to the don’ts section of the critical do’s and don’ts when creating a pitch deck for your startup.

The Don’ts Of Creating A Pitch Deck – Common Errors to Avoid

Knowing what to do is only half of the battle. Knowing what not to do is equally, if not even more important.

These are some of the critical don’ts when it comes to your pitch deck.

Don’t Go Too Long

Shorter is better when it comes to slide count in a pitch deck. You should definitely be under 20 slides. Under 12 is even better. You might even be able to get under 10. Going too long is a huge red flag, and your slide count alone can kill your funding chances, even before they look at a single page.

Don’t Provide Too Much Detail

This is not the place to take a deep dive into the details of your product, technology, and all the features of your solution. They don’t need to know how it all works, and typically don’t want to. It will only take away from the important points and show you haven’t even bothered to Google what makes a good pitch deck.

Don’t Put In Anything That Requires A NDA

If you feel that you have real proprietary secrets you don’t want shared, just say that, and leave out the details. Demanding an NDA from anyone you want to see your deck or who can benefit from seeing it in their work is going to dramatically shrink the pool of those who will be interested, and that usually means excluding the best talent and investors right away.

Don’t Try To Reinvent The Wheel – Avoid this Pitch Deck Pitfall

This is not the place to reinvent, show off your innovation, disrupt, and break things. That’s what your business does. Don’t try to reinvent the pitch deck. You’ll just confuse investors. Serve it up in the format they expect. Besides, it is far more effective and efficient to use a proven pitch deck template anyway.

Don’t Forget Your Contact Info

How tragic would it be if you wow an investor with your deck and they want to fund you, but you didn’t make your contact information obvious enough so they can quickly take action?

Keep these essential do’s and don’ts when creating a pitch deck for your startup in mind and you’re sure to get the funding you need.

You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.

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