From the outset of creating a pitch deck, both content and visuals are important. Therefore, the structure and design of the pitch deck play a major role in conveying this. Even though your pitch should not be more important than your product, it does mirror your expertise and professionalism as a founder and differentiates you from the competition. It is thus of utmost importance that you invest time and money in making sure that you portray the right image. A professionally designed pitch deck strengthens your message at the right time, yet it will never distract your audience from the message you are trying to convey.
So what should I keep in mind when creating a pitch deck? Here are 5 things you might want to consider:
- Content is King
And a King is always honest :) . On a serious note: when creating content for for a pitch it is important to remember to keep it honest, authentic, validated and factual.
Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue. ~ Andrew Davis, Author of Brandscaping
Content which comes across as vague or ambiguous usually results in your investors asking many questions or not taking you too seriously. Content which is validated by others often creates trust which is what one should strive for when pitching. Customer testimonials are one of the ways that one can achieve this.
2. KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
Following the KISS Principle - try and really keep your pitch short, simple and straightforward. If you include too much information your audience will forget half of it by the end and will also not know what was important. A pitch should not have too many slides and rather be to the point. Your audience should understand your product or solution quickly and this can often be better achieved by showing:
- A functioning prototype / product
- Or an update of your current status
Another method for thinking about simplicity is the MOM test. With the mom test you should always ask yourself if your mother or even grandmother would understand what you are trying to sell. If the answer is "huh?!", "sorry I don't understand" or "it’s too complicated" - try and simplify it even further.
3. An early climax is great for your structure
Structuring your pitch correctly is very important. Your structure should be distinct and should follow a logical progression. Typical structures of pitches are similar to storytelling with a story consisting of an introduction, climax and ending, however pitches do not build up to the climax. Instead they start with it and continue by keeping the audience intrigued. They should start like a rocket, then get you emotionally attached before taking a solid path upward.
Pitches that are structured great should get better and better as they go on.
If one does choose to go with a classic structure - Dennis von Ferenczy has a recipe on how the essential structure of your should look in his post: What are the most common startup pitch deck templates and frameworks used in today’s startup pitches?
4. Start with a 30 Sec. Elevator Pitch
A 30 Second elevator pitch should give you a business overview in just 2 short sentences. It will be the foundation to your pitch which gives context into what the pitch will be about.Try and keep the Elevator pitch short, simple and memorable with no expert jargon. This can usually be achieved by answering the questions:
- What problem am I solving?
- How am I solving this problem?
- Why am I solving this problem?
If you can answer these questions in one sentence you have mastered the art of elevator pitching - a skill, many startups (believe it or not) struggle with. Try and really start your pitch with the elevator pitch.
5. Lead with examples
When creating your pitch deck always keep in mind to enforce your message by making use of examples. This can be achieved by various ways:
- Replace written phrases by using concrete and illustrative images
- Instead of describing your problem use pictures and videos
- Showing a prototype or screenshots of your product
- Mentioning customer testimonials and other validations
- Statements are often better explained by using of videos
It is all about good communication. So to sum up: the content of your pitch is the most important, then comes the structure. Think about how you want to convey both, especially when it comes to your climax. Make sure to start the pitch with a 30 second elevator pitch and use many vivid examples.