Tag Archives: Pitch Deck

10 Tips to NOT Fail a Pitch Presentation

10 Tips to NOT Fail a Pitch Presentation from The Startup Garage

10 Tips to NOT Fail a Pitch Presentation

The reason why most people dislike giving presentations (such as your startup pitch), is because they aren’t any good at it!  Thankfully, there are some tips that you can implement fairly quickly to step up your game.

1. Personality

You need to show some energy during your presentation.  Your audience will make a very quick judgment call as to whether they want to listen to this presentation or merely be present while they check their emails on their iPhones.  Your pitch is not a conversation at a cocktail party; use your hands, project your voice, have some movement, add variety to your tone and appear to be excited about your product or service by acting animated.

2. Structure a Story

You should structure your pitch in the form of a story with a beginning, middle and end.  The beginning brings your product to life and excited the audience for the rest of the story to come.  Think, opening action seen of a James Bond movie.  The middle provides the plot and supporting evidence: what is the problem, who are the bad guys and how does the hero solve the problem.  The ending builds on the beginning and middle of the story with a climactic action scene that brings closure to the story and leaves the audience feeling utterly satisfied.

3. Be Memorable

Your investors will likely have seen tens if not hundreds of pitches in their career.  Your goal is not end up as another forgotten entrepreneur whose business plan made it to the trash.  However, keep in mind, your main goal is to show your audience that you are able to make this business a success.  As a result, humor, self-deprecation and unprofessionalism is not the name of the game.  It can be subtle, such as a powerful image in your deck or unique structure to your presentation.

4. Know Your Audience

The more you know about your audience, the more you can use it to your advantage.  If the majority have kids, have advanced degrees or enjoy sports, you can incorporate these pieces of knowledge into your presentation to establish common ground and likability.   You will also want to think hard about your audience’s pain points.  What is that they need you to answer in order to achieve your desired outcome?  What is it that they don’t want to hear that will send them running for the hills?

5. Keep It Simple

Don’t confuse your audience by providing them with every last detail of your product or service.  Give your audience the essentials what you want to convey and why it matters.  Use as few words as possible to still get your message across.  It is OK to use facts and figures in your presentation, but only if these numbers help you to tell your story in a compelling way.

6. Keep Your Pitch Deck Visual

You want your audience’s attention on you.  They are investing in you and not your pitch deck.  The more time they are spent trying to read a spall sentence on your slide, the less time they are focusing on you.  You can provide two version of your presentation: one with a lot of detail that can be left behind as a takeaway or emailed, and one with mostly images and key takeaways that support the message you are delivering at that point in time.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

It is all too apparent when someone has not prepared.  You should know your presentation in and out.  Furthermore, you should be prepared to answer questions that are not provided in your presentation.  In fact, it is a good rule of thumb to have backup slides ready to help you answer questions that you anticipate the audience asking.  Not only will this help you to answer the question, but it will show your commitment and that you came prepared.

8. Stick to the Time Frame

If you have been giving a time frame for your presentation, stick to it.  You can even plan on going under and leaving time for questions.  Your presentation will always go longer than you anticipated, and if you end early, your audience won’t mind a bit.

9. Demo and Remote Control

If you have a demo, have someone else deliver the demo.  The last thing you need is the confusion of operating your demo while trying to remember your talking points.  Additionally, plan on investing in a remote control to change from slide to slide if you do not already own one.

10. Summarize

Before moving on from each slide or each major point that you are trying to make, be sure to summarize the key takeaway.  This not only helps to provide a clear transition and signals the audience that you are moving on, but it helps drive the point across.

If you are not already doing so, start working these 10 tips into your pitch strategy to step up your game.

 

Whether you have a question about Pitch Presentations, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Pitch Deck for Angels and VCs

Pitch Deck for Angels and VCs from The Startup Garage

Pitch Deck for Angels and VCs

The single most important thing that the VC is going to be investing in is YOU!  Your pitch deck presentation is simply a visual tool to help you deliver your message. It is paramount that the audience is solely drawn to you, and that your deck merely contains short bullet points, headlines and images that evoke an emotional connection or act as a summary of your presentation. You will want to develop a separate pitch deck that you will provide as a handout that includes much more information about the pitch. However, during the presentation itself, the deck needs to be bare bones and the information needs to come from you.

Here are some tips to consider as you work through your presentation deck:

  1. The first slide should contain the company logo.  At this point, you’ll provide a brief (1-2 sentence) overview of what the company does , how it does it and why it is important.
  2. Next, introduce the management team and key players.  Explain how their experience and skill-sets align with the company and where it is going.
  3. The very next slide needs to clearly introduce who the market is and what the size of the market is.  First and foremost, you target market needs to be focused.  Second, it is important that you use outside validators to convince the audience that what you are telling them is true.  Outside validators can include successful beta runs, size of companies in the same or a similar space, credible research firms, etc.
  4. Once your audience has an overview of the company and understand who the market is, present the product or service.  A simple image on the slide will do.  It is up to you to explain the product in simple and succinct terminology that does not confuse or patronize the investor.
  5. The next slide is about the business model.  Explain how the company makes money and why this model was chosen if necessary.
  6. Follow the business model slide with an overview of the competition.  Investors want to see who the competitors are, their strengths and weaknesses, how you are positioned among them, and most importantly, how are you special.  Be sure to include outside validators here as well, such as strategic relationships.
  7. Discuss any barriers to entry that exist in the industry and how your company has or will overcome them.  You may also want to mention any barriers that your company has or will put in place to deter any new entrants or copy-cats.
  8. Provide a simple P&L on the next slide and discuss the key financial takeaways in your projections.  Be sure that when you present the upside potential that you are not too low in your assessment but that what you present is believable as well.
  9. Dedicate the following slide(s) to the capital amount that you are requesting, the use of proceeds and lastly, your valuation.
  10. Conclude with your logo on the screen and wrap up the key points made above as quickly as possible.

You want your presentation to be like a rocket, building speed and momentum throughout its trajectory until it reaches its destination and ends with a climactic explosion.  So to your presentation needs to continually build momentum, getting stronger and stronger throughout the presentation and ending on an extremely high note.

David Rose, entrepreneur turned investor, outlines all of this and more in his TED Talk.

 

Whether you have a question about Pitch Deck for Angels and VCs, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

TED Talk on Pitching to VCs from “The Pitch Coach” David S. Rose

TED Talk on Pitching to VCs from “The Pitch Coach” from The Startup Garage

TED Talk on Pitching to VCs from “The Pitch Coach” David S. Rose

As an entrepreneur, David Rose has raised millions for his own companies.  As an investor, he has funded millions more.  According to the “The Pitch Coach,” the single most important thing that the VC is going to be investing is YOU.  “Therefore, the entire purpose of the VC pitch is to convince them that you are the entrepreneur in whom they are going to invest their money and make a lot of money in return.”  In order to accomplish this you need to convey several characteristics that will convince the room that you are this person.  The most important characteristics are integrity, passion, experience, knowledge, skill, leadership, commitment, vision, realism and coachability.

Your pitch deck presentation is simply a visual tool to help you deliver this message.  It is paramount that the audience is solely drawn to you, and that your deck merely contains short bullet points, headlines and images that evoke an emotional connection or act as a summary of your presentation.  You will want to develop a separate pitch deck that you will provide as a handout that includes much more information about the pitch.  However, during the presentation itself, the deck needs to be bare bones and the information needs to come from you.

David Rose outlines all of this in his TED Talk in addition to a compelling description of how your pitch deck presentation should be developed:

  1. The first slide should contain the company logo.  At this point, you’ll provide a brief (1-2 sentence) overview of what the company does , how it does it and why it is important.
  2. Next, introduce the management team and key players.  Explain how their experience and skill-sets align with the company and where it is going.
  3. The very next slide needs to clearly introduce who the market is and what the size of the market is.  First and foremost, you target market needs to be focused.  Second, it is important that you use outside validators to convince the audience that what you are telling them is true.  Outside validators can include successful beta runs, size of companies in the same or a similar space, credible research firms, etc.
  4. Once your audience has an overview of the company and understand who the market is, present the product or service.  A simple image on the slide will do.  It is up to you to explain the product in simple and succinct terminology that does not confuse or patronize the investor.
  5. The next slide is about the business model.  Explain how the company makes money and why this model was chosen if necessary.
  6. Follow the business model slide with an overview of the competition.  Investors want to see who the competitors are, their strengths and weaknesses, how you are positioned among them, and most importantly, how are you special.  Be sure to include outside validators here as well, such as strategic relationships.
  7. Discuss any barriers to entry that exist in the industry and how your company has or will overcome them.  You may also want to mention any barriers that your company has or will put in place to deter any new entrants or copy-cats.
  8. Provide a simple P&L on the next slide and discuss the key financial takeaways in your projections.  Be sure that when you present the upside potential that you are not too low in your assessment but that what you present is believable as well.
  9. Dedicate the following slide(s) to the capital amount that you are requesting, the use of proceeds and lastly, your valuation.
  10. Conclude with your logo on the screen and wrap up the key points made above as quickly as possible.

You want your presentation to be like a rocket, building speed and momentum throughout its trajectory until it reaches its destination and ends with a climactic explosion.  So to your presentation needs to continually build momentum, getting stronger and stronger throughout the presentation and ending on an extremely high note.

 

Whether you have a question about “The Pitch Coach”, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Pay to Pitch? NEVER

Pay to Pitch? NEVER from The Startup Garage

Pay to Pitch? NEVER

Your start-up should never have to pay money to pitch to potential investors. Several “angel groups” will express interest in your start-up only to inform you later that they charge a fee, sometimes up to $5,000.

Some of these wealthy angels argue that these fees act as a filter. First, a potential investor should be able to tell whether they are interested in you and your start-up without you needing to waive money in their face. Second, there are thousands of other investors that don’t require fees to filter their investment opportunities. As an angel investor, it is their job to filter their opportunities and manage their returns.

While it may seem like an extremely difficult uphill battle to source funds, your start-up should never have to empty its own pockets for a measly pitch. Angel investors are wealthy; that’s why they are in a position to invest in the first place. A pitch fee is a nominal amount of money to a true angel investor, yet a large sum to you and your start-up.  If it talks like a scam, smells like a scam and looks like a scam…it’s probably a scam! Even if one of these so called “angel groups” that charges presentation fees actually invests in the companies that pitch to them, there are plenty of other groups and private investors that do not make you take such risk.

Jason Calacanis wrote an excellent post on this topic if you would like to learn more. He also includes a list of angel groups that are under investigation for such practices.

Whether you have a question about Never Paying to Pitch, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

The Executive Summary

The Executive Summary from The Startup Garage

The Executive Summary

While the strong>Executive Summary will be the first thing that people who are reading your business plan will see, it should be the last thing that you write. You are selling your concept to an outsider, possible future investor or a partner, who does not know anything about your business yet. The Executive Summary is an “elevator pitch” to get investors to take a deeper look in your business plan.

Executive Summary should be no more than 1-3 pages long, short enough to keep the attention and long enough to cover the subject. Executive Summary Pascal’s famous words should come to mind: “I apologize that this is so long – I lacked the time to make it short.”

The Executive Summary should include the basic elements from each section of your business plan; essentially, it is a clear summary of your business, marketing, operations and financial plans.

  1. First, summarize your business’ product or service: define the general idea of your product as well as the industry in which you will operate, underline the value of the product that you deliver to the customer (Value Proposition), identify the opportunities for you to deliver this value and explain why you think that you can do it better than your competitors.
  2. Second, summarize marketing: list distinctive features of your product/service, target your potential market, and present your competitive analyses (or competitive landscape). Define your key sales and marketing strategies.
  3. Third, summarize operations: Present your management team with a brief overview of their functions in your business. Note the key relationships that are expected to affect your business.
  4. Lastly, summarize you financials. Present a short outline of your financial projections and requirements. Explain why you will need financial input and how your business will use it.

Remember that your Executive Summary would be the first convincing “pitch” to your future investors. Usually a quick glance may determine whether a potential investor will finance you or whether he/she will not even consider reading the rest of your business plan. Write your Executive Summary in a language and terminology that is easy to understand, persuasive and convincing. You can find more information on how to write a business plan here.

In conclusion, those first pages of your  business plan are critical, so make them count.
Take a look at our Sample Business Plans and Products.

Whether you have a question about ___ or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!