Neil Patel

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Are you thinking about how to improve storytelling in a pitch deck?

A great story is key to selling your fundraising campaign.

How do you harness the best storytelling in your pitch deck so that your startup gets funded?

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks


Storytelling Makes All The Difference In Fundraising Success

Storytelling really can make all the difference in the world when it comes to startup fundraising

You can have a truly brilliant idea, and flawless technical expertise in building a product, and even solid numbers. Yet, without strong storytelling your startup still may never get funded. The opposite can even be true too. You may be weak in all of these other areas right now, but with a powerful story and great delivery, you can get funding and overcome these factors.

Fundraising from investors is still very much a human experience. Even when everything is being done online between LinkedIn, email, pitch decks hosted in virtual data rooms, Google Meet video meetings and digital signatures.

When wondering how to improve storytelling in a pitch deck that our human history and consciousness is built on stories. Stories we read, that are shared with us, and that we tell ourselves. We are hardwired to use stories to connect, survive and thrive. That’s been true for thousands of years, and since we used primitive paintings to communicate before written and organized language and alphabets. 

If you want to win the funding game, improve your storytelling. 

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.

What Makes Great Storytelling When Pitching Startup Investors?

A winning story is one that is unique enough to be interesting and hold attention. Yet, also familiar enough to be relatable on a personal level.

When it comes to pitching, it is also a story that is tailored to a specific target audience. This may be individuals in investor meetings, honing in on a few in the crowd on a startup accelerator demo day or public crowdfunding platforms.

As part of understanding how to improve storytelling in a pitch deck note it is not just facts. It is emotional and inspires action. Like Seth Godin says, it shows them “people like us, do things like this.”

Where Storytelling Shows Up In Your Pitch Deck

There are several stories or parts of the story that show up in a successful pitch deck. 

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The Financial Story

This is much less a story, than a flow of key factors which checks off the boxes for investors, but it still connects the dots for investors to tell themselves a good story in their heads. 

Financing startups is a financial decision. So, this part of the pitch includes telling prospective investors about the sales, cash flow, revenues, profit, growth, and what a great investment this is. As well as instilling the fear of missing out they will experience if they don’t get in now. 

The Problem Story

This is probably the most important story in your pitch deck. You won’t have time to tell anecdotes or mini stories with each slide in your pitch deck, but you can really set things up right here. 

Tell the story of your why. How did you encounter this problem? What pain did you feel? How can they personally relate to this in their own lives? 

When thinking how to improve storytelling in a pitch deck you need to ask yourself how have you engaged customers to verify and clarify this main is wide spread enough to become the foundation of a very big business?

The Team Story

Having the best team of heroes to champion this venture is really the number one factor investors are looking at. You need a strong problem, but that is irrelevant if you don’t have the right team to execute on it. 

Use a storytelling format to show how your team is the best equipped to take this on, and has the grit and resilience, coachability and problem solving talent that will carry their investment through to being a profitable one. 

The Vision Story 

Your story starts with the challenge, and lays out the heroes of this story and how they will solve the problem. Then you are painting a big vision of the future and the outcome. What it looks like when you are victorious together. It shows them how smart they will look and what that success will do for them personally. Either financially, in their career, or in their life. It’s the story they will sell themselves on and their committee and partners. 

Use Pictures That Tell Stories

They say pictures are worth 1,000 words. So, don’t overlook using images in your pitch deck to help tell the story and drive it home. 

Use graphs to show traction, growth, and your competitive advantages. Use diagrams of your startup’s story timeline and milestones. Use pictures of your team. Use images of your product in use in the real world. 

Extracting Your Best Story

Not many startup founders feel that they are great storytellers. Many may have incredible IQs and education. They are geniuses in many ways. They may be thorough in getting all of the facts down on paper and on slides and websites. Yet, all too often they are too close or too technical to really tell a winning story. Or they just aren’t confident in the emotional side of the story their startup owns.

Storytelling is an art. It takes a creative mind and talent. A skillset that can often be at odds with the skills many entrepreneurs have programmed themselves with through engineering school and tech careers. 

So, if you really want to master this critical part of the pitch, and marketing your startup, brand and product in general, leverage the help of a professional storyteller. A pro copywriter, brand journalist, and master of words. 

Hopefully this post provided you with some perspective as you are looking into how to improve storytelling in a pitch deck. 

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.

On the video below I cover how to improve storytelling in a pitch deck in detail.

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS VIDEO:

Hi, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how to improve storytelling in a pitch deck. Before we get started, make sure that you hit that Subscribe button, and this way, you will never miss out on any of the videos that we roll out every week.

A great story is key to anything, whether that is onboarding investors, whether that is onboarding customers or even onboarding A+ team members that you want to bring to your team. Without a story, there is nothing. In today’s video, I’m going to be breaking it down for you and how to bring the essence of that storytelling in your pitch deck so that you’re able to get in front of investors and really captivate their attention and doing it with a bang. In today’s video, again, I find that you’re going to get all this value. You’re going to find a step-by-step, and it’s all about making sure in those 2 minutes and 41 seconds when you have the attention of the investors when they’re reviewing your pitch deck that you’re above to really get them excited. With that being said, let’s get into it.

Storytelling makes all the difference when it comes to fundraising success. Here’s the thing: it’s all about the future and possibilities. That’s why the investor is investing in you. They’re not so much betting on the historicals because the past is in the past. What they’re betting on is the present and then also the future. That’s why you want to get them excited.

It’s like when you read a book, and they’re telling you what they ate that day, or even what weather it was that day. They make you feel part of that moment. What you want to do with the investor is to remember that they’re investing in you. They want to invest in being part of the journey, so you need to make them be part of it somehow so that they get really excited. 

This is like a movie, at the end of the day. You need to walk them slowly through what that story is. Don’t be all over the place. Don’t try to overwhelm them with information to make sure that they get it. You just need to give them the story right and do it in a concise way because that attention span is very small.

A great story is one that is emotional and one that inspires action. Here’s an example. I remember, some years ago, I was at a panel judging a pitch deck competition. One of the people that was presenting, she was an amazing founder that pitched this story that left everyone breathless or speechless. 

Essentially what she said was that when she was growing up in her family, one of her sisters had an imbalance mentally and that they needed to find a physician, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. As a result of this, the family really struggled a lot to find the right type of individual. The way that she was sharing her story, the way that she was able to capture the essence literally brought all the attendees to tears. 

This is an amazing example of how you can move, touch, and inspire the people that are in front of you. You want to be able to share a story that is relatable to them. Maybe they’ve actually experienced that situation directly or indirectly, and that’s how you get people excited about what you’re doing. You need to get that action out of them.

Storytelling is part of the financial story as well. The reason for this is that you’re going to be projecting a story over the course of time with the numbers, and that’s whether it’s going to be a three-year projection, a five-year projection, and you want to be able to put it in a way that is digestible for the investor and very easy to see. Not just like grabbing a screenshot and throwing it on your pitch deck. You want to be able to slowly walk them through.

If you need to break down the financials into different slides on your pitch deck, that’s totally fine. You could even put three to five slides where you can break down the EBITDA, the revenues, and the income, whatever that is, or even the number of customers on how that is growing over time. But don’t overwhelm people and try to capture it all in one single slide. Make it easy for them so that they can see the story over the course of time.

In the story, if they are asking you for certain numbers, and you don’t remember them, that’s totally okay. Don’t try to make them up because that’s not going to put you in a good spot. Just send them a note later to thank them for the meeting, and then say, “By the way, the numbers that you asked for are…” Whatever that is, but don’t make it up on the spot.

The problem part of the story is a big one. This is your Why. Remember that there where you experienced that problem for the first time and how you incubated the idea of a potential solution that would cover that gap to that problem and how that incubated over the course of time. Perhaps there was one single event that pushed you over the edge to say, “You know what? This is the time to actually do something about this,” and that’s the moment where you decided to take action. That’s exactly the way that you want to bring that problem to their attention, and that’s Why – the Why that is driving your passion and the Why that is driving the culture, as well, of the company that you’re looking to build.

The team story is also a key one. Here, what you want to do is, you want to share with the investor how you’re all coming together. How did the founding team come together? How did you guys meet? Why do you share that same passion toward the problem that you’re looking to resolve? What makes them capable to actually bring their expertise, their thought leadership, their skillset into the execution and into the 18 to 24-month roadmap that you’re looking to put and implement over the course of time. These are the things that the investor likes to see and hear.

Without vision, there’s nothing – there’s no culture, there is no being in sync, on the same page with your team members. There has to be a clear vision, and the best way to think about this is, imagine if you go to sleep tonight and you go to sleep for five years, and you wake up in a world where the vision of your business, that business that you like to envision over the course of time; imagine, all of a sudden, everything is realized. What does that world look like, and what does your business look like?

Once you’re able to answer that for yourself, you have a clear idea of what the vision of your business is, and you need to get people enrolled in that vision. Everyone needs to be able to add their own splash of color as part of the team so that everyone really feels that sense of ownership that the investor wants to have.

Remember to use pictures that tell stories. Here’s a clear example. On the cover slide of your pitch deck – essentially, people just try to put a logo, they put a name, they put a phone number, but this is your chance to show the trailer of your movie. Before you go and watch a movie, you’ve watched a trailer so that you have a good understanding that it’s going to be a good use of your time to go and watch the movie. 

The same thing happens with pitch decks. Since the investor is only going to invest two minutes and 41 second, they want to get the cover, which is a picture of what you’re doing, the company in action. Right away, it establishes the expectations for what they are about to review. 

You can do this on the cover; you can also do it throughout the presentation where you’re using certain visuals that are allowing you to balance the text with the actual images. Obviously, the less text and the more images, the better, but you want to make sure that you’re not overwhelming whoever is reviewing the presentation with too many visuals.

Storytelling, at the end of the day, is an art. Obviously, if you’re very technical, or you don’t have the skillset, it’s not going to be easy. Even the smartest people that I’ve know still have issues with storytelling, with really bringing people in, sharing that level of detail. So it’s totally fine if you are not mastering this. What you can do is get a copywriter; you can get a journalist or a master storyteller that helps you to capture the essence of your business or the story in a way in which is compelling and in a way in which is exciting. 

So, hit a Like on this video. Also, Subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss out on all the videos that we’re rolling out every week. Then, also, leave a commit and let me know how you’re thinking about storytelling. And if you’re raising capital, shoot me an email at alejandro@pantheraadvisors.com. I would love to help out. Thank you so much for watching.

 

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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want me to help you with your fundraising, just book a call.

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