Are you wondering what are the mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck?
Your pitch deck can make all the difference in getting your startup funded and giving it the fuel it needs to become what it could be. As with many things in life and business, knowing what to do is only half of the puzzle. Knowing what not to do is just as important. Sometimes even more so.
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.
So, what are some of the most deadly and most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when it comes to creating a pitch deck?
Not Articulating The Problem You Are Solving Clearly
The best startups are those who are most intently focused and in tune with the problem they are solving. It needs to be a real, pressing, and ‘hair on fire’ problem and pain point that customers will actually take action on, and pay real money for.
Many startup entrepreneurs make the mistake of getting lost in all of the features and side or subproblems their product or service can solve. Not only does this confuse potential investors, but it will make them concerned that you simply can’t focus and make real progress.
Hone in on one problem and clearly explain what you are solving.
It may help if you provide a personal story or analogy in your verbal pitch that your audience can relate to.
Not Keeping Your Solution Simple
Just as with the problem, keep your solution simple and focused too. This is one of the critical aspects when figuring out the mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck.
In reality, your solution may solve a variety of things, and have many features and benefits. Don’t lose investor focus, attention, and flow by distracting them. Or lose credibility by appearing distracted.
Your solution may be eco-friendly, including AI, and be cheaper, but what is the one main thing it does? What one thing can you excel at and be better at than all of your past, current, and future competitors?
Using Too Many Slides
This is one of the most important mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck. It can actually be far more serious and detrimental than most startup founders realize. If they really knew how pivotal and impactful it was, they would start building far shorter pitch decks from the beginning.
This has certainly cost many startups their chance of getting funded. Even those who have saved themselves by coming back and finding more investors with shorter decks will have wasted months of their time, the best opportunities, and plenty of precious cash.
Shorter is better.
The truth is that you are not going to increase your chances of funding by making sure you get in all of the details and tech specs about your product. In reality, even if they get it, most investors don’t care. It’s not what is going to trigger them to fund you. You are far better off proving that you can focus and keep it simple. 12 slides is plenty. For early-stage startups or pre-seed startups, 7 or 8 slides might do just fine. That doesn’t mean cramming each slide full of text and numbers either.
Not Delivering On The Team Slide
While later-stage startups will be judged mostly on the numbers and data, earlier stage startups are riding mostly on their team.
Experienced investors know that the chances you will pivot, tear up, and start in a new direction with your business plan and model or even product are very high. What is more important is that your team is not only capable and focused, but will keep going and create something of value to give them a return.
So, have you surrounded yourself with a cofounding team with well-rounded skills and experience? Have you recruited a brilliant executive team that represents the best in this space and gives you an unfair advantage? Have you supplemented any gaps with advisors?
Not Doing Your Research
This is as valuable for yourself as it is for investors and getting funded. Important to note as part of the mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck.
Be sure you have completed thorough and fresh and up to date research on all the important data around your venture.
Know what competitors are in the space, what their pricing is, and perhaps most importantly for your pitch deck, how big the market is, and your potential share of that. This is one of the most vital factors for getting funded.
One of the easiest mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck is not listing all your competitors. The investor will think that you are trying to hide things from them.
Not Tailoring Your Pitch Deck To The Specific Investors You Are Pitching
While you don’t want to be bogged down in endlessly tweaking your pitch deck as a full-time job instead of working on the real business, tailoring can be very important.
Be sure you are bringing out the most significant elements to the specific crowd of investors you are presenting too. You can pre-design a couple of slides and versions of your deck you can quickly substitute with depending on the circumstances.
What works best may change based on whether you are pitching investors who really care about your industry, business model, technology, etc.
Don’t miss out on big funding opportunities and the chance to bring very valuable investors onto your team for the sake of not tweaking a slide. This is a critical one of the mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck
For a detailed video on how to create a pitch deck you may want to check the video below where I cover this in detail.
Taking The Long Route
Too many entrepreneurs take the very long route to create a pitch deck which is one of the interesting mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck. They try reinventing the wheel and spend a whole lot of extremely precious and valuable time redesigning the same mousetrap.
Disruption and innovation and being unique can be valuable in many ways in business. It’s just not profitable in many areas when there is already something that works well you can use.
There are already proven pitch deck templates out there that you can just plug your unique information into. Do that and get onto the next important task.
Not Prominently Displaying Your Contact Information
Can you imagine an investor finally being convinced to write you a big and important check, only to give up and go fund your competition because it wasn’t fast and easy to find your contact info!
Make it super easy and obvious to get in touch with you and fund you.
Not Getting A Second Opinion
Before you hit send on your deck or rush off to present it, it is just common sense to get the feedback of someone experienced at this.
Hopefully, this post provided some light around the mistakes to avoid when creating your pitch deck.