Life Area: Professional
Topic: The Only 8 Slides Your Pitch Deck Needs
The Only 8 Slides Your Pitch Deck Needs
When I first meet with startup entrepreneurs, the most often asked question is some form of “How do we raise capital?”
It’s very wise of them to ask because in the end if you’re not well capitalized, you won’t last. Yet rarely do they know the steps to raising capital, let alone how to apply them. I tell them, VCs and other investors are investing in you as a person as much as they are investing in your company product or service. So, I tell them “be authentic”, “be open book”, “be vulnerable”. Let them get to know you and trust you. They need to do that long before they see your proforma, rate of return, or sales projections.
Often the first impression to such an audience is your presentation or “pitch deck”. The reason I want to talk about pitch decks is simple: I see too many that are simply not good. What should be a short, powerful presentation to pique investor interest too frequently falls way short. Nothing I’m about to tell you about how to build the perfect pitch deck amounts to magic. It’s just simple fundamentals. So here’s how to do a pitch deck right, slide by simple slide:
Slide 1: Present your statement of purpose.
When I talk with a young entrepreneur, I always start by asking, “What’s your big idea?” What I’m looking for is a statement about who they are and what they do in a sentence so elemental and polished that the listeners “get it”. This statement is worth spending some time on, because it might just be the most important dozen words you ever write. It also needs to be a living statement that evolves and grows with your business, your market, and dependent on what matters to your investors. And … remember this, the first slide sets the tone, and you either grab them or lose them with this one.
Slide 2: Introduce your team.
Now, introduce them to you and your team. Let them get to know your team members’ professional backgrounds, why you’re each well-suited for the business, and how you all work together synergistically with complementary skill sets. And what are investors looking for in your team? Three things, really: that they’ve done it before, that they’re the best at what they do, and that they’re incredibly confident. Bring as many team members as you think helps your cause and show off the veritable tour de force of talent that’s going to give the room absolute confidence you can pull off everything you’re about to lay out.
Slide 3: Identify the problem.
If you’re pursuing the kind of big idea that matters to venture capitalists, you need to comprehensively and vividly identify the fundamental problem you’re solving. This accomplishes a couple of things. One, it demonstrates that you understand current market pressures and the macro trends that drive them. Second, it forces you to train a spotlight on what you’re aiming to tackle by ensuring it’s an actual problem in the world. If you can describe the problem better than your audience, chances are they will assume you have the solution.