Are you wondering what to include in a pitch deck?
Your pitch deck needs to include a specific structure that best sells your business to investors. This structure includes 9 specific stages. Each stage contains at least one slide.
The slides you need to include in your pitch deck are the problem, the solution, the market, growth projections, product descriptions, competitor breakdown, financial projections, and required investment.
Basic Pitch Deck Guidelines
Before I outline the 9 stages of a killer pitch deck, there are some general guidelines you should follow.
The first is to be concise. I recommend no more than 20 slides for a pitch deck. 10 is even better. Don’t cram too much information onto each slide, either. Keep them easy to read and understand. No more than 2 – 3 points on each slide.
Build your pitch deck with an audience and goal in mind. If you need to secure investment for a specific milestone, gear your pitch deck towards that. If you are pitching to get access to a later pitch meeting, keep your pitch deck even shorter, no more than 5 slides.
Do not use unrealistic figures. Always back up what you are saying with market research especially whenever you are looking to mention figures around your market size.
Make sure that you have a heading slide before your presentation that includes your relevant contact information such as phone number and email address. Most angel investors won’t make their minds up there and then, so they need to contact you later with a follow-up.
You’d be amazed at how many people forget to include this!
As well as your pitch deck, prepare an in-depth Excel handout with more detail on your business numbers. You can hand this to investors who want to evaluate your business after the pitch. This will keep the slides you need in your pitch deck too muddled.
Stage 1: The Problem
The first slide of your pitch deck should highlight the problem your business plan is trying to solve. This should be a concise statement of the issue at hand. What is the problem? How many people are affected by it? How many people would like a solution?
Don’t be tempted to include more than one thing your business is trying to solve. Stick to the most important problem your product/service fixes.
It’s important to emphasize the passion behind getting this problem solved but don’t be overly dramatic. Investors are more likely to invest in a business that is solving a real problem and has customers looking to it for a solution.
Stage 2: The Solution
Your second slide takes the problem and offers a solution. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an in-depth account of your product or service (you’ll do that in stage 4). However, you do need to concisely provide a broad solution.
For example, an app designer might say that hungry customers don’t like phoning for their food. They want to order it quickly with no hassle. The app designer suggests that a mobile phone application is a way to solve this.
There is no need for a demonstration at this point, just clarify the solution you are offering.
Stage 3: The Market
In the third slide of your pitch deck, you should outline the market you will be operating within. This should be a summary of its value and revenue.
Investors will want to see clearly that the market you will be entering is profitable and has room for your business. If it’s oversaturated, they are less likely to invest.
If the market is relatively small – less than $1billion total value – use reliable marketing statistics that show the market is growing healthily. Investors are more likely to invest in a market that will grow healthily over the next 3 – 5 years, even if its initial size is small.
Stage 4: Product Description
In the fourth slide, you should show and describe how your product/service works. Taking the example of a food ordering app, this is where there would be either a demonstration of how easy it is to use or mock-up designs of what it will look like if it has not been completed yet.
What’s most important here is to give investors a clear idea of how your product/service works. If they still feel confused about it, you have a bad slide.
Stage 5: Growth Projections
The fourth stage shows the growth of your company. As with everything in a good pitch deck, you want this to clearly and concisely convey the message.
Investors will want to see a line graph showing a rising trend per month for a valuable metric. Income, gross profit, or unit sales will work. Though profit trumps all.
I recommend skipping this if you are at the preliminary stages of your business and don’t have the sales to create a graph. Investors will be looking for about 15% month over month growth.
Stage 6: Team Members
In stage 6 of your pitch deck, you will show why you and your team are a worthy investment. For you, your co-founders, and possibly your top manager, have a slide with 2 – 3 bullet points for each person.
Each bullet point should showcase that person’s most impressive achievements. Prioritize those achievements which relate directly to either running a business or your product niche.
Stage 7: Competitor Breakdown
This slide should have information about your competitors. It’s up to you what you want to include, but I recommend a record of the investment your competitors have secured. This will help establish the value within the marketplace.
The sale and growth of competitors will also work. Try to not think “we have no competitors”. Someone is working on a solution to the problem you have identified, even if they haven’t launched yet.
Stage 8: Financial Projections
The financial projections slide is an estimate of growth over the next 3 – 5 years. These figures are a guess, but they should be really tied to either your current sales, the sales of competitors, or market research showing the number of people interested in your product.
Stage 9: Required Investment
The final slide should state the overall investment amount you are looking to raise. I advise entrepreneurs to state this as a range such as $3million – $5million. The reason for this is that the lower range will encourage investors with a lower investment cap.
Secure the Investment Your Business Needs
I hope you’ve found my guide to what to include in a pitch deck helpful. If you would like to learn more about getting the investment you need, head over to The DealMakers Podcast.
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