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It takes both art and science to create a pitch deck that will result in funding. You must be able to express the idea for your company clearly and concisely while simultaneously appealing to the sensibilities of potential investors. The average time spent by investors studying decks is approximately three minutes and forty-four seconds. Therefore, it is pretty essential to create a fantastic first impression in a short amount of time.
What investors want in a pitch deck
Savvy investors look for certain types of information when evaluating pitch decks. Skipping over or only briefly glossing over these key details can make or break your ability to secure funding. A pitch deck gives potential investors a thorough grasp of your company. Seeking an emotional bond that goes beyond financial gain, they inquire about the goals and objectives of your organization. They require a concise synopsis of the product or service that highlights its special qualities and advantages. A thorough target customer profile that goes beyond demographics to understand their challenges and perspectives is also necessary for investors. They are looking for reliable total addressable market statistics as well as an accurate analysis of the competition environment. It is essential to have a well-considered go-to-market plan backed by specific traction measures. Investors want to see your business plan, financial forecasts, goals for fundraising and a profile of your competent staff. Effectively addressing these issues is essential to winning their support for long-term success.
Related: 3 Key Things You Need to Know About Financing Your Business
Tips for improving your pitch deck
Carefully crafting your pitch deck slides and overall presentation can truly make or break your ability to secure startup funding. Keep these tips in mind:
Know your audience
Gaining a deep understanding of your target investors should be a top priority when creating your pitch deck. Avoid the rookie mistake of only including information you personally find interesting or want to share about your company. Be ruthlessly audience-centric in your approach.
Do extensive research into your investors’ interests, motivations, goals and pain points. Conduct stakeholder interviews and analyze past investments to identify their preferences. Adapt your messaging, design choices and content to closely align with your investors’ worldview, not just your own.
Speak directly to your investors’ needs and concerns. Put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, what excites them? What keeps them up at night? What past investments have they made and why? What types of language and messaging appeal to them?
Design choices are critical for an impressive pitch deck. Avoid information overload and leave whitespace for a clean design by prioritizing simplicity and clarity. Begin with a visually appealing presentation template that provides polished and unified graphics that adhere to presentation best practices. Customize these templates to reflect your company’s identity. Use high-resolution, relevant visuals and photos, keep the text concise, and keep fonts, colors and styles consistent throughout. For a clean, professional appearance, use readable word sizes, high-contrast color schemes, and strategic alignments. Consider modest movements and transitions for increased impact, but avoid anything distracting or unprofessional.
Make the ask clear
Being direct and unambiguous in requesting funding is critical. Don’t make investors work to figure out what you actually want from them. Clearly state your need for cash and the amount of money you want to raise right away. Explain how you plan to use the money and how it will help the business grow by doing things like hiring engineers or adding more office space. Link the use of the fund to concrete goals. This will give investors a sense of time. Don’t make unrealistic predictions; instead, be honest about your plans and stress the return on investment (ROI) for investors. Avoid using hard-to-understand jargon, and keep your language simple. Also, use graphs and charts to make your ideas easier to understand. Lastly, add “contingency buffers” to your conservative projections to show that you can be flexible and build trust.
Tell a compelling story
Structure your content strategically to craft an emotive, memorable narrative. Hook investors’ attention immediately. Make them care about the problem you’re solving. Build intrigue around your company as the hero. Walk investors through your origin story, product innovation, traction and team. Sequence key information and visuals to build momentum, culminating in a call to action to invest.
Take your audience on an informative yet entertaining journey, mixing logic and emotion. Outline a vision that inspires investors to join your mission.
Related: 7 Questions Every Founder Should Ask Potential Investors
It’s crucial to convey genuine excitement and passion for your company’s purpose, product and growth potential. Investors invest in people and teams as much as they do in raw ideas. Let your authentic enthusiasm shine through. Share what drives your own personal commitment and investment.
Be professional but also personable and relatable. Storytelling mixed with vulnerability builds an emotional connection that drives investors to take a chance on you. If you don’t show passion and confidence, why would they?
Using a strategic, audience-centric approach, you can create a pitch deck that genuinely resonates with investors and secures the funding you need to take your startup to the next level. The work required will be well worth it.