So, you’re starting a business. Congratulations! If you’ve reached a point where you need to secure outside financing, a pitch deck is a succinct and necessary way to communicate your idea to investors. It can also come in handy for pitching to potential partners, co-founders, and customers.
The perfect pitch deck will clearly communicate your solution to your intended audience and will bring them on board, either financially or through another means of support. Here’s how to create a deck that can help you close deals and scale your business.
What to Include in the Perfect Pitch Deck
Some pitch competitions might have 5-slide or 10-slide limits, so you may need to maximize content on each slide without overcrowding it. If the investor or competition has no limit, include this information using more slides to tell your business’s story as clearly as possible. Regardless of slide number, include this information in your deck:
- Title slide (which doesn’t usually count against your limit)
- Value proposition
- Market and competitive analysis
- Business plan
- Key metrics and growth
- Team members and business contact information
How to Build a Pitch Deck
As you build your deck, know your objective. Design each slide to speak to that objective, whether that’s securing a partnership or an investment. If your audience is looking for particular information, be sure to include it as well.
These are some of the most important elements of any successful pitch deck.
Small but fundamental, your title slide can also include a tagline if you have one. This slide should tell investors who you are in language so plain that even a child can understand it. No jargon here.
Clearly state the problem in a way that those outside the industry can understand and show that it affects a plurality of people. Investors want to know that you are solving a real problem that is significant in scope.
Your Value Proposition
Once you’ve convinced investors of the prevalence of the problem, show them that your company is the one to solve it. Your value proposition shows what sets your solution apart. Is it a wholesale solution for the retail industry? Is it better technology? A simpler process? A product created for a niche, untapped market?
Be cautious of using price as your value proposition: competitors, especially large players, can lower their prices temporarily to push you out of the market if you have nothing else that sets your product apart. Be equally wary of the temptation to rely solely your team as your secret sauce. Team members, especially those well-known in the market or community, can help investors trust your ability to get to market or make wise choices. Yet they can’t mask a poor product—your solution should speak for itself.
Market and Competitive Analysis
Your market analysis will detail the total available market (TAM), serviceable available market (SAM), and serviceable obtainable market (SOM), which together tell investors the size of the market and how much you can expect to service. Oftentimes you can combine market information with a competitive analysis, which communicates who else in the field offers a product or service that competes directly or indirectly with yours. Ultimately, this slide needs to show alternate solutions to the problem other than your product and why your solution is still best.
How will you make money? How is your revenue coming in? Subscription? Freemium model? Direct-to-consumer? If you haven’t launched yet, this slide can include a plan to get to market, but you’ll want to show how even the smallest minimum viable product (MVP) has performed in test sales or subscriptions.
Key Metrics and Growth
Use your metrics slide to brag a little! If your numbers show phenomenal growth, emphasize them. If your product has received third-party recognition or praise from respected sources, highlight it. This is also a good place to address what you have financially and what you need to close a gap, inviting investors to come to play a part in your business’s story.
A slide dedicated to highlighting your team members can help convince investors why you are, collectively, the right ones to solve the problem. Depending on the flow of your presentation, this slide can appear at the beginning of the deck or the end.
Like the title slide, this basic information will bookend your deck and tells investors how to get in touch with your company. In addition to direct communication, such as email addresses and phone numbers, include social icons so your activity can help reinforce your brand’s growth story.
Examples of Excellent Pitch Decks
If you’re looking for inspiration from top companies that successfully secured seed capital, start with the following examples.
Succinct and clear, Airbnb’s pitch deck communicates an industry problem in a way that any consumer or investor can understand. The company’s ability to tap into a common pain point and illustrate a unique solution has made this deck a consistent reference point for entrepreneurs since the start of its success.
Social media scheduler Buffer’s pitch deck uses outside sources, such as Mark Zuckerberg and industry-accepted social media predictions, to make a case for its demand—but it also has numbers to back it up. Note how the founders stress numbers, both in terms of their ability to turn around a product and gather an audience quickly and in the company’s ability to capitalize on a freemium model.
Mobility darling Uber spends several slides explaining an industry problem and its solution, but the length works to the company’s advantage by showing the company’s knowledge of pain points and providing detailed solutions. At its heart, after all, Uber is a simple concept, and the numerous problems and solutions referenced in the deck help to speak to the company’s many benefits.
Where to Find a Pitch Competition
There are plenty of pitch events in the Las Vegas area if you know where to look.
- National accelerator TechStars has a Las Vegas presence. Find them at Startup Weekend or follow their events, including pitch nights, throughout the year.
- Incubators, such as coworking space Work in Progress, occasionally host pitch nights in Las Vegas. Follow Work in Progress on social media to learn of upcoming dates.
- Local schools with startup or business clubs can host competitions as well. Pitching might be limited to students, but attending pitch nights can help hone your own pitch.
- Entrepreneurship groups on Meetup.com gather like-minded community members to learn more about starting a business and practice pitching.
Practice, Practice, Practice Your Pitch
The resources above can help you build the perfect pitch deck and connect to competitions, but delivery makes a difference in how you convey your business’s information. Practicing regularly will help you gain confidence and feel comfortable with the order of the deck. That way, when you present in a high-stakes setting, you can focus less on what to say next and more on showing investors why they want to be part of your journey.