Have a great business idea? Ready to start pitching to investors? Just realized that your pitch deck looks like crap? We at TSG, have spent endless hours talking to investors and if there is one thing we know for sure, they are tired of seeing good business ideas with terrible pitch decks! Investors sift through hundreds of pitch decks a year and in order to stand out against the noise, your pitch deck needs to be on point. It’s a lot of pressure, but in order to lighten the load, we came up with a short list of the top mistakes we see entrepreneurs make.
1. They Focus On the Wrong Elements
Think about your business as if you are an investor. What would you want to know if you were going to put money into a company? Investors care about 5 major elements: the vision and market opportunity, your team’s ability to turn the idea into a profitable business, the go to market strategy, your numbers and what you are asking for. Often times, an entrepreneur will spend too much time describing their product or service rather than focusing on the business opportunity.
Identify what drives each investor- do they want to be part of a groundbreaking company? Do they want to make money and exit fast? Target what drives them! If you don’t know, it is always safe to assume that they are in it for the business, so emphasize the market opportunity. It’s helpful to actually look at your deck from the point of view of an investor – “Ok, you’re starting a sustainable yoga line. Got it. Why should I care? How would it make me money?” If you focus on the opportunity, you’ll have a better shot at keeping the investors’ interest.
2. They Don’t Understand The Difference Between A Presentation And A Stand Alone Deck
If you have a pitch deck that you’ve been sending out to potential investors and clients, you may
now have the opportunity to give an in-person presentation. If you have this opportunity, do not
make the common mistake of thinking your stand alone pitch deck will do the job. Odds are, your stand alone deck is word heavy and very distracting for an in person presentation. It explains certain graphs and other necessary points and ideas. Remember: the only reason the text is there is because you are not there to explain it.
In your presentation deck, do not have more than five words per slide if possible. People cannot read and listen at the same time, so be sure to keep your slides visual. This gives you an opportunity to point out elements of your pitch deck, and explain them in your own voice. Furthermore, less words means you’ll be less likely to read from the slide verbatim. Which is good, because nothing will put a room to sleep faster than a presenter reading a slide word-for-word. So, keep in mind, if you can’t be there to explain something, use the stand alone deck. However, if you have the opportunity to explain it in your own voice, go with the presentation deck.
3.They Use Too Many Slides
If your deck has more than 15 slides, you’re at risk of losing people’s attention. The art of creating pitch decks is shaving fat and finely tuning your message. If you are meeting with an investor and your deck is not focused and concise you will waste your meeting time getting through it rather than getting down to business. Keep your design simple. Say only what needs to be said in the most direct way possible. Less is more, so be sure to go over each element on each slide, and ask yourself, is this absolutely necessary?
Apply this mentality to the design of your pitch deck- investors are humans too, and humans eat with their eyes! Keep your design simple and symmetrical. Don’t try to tackle this on your own if you are not a designer, either hire an expert or ask your college roommate who went to design school for help. Don’t use too many words on your presentation deck, utilize the power of photographs, icons and charts to drive home your message.
Need additional support on your pitch deck process as you enter the new year?
The Startup Garage, Tech Coast Angels, and DeskHub San Diego have come together to bring you a “No More Crappy Pitch Decks” workshop on January 18th, 2017. Join us for a night of collaboration, content and design to generate a pitch deck that will speak to investors. Click Here for details and to register.