Are you wondering what you don‘t want to include too much text in a pitch deck?
You want to convey all the great stuff about your startup when pitching angel investors, but too much text in your pitch deck can kill your chances of getting funded.
This might sound like a small detail. Yet, it continues to be one of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make. It is a huge pet peeve of professional investors and VCs.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
The Importance Of Text In Your Deck
The words in your pitch deck are incredibly important. Each character is hyper valuable.
Consider that if you average 55 words per slide in a 10 slide deck, and are even just raising $1M in seed funding, each word is worth over $1,818. If you are raising a $10M Series A, each word can make or lose you over $18,000. In a $55M raise, each word is worth $100k.
Clearly, it’s important to make every word count. Yet, packing in more words isn’t going to help you raise more. Often the opposite is true.
Here’s why you don’t want to include too much text in a pitch deck.
It is true that it can be harder to boil down your ideas and thoughts into fewer words. Yet, that’s why it is those who do stand out.
People need it simple. Especially when you are talking about brand new concepts in new industries. Being too complex and technical doesn’t just cripple chances of getting funded, it can burn opportunities to bring on great talent and partners, and will cost you a lot of sales.
They don’t necessarily need to know how it works yet, just what it does for them.
If you thought customers had short attention spans today, just wait until you start presenting to investors. You will see on the video below, where I cover how to create a pitch deck, how investors only spend on average 2 minutes and 41 seconds per presentation.
It’s hard enough to nail investors down long enough to give looking at your pitch deck a chance. Even with the best pitch deck ever you can have less than a 1% chance of getting funded. They get so many pitches every day.
As soon as you start losing their attention or they get interrupted you can be done. Keep it short and sweet and swift to get through.
Some veteran VCs suggest that no text in your deck should be in less than a 30 point font. That means your titles and highlights are going to have to be even bigger. You’re going to have a lot less room for words than you think.
Tip: Make sure you start filling in your pitch deck template in larger fonts so you have enough room. Otherwise you are going to waste time and have a frustrating time continuing to trim it down once you start working in the right fonts. Or you’ll be tempted to add slides, and that can double the damage.
Leave Room For Images & Prototypes
While words are necessary, they say an image can be worth 1,000 words. You are limited on space, so use images in place of text. That includes charts, graphs, and diagrams. Sites like Shutterstock can be helpful with this.
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Some say a prototype can be worth 10x a picture. So, where possible include screenshots of your product or service in action too.
Reduce Chances Of A Mistake
The more text you have the more chances of typos and grammatical mistakes, or simply saying the wrong thing. What you say is more important than the typos for sure.
Yet, you want to look professional and like you are paying attention and care about your work. If you didn’t care enough to proofread your pitch deck or have an advisor look over it, what else are you skimping on?
There are a lot of harder parts of the business coming up. Are you going to be sloppy about those too? If they are worth you spending five minutes to check your work, why are you worth them taking their time to view it, never mind giving you a lot of money?
Too Much Information Can Kill You
Besides simply boring folks during startup fundraising and increasing the chances of making a mistake, too much info can raise more questions than it answers. Do you really want them coming up with more objections and questions instead of just giving you a term sheet? Instead, let them fill in the blanks in their minds. Let them envision the potential for your business.
Leave Room To Adlib
You are probably going to be pitching and presenting this to multiple investors. Often in different situations. Less text gives you more room to adlib on the fly and customize your story and presentation to your audience. This is far more efficient than recreating your pitch deck all the time.
Keep Your Audience In Sync With You
To get to that compelling close you need your audience walking in sync with you every step of the way. Guy Kawasaki warns that too much text is going to cause your audience of investors to read ahead of you. They stop listening and become disengaged from what you are saying.
Do not underestimate the importance of a fantastic copy in your pitch deck and the value of your words. However, don’t underestimate the risks of including too much text in your deck either. Keep it simple and effective, and increase your chances of getting funded at every pitch.
Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising and you will need capital to scale things up. 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.