Is your pitch deck any good? Is it good enough? How to know if your pitch deck is good?
When it comes to fundraising, and maybe the viability of your entire startup and current life mission, it all comes down to the deck.
It doesn’t matter how great your business idea or product is if you can’t win them over with your pitch deck.
You don’t get many chances to get it right either. There is only a limited amount of quality and qualified investors at a given stage of startup fundraising.
They are already bombarded with decks and pitches from entrepreneurs. It is hard enough to get their attention once. If you burn that with a poor deck you can’t expect to get another shot with them.
So, how do you know if your deck is good enough?
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
You Hate Your Pitch Deck
A great pitch deck typically goes against everything a first-time startup founder wants to do with it.
It doesn’t look the way they want. It doesn’t include all of the volumes of information they want to incorporate. And, it doesn’t focus on the information they want to convey.
So, while you definitely shouldn’t be ashamed of the state of your pitch deck, if you hate it and want to pile more data and text into it, you are probably doing it right.
Of course, if you can flip through it and would invest your own personal savings into this opportunity if someone else presented it to you like that, that is a good plus too. But how to know if your pitch deck is good?
Despite all of the data out there and investor blogs showing the importance of keeping a pitch deck short in order to be effective, this is one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to actually do.
If you just listen to what investors want, or even just use the pitch deck templates they have provided you can nail it.
If you are over 10 slides at your seed stage round, you probably have too many slides. If you are over 20 at your Series A you are probably going too long.
While you’re assessing your pitch deck to ensure that it will have the necessary impact, check out this video where I explain some of the deadly signs of a bad pitch deck. Make sure to avoid them.
It Looks Good
While you can invest $50,000 or more in a beautiful work of art from a professional design studio or agency and may find it works well, you may not need to go that wild.
If it is clean, simple, all of your images and design elements line up and are in focus, and it isn’t embarrassing to send, then you are probably going to be fine.
Images of your product should be of high quality. Diagrams and charts should be clear. Though you don’t need to get too crazy with mind-blowing design features. The main focus here is going to be on the text and data.
It Helps You Attract Talent
A pitch deck is good if it helps you to attract great talent.
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You will know your deck is good if you are showing it to others for preliminary feedback or in recruiting and for advice, and they are asking you how they can get involved, without you hard pitching them.
If it is great, people will want to work for you on this mission. They will want to be involved to help you make it a success. They will want to offer you money to participate in and fund your venture.
If you aren’t getting that type of action, then your deck may only be mediocre at best. So, how would you know if your pitch deck is good?
It Follows The Right Flow
This again comes back to the fact that while the VC world and getting funded may sometimes seem very opaque and confusing, investors are flat out telling you how to create a winning pitch deck, if you’ll just listen and follow directions.
Not only is there certain and now pretty well-known information that investors expect to see in a pitch deck, but there is also a certain order that they expect to see it in.
Just getting this simple factor wrong can really ruffle them. It will distract them in the wrong way, and instead, put them in the mode of pointing out every little thing that is wrong with your deck instead of rushing it through to the next step in funding.
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.
Balances Facts With Fill In The Blanks
You may have already deeply thought through the potential for how big this venture could be, who ideal partners may be in the future, and what the company could be worth, and who you might expect to buy you out for billions of dollars in the near future. Don’t feel the need to spell it all out.
Firstly, experienced investors know that even the best-laid plans are going to frequently change, and very quickly.
Secondly, even as big as you can dream, investors have probably seen a lot bigger, and have ways of connecting the dots in their own heads, which could make your venture far more valuable and sizable than you can imagine.
They probably know how to get there a lot faster too.
Lay out the key facts they expect. It is okay to plant a few seeds that will help them connect the dots. Just leave enough for their imagination. It could really help you understand how to know if your pitch deck is good.
You Followed The 10, 20, 30 Rule
This means you used just 10 slides, which you can present in just 20 minutes, and have used no less than 30 point font for your text.
If you haven’t followed this formula for a great pitch deck then you may want to go back and make these adjustments before you start sending it out there and pitching it to investors.
Cut back your slides. Enlarge your fonts, and be sure you can deliver it all live or online in just 20 minutes.
If Can Be Digested & Acted On In 3 Minutes Or Less
The amount of time that investors are spending on pitch decks is getting less and less.
An investor should be able to flip all the way through your deck and be able to digest everything you’ve presented, and still have time to take the action of emailing or calling you, all within three minutes or less. Considering this scenario, you would want to understand how to know if your pitch deck is good.
This time slot is likely to continue to be compressed. More and more individuals are trying to, or feel they need to strike out as entrepreneurs and found startups.
As borders are disappearing and we are becoming more global, the amount of decks being fired off at the same investors is exploding. So, you may want to get even shorter to stay ahead of this.
It Passes The Grandmother Test
What most newer startup entrepreneurs don’t get is that it is simplicity and focus that really makes a good pitch deck, not jamming in all of the information and possibilities flowing through your brain.
You only have a few seconds to get your point across. Of course, it makes sense to you, because you’ve probably spent weeks and months thinking about it.
The question is whether you are crisply and clearly conveying that to others.
Try the grandmother test. Can your grandmother get it in three minutes or less?
Another way to try this is to give it to your worst critic. You know someone who always finds a problem to point out in everything.
Let them review it. If they can get it, and are stumped to find flaws, then you are really doing well.
You Can Show 100x Potential
Certainly, not all startup investments return 100x. Many fail horribly. So, investors have to shoot big and hope that the one or two winners in their portfolio make up for all of the losses and underperformers.
So, you have to show potential investors that you can take their capital to this level of return. That’s what is going to get them excited to take a bet on you. So, how to know if your pitch deck is good before connecting with them.
People Are Wanting To Know More
Your pitch deck’s job isn’t to nail a check in the bank on the first view. It’s fantastic when that happens. Though the real job of your deck is just to take that interaction to the next step.
There are a number of ideal outcomes and actions you may want to see after your deck is shared and viewed, though just having them hungry for more information is a great step in the right direction.
How often is that happening?
Your Pitch Deck Metrics Are Performing Well
Today’s startup founders ought to be hosting their pitch deck online. This gives you access to lots of data and extra controls.
It means you can control who can see your deck at any given time. It also means being able to track and measure lots of data around your deck.
This includes how many views it is receiving, who is viewing it, how many times they have viewed it, the time spent viewing it, and when it has been shared.
This will tell you plenty about how your overall fundraising campaign is performing. As well as where you are doing well with your pitch deck, or you could be doing more optimization.
You Are Landing Real Investor Meetings
The next step for most after successfully sharing a deck is the investor meeting.
This is where you really get to pitch investors, show off the best of your opportunity, and also interview them and screen them for fit, while building a stronger connection with them.
Be sure to track your ratio of pitch deck shares to meeting appointments.
If this isn’t a high percentage you may need to revisit and tweak your initial introductions, how you are sending your deck and your messaging, the investors you are targeting, and of course your pitch deck itself.
You Are Receiving Good Term Sheets
The ultimate goal of all the work you are putting into your pitch deck and the surrounding campaign is to get term sheets in the door.
These are offers of funding. They are the result or measure of how good your pitch deck really is.
Not only do you want multiple term sheets coming in, you want attractive terms. How are you doing at that?
What is your ratio of pitch deck views to term sheets? Are those term sheets stacking up well against your expectations and ask?
Are they exceeding what you hoped for? Or are investors lowballing you?
Other People Use Your Pitch Deck As An Example
Perhaps one of the greatest compliments your pitch deck can receive is others pointing to your deck as how to create a good one.
This may not happen until you’ve raised some funding and have built a name for yourself as a company. Or it could happen during a startup pitching competition or startup accelerator.
People Copy Your Deck
While this is probably the last thing you want, it can be the best compliment. That doesn’t mean they are stealing your deck and all of its contents and your business idea.
More like they are using your template for their own ventures or to educate other founders. If you see that happening you probably created a pretty amazing deck.
How do you know if your pitch deck is good? Check out this list of ways that you can know if your pitch deck is good enough, and how to make some crucial edits to nail it before you try presenting to your ideal investors. When it comes to getting funded, and building your whole business, it is all about the deck. Create a great one.
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.