Do you want to know how to build a pitch deck but don’t know where to start? I’ve advised hundreds of leading entrepreneurs on how to build the perfect pitch deck. Today, I’m going to share that blueprint for success with you.
Read on to build a great pitch deck and earn the investment your business idea deserves.
How to Build a Pitch Deck: Quickstart Guide
Across all of the pitches and investor meetings I’ve attended, I’ve learned that the pitch decks most likely to succeed are those that follow a simple structure. By following this structure, you will maximize your success rate.
You don’t need a business degree to build a pitch deck that works, just a solid business idea and the correct strategy for conveying that idea to potential investors.
What is a Pitch Deck?
Once you have decided to pull the trigger and you are wondering how to start a business and what goes into it, remember that a pitch deck is simply a slide presentation aimed at finding investors. In fact, it’s more than just about attraction, it’s about persuasion. When you learn how to build a pitch deck, you are learning how to persuade an investor to support your business idea with capital.
What Length Should My Pitch Deck Be?
In terms of the slides that you need in your pitch deck, the length of each pitch deck differs, but investors see many such decks, so I recommend keeping your pitch deck as concise as possible. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm potential investors with so much information that they become bored.
At the very most, keep your pitch deck to 20 slides. If possible, try and aim for the golden number: 10 slides.
If you can hit all stages of a great pitch deck in just 10 slides and include the salient information investors need without over-cramming each slide, you will markedly increase your chances of securing investment.
Are There Different Kinds of Pitch Deck?
Most pitch decks are used to secure investment as quickly as possible. This is usually done in person, but your pitch deck may also be delivered by email or via online streaming.
If your pitch deck is to be read, keep this in mind. If your pitch deck is, more than likely, to be presented in person or via streaming, keep your slides to a few bullet points as possible and work your charms through the accompanying speech.
The 9 Stages to Build the Perfect Pitch Deck Template
By learning the pitching process myself and securing significant venture capital investment, as well as being present at countless investor pitches as an advisor and investor, I’ve been able to identify what works for a pitch deck and what does not.
The best possible blueprint when learning how to build a pitch deck is to create your slide presentation with nine distinct stages in mind. Each section will be comprised of one or more slides and will present important information to potential investors.
We can group all nine stages into three categories or sections – Problem, Product, and Financial
Let’s take a look at these now. Follow each stage closely when building your pitch deck.
The Problem Section
The problem section of your pitch deck will incorporate three distinct stages. The initial step is to convey to investors a problem. This problem is the issue your product/service will solve. If you can identify a pressing issue potential customers face and can provide a good solution, you have something you can sell.
The second stage is outlining the solution. This slide should show how you are going to solve the problem. This could be describing a product or service, but what you want to do is focus on the overall aim of your solution – just how is your business going to make life easier for your customers?
The third stage is clearly outlining the market. Use good market research concisely reported, showing that your potential market is growing, that it is not saturated, and has the potential to return healthy profits to investors.
The Product Section
Again, the Product section of your pitch deck is comprised of three steps.
The first step is to showcase your product in greater clarity. This could be an artwork or a prototype. It could even be a product demonstration. Your primary goal here is to ensure that investors understand how your product or service works.
Support the functionality of your product with market research or reviews showing how people love what your product does/will offer.
The second step of the Product section is a slide called “Traction”. Here, you should show your growth numbers, preferably in an easy to read graph. This graph should show, month on month, how much your revenue and/or unit sales are growing. Most investors want to see the growth of at least 15%, month over month.
Most startups don’t have this data yet, so I advise skipping this section if you do not have sales yet unless you have projected growth built on sound market research that is convincing.
The last step of the Product Section is your Team slide. This slide needs to sell you and your team to investors. They will only want to invest if they know you are a pair of safe hands. For you and your co-founders, have a couple of bullet points for each individual showing the most impressive achievements of that individual.
You can also do this for senior management, but don’t overcrowd your Team slide/slides.
The Financials Section
The final section of your pitch deck is your financials. This consists of three steps: Competition, Financials, and Amount Being Raised.
Your Competition slides will show who your competition is, how they have performed, and why your approach stands out from the crowd and has a better chance of succeeding.
The Financials slides are a concise summary of your projections. This is usually for either the next 3 or 5 years. Make sure that your projections are realistic. Don’t oversell yourself. It’s better to exceed expectations than to underperform.
Finally, your last slide covers the Amount Being Raised. This shows how much capital you need to reach your next milestone. Don’t ask for too much, remember that some investors will have a cap on how much they are able to offer. A range is a good idea with a lower and higher limit.
Expand Your Pitch Deck
What I’ve outlined in this article is an effective blueprint. But there is so much more to learn about creating the perfect pitch deck and getting the best deal for your startup.
A great free resource for learning more about pitch decks is The DealMakers Podcast, where I interview leading entrepreneurs who share their strategies for getting the best possible deal.
Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, 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.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE