Writing the perfect pitch deck can feel daunting at first. After all, your entire pitch relies upon it. If your pitch deck is not well written and presented, then you will not secure investment for your business.
However, when learning how to write a pitch deck, there are some simple steps you can take to get the investment you need to take your business to the next level.
How to Write a Great Pitch Deck
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Pitch Deck Focus
I’ve interviewed countless leading entrepreneurs over the years and the one characteristic that they all share is a focus. This laser-like attention to a goal is what makes that goal a reality. This approach to building a pitch deck is also essential.
Too many entrepreneurs enter into a pitch meeting with a pitch deck that is poorly designed and ineffective. The reason for this is that such pitch decks were not created with a focus in mind. Blindly following a structure is not enough: Your pitch deck must have focus as its bedrock.
Examples of focus when learning how to write a pitch deck, are putting adequate time towards the creative process and keeping in mind a salient goal for each deck. Your pitch deck must have a focal point such as the amount of investment required to reach the next business milestone.
Think about what the central thrust of your pitch deck is. Keep this goal in mind and focus on it throughout the writing phase of your pitch deck. This focus will also lead into a concise form of pitch that is preferred by investors.
Angel investors do not want to be bored by a long meandering pitch. Your pitch deck must have the focus to convey what your business does, what you hope it will do, and how investors will profit from helping you achieve this.
Pitch Deck Strategy
The next step when learning how to write a pitch deck is to strategize. As I said above, too many pitch decks rely upon a fuzzy, unfocused approach. Once you have your focal point – the general aim of your pitch deck – you then need to build a strategy in order to reach your goal.
Your strategy is essentially your plan for persuasion. This is how you are going to persuade potential investors to provide capital for your business.
What approach is going to be most effective? Should you weight your pitch deck slide presentation towards the concept of your product/service? Or should your pitch deck prioritize market research data? Alternatively, you might prefer to focus primarily on the profit margin for each unit sold.
Whatever approach you take, you must ensure that your strategy is well thought out and consistent. If your pitch deck has relied on conceptual artwork or product design, and you suddenly launch into a 5-slide long diatribe with rigorous sales breakdowns and projections, this may blind-side investors.
To choose an overall strategy, you must think about what makes your business the most desirable.
This is what you should sell during your pitch. Perhaps it’s a patent your company holds. It may be a specific product that undercuts competitors. It could also be your team that is the most investible asset.
Weight your strategy towards what will be most effective. This does not mean that you should ignore other aspects, but you will not have much time to persuade potential investors because they see many pitches.
For that reason, you should spend more of your time on the aspects of your business which are most likely to give investors a good, fast ROI (Return On Investment).
Pitch Deck Execution
Finally, the execution of your focal point and strategy will hinder or help the efficacy of your pitch deck. When learning how to write a pitch deck, you need to take you carefully thought out goals and strategy, and then design your pitch slides to best present these two aspects.
There are several general points that I would recommend you follow when finally creating your pitch deck or even your business plan.
The first is to stay as concise as possible. If you can put all of your salient information into no more than 20 slides, that’s great. But if you can, aim for 10. Investors appreciate brevity because their time is valuable.
Though concise slide numbers are important, you should also ensure that you have clarity in your pitch deck. Do not include too many bullet points in each slide.
The more information that is on a slide, the less that information will be consumed. Make things easy to read and understand. Use graphs or illustrations when this will better explain your talking points.
Be compelling with your pitch. Your pitch deck should be engrossing, not boring.
This means that you should tell a story with your pitch deck, one that inspires. It should take potential investors through the problem you are trying to solve, how you will solve it, the marketing figures to back up your points, and then finally how investors can expect a good return.
Great Pitch Deck Blueprint
It’s not easy to learn how to write a pitch deck, but there is a general structure that will assist you. This structure can be broken into 9 easy to understand stages. Try to make each stage only 1 – 2 slides long.
The first stage is your problem slide. Here, you present the problem your business is trying to solve. The second stage is your solution slide, where you show how you are going to solve this issue or gap in the market.
The third stage is your market slide. In this slide, show some market research numbers. This is the overall value of the market you are competing within and why there is a gap for you and investors to exploit.
Your fourth stage should clearly showcase your product/service. This is where you should show how your product works, hopefully in a way that outlines its value to consumers.
The fifth stage when writing a pitch deck is your traction slide. Traction is all about growth. Investors will expect to see a month on month breakdown of how your business is growing. If you don’t have this data yet, try to include another reliable metric or simply skip this step. It’s better to omit than exaggerate.
The next and sixth stage is to outline your team with no more than two bullet points for each important member. Try not to overcrowd the slides, but if you and your co-founders or managers have impressive accomplishments behind you, showcase them. Often, investors are more interested in investing in great entrepreneurs than in one product design.
The seventh stage of your pitch deck blueprint is to list your competition. Here, you will show the progress your competitors have made and why you are doing something different. By showing that your competitors have successfully raised investment, you show the value of your proposition.
The eighth stage of your pitch deck is where you summarize your projections. As I mention in my book on startup fundraising, this is usually either a 3 or 5-year projection. This is about showing investors how well you expect your business to perform. Don’t oversell yourself, as investors will see this as a red flag. Be realistic and base your projections on current business performance and market trends.
Finally, the ninth stage of your pitch deck is where you outline the overall investment amount you are looking for. Remember, some investors will have a cap on how much they can spend, so try to give a range rather than one high value. This will encourage them to invest.
In order to write a great pitch deck, you need to break the process down into three key areas. These are Focus, Strategy, and Execution. I also go through the slides in detail on the video below where I cover how to create a pitch deck.
How do You Seal the Deal?
Getting the best deal for your business is difficult, but there is a highly effective way to improve your chances. Successful entrepreneurs have already learned how to write a pitch deck and have raised significant investment. I highly recommend learning from them.
There are some great resources online, and I also release episodes of The DealMakers Podcast where I interview successful entrepreneurs each week so you can learn from their strategies.
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.