When it comes to creating a company pitch deck it can be daunting. We often try to think about what information we want to tell the people who will be on the receiving end.
But the reality is we need to be thinking more about what they want to know and what will be important to them.
Each company pitch deck may be different. You will probably find you have a range of slides that will always stay the same but it’s a good idea to try and customise it for each of the clients you are sending it to (where possible of course).
According to Richard D Harroch while writing for Forbes.com: “The pitch deck typically consists of 15-20 slides in a PowerPoint presentation and is intended to showcase the company’s products, technology, and team to the investors.”
Rachel Doherty, a business consultant and strategist at Inspired Business Solutions said it’s important for a pitch deck to “show an insight into the people behind your company, and your company story – how did you get to where you are today, where do you want to go, why do you do what you do, what makes you different or better?”
Creating your business story is vital, knowing and being able to articulate your why and your purpose will be one of the most important things you will do when connecting with potential clients and partners.
Conveying your mission and values will help you build a picture of the type of company you are – what you stand for, your ethics and morals and give those on the receiving end a chance to relate to you over and above your ability to solve a problem or present them with a great business opportunity.
Rachel feels that having two versions of your pitch deck is important and can add a different dimension to how your pitch goes.
“Have two versions of your pitch – the one you present, and the one you save as a PDF and send as a follow up with a thank you email. The one you present is more visual heavy and the one you send can have some more text/information” she said, adding: “Include hyperlinks to relevant sections of your website in the PDF version – great for giving you the opportunity to send a follow-up/thank you email to continue the conversation, and the PDF version can (and often will) be sent on to other members in the target’s team.”
Richard in his article A Guide To Investor Pitch Decks For Start Up Fundraising every pitch deck should contain the following statement at the bottom right of every slide: “Confidential and Proprietary. Copyright (c) by [Name of Company]. All Rights Reserved.”
He also advises: “Don’t use a lot of jargon or acronyms that the investor may not immediately understand” and “Don’t underestimate or belittle the competition”.
More top tips for getting your company pitch deck right:
- Use text wisely
Rachel said: “Don’t use too much text, and don’t read from the text when delivering the pitch. Create your slides in the natural way you would tell the story of your company so it isn’t difficult for you to remember, that way you need less text on the slides and you won’t feel like you have to remember a script.”
- Nerves are normal
The first few goes will always make you feel nervous, it’s a terrible cliche but it’s true, practice makes perfect, so when given the opportunity to pitch, present, etc. make sure you say yes every time.
- Do Your Research
This is so important and should apply to everything you do. Research who it is you are pitching to and if they are likely to relate to your product. Research your competition, research your target market and how you are going to reach them. If you’ve done your research, you should know your company inside out.
If you know who you are pitching to, look for a way to include their logo on your title slide, and look at their website for ways you can relate your offering to them directly.
- Look the part
Not only do you need to look the part but so does your pitch deck.
If your PowerPoint or Google Slides and graphic design skills aren’t up to scratch, invest in getting someone to make these for you. The investment will be minimal and worth it.
Most programmes also have the option to export the presentation as a video – great for trade shows, reception areas, etc.
Make sure you create slides that are visually appealing – use brand colours, imagery, etc. Update it frequently with new content.
- What is your vision and company background?
This is an ideal way to begin your pitch. Let your investors know your vision for the future and the ethos of your company. This can really help an investor get a feel for your company and feel inspired to invest.
You can add personal touches like introducing members of your team and letting the investors know their backgrounds and what they bring to the project.
Show that you know your market, you’ve done your market research and know your competition.
This enables you to tell your investors what your unique selling point is. What is it that makes your service different from others on the market? What makes you stand out from the crowd?
- Keep it simple
Try to keep your pitch deck succinct and to the point when presenting your pitch, it’s important that you tell the story of your company but do try to stay on topic. You should not take any longer than twenty minutes to complete your presentation.
- Include your finances and use of investment
An investor wants to be assured that you know your business finances like the back of your hand.
Show them where their investment is going and the advances it will bring to your brand. Complete transparency and a solid financial plan can put investors at ease and reassure them that they will see a return on their investment.
- Include a Demo
If you have a tangible product that you can let investors see and demo themselves then do so. If you offer a service and this can be demonstrated easily it should.
However, if you cannot possibly demonstrate your service (just say you operate hot air balloons) try to bring other evidence of the experience you offer such as video or photos and include customer testimonials so the investors can really get a feel for your product.
- Prepare to be Questioned
If you can anticipate any questions the investors may want to ask, you can try to stay one step ahead of the game. Why not try pitching to friends and family and get them to ask as many questions as they can think of. Jot down all possible questions and answers so there are as few surprises as possible on the day of your pitch.
And some more quick fire tips:
Consider the structure of what you’re going to be doin. Make sure you plan it out in advance and always have a start, middle and an end.
- Show your work in action
You want to let the people you are pitching to know what you can do, try to have some examples and/or case studies to hand or in your head that you can sprinkle throughout the pitch.
- Personality is important
Read your audience, if appropriate inject a little humour or personality into your pitch, if it goes down well run with it, if it doesn’t go back to being uber professional.
- Be careful of being too snazzy
Don’t go too heavy on the animations and transitions – they often come off as amateur looking.
- What do you want?
Always, always be clear on what you want from the people on the receiving end of the pitch – end with a call to action or an opportunity to open the floor up to a discussion.
Tips for delivering your company pitch deck:
- Know your tools
Since you will be most likely making your pitch virtually make sure you are familiar with the platform you are using. There’s nothing worse than a technical glitch right in the middle of a presentation or conference call, especially when you don’t know how to fix it. There are plenty of free online tutorials available so make sure you understand the program or software you are using and, of course, you have a strong internet connection if you are streaming.
- Rehearse Your Pitch
Following on from point one, not only do you need to know your software, but you also need to know your material. Rehearse your pitch to as many people as possible and try to get as much feedback as you possibly can. Was everything as clear as it could be? Do your numbers add up? Ask your Guinea pigs as many questions as possible to iron out any creases you may have.
- Understand what your client or investor wants
This may sound straightforward enough but it really is an art form. The client wants to know that you are trustworthy, that there is a rapport going and first impressions count so try to be cool and collected and nurture your future business relationship. Writing for The Guardian Chris Smith says “…it’s not just about winning new business but keeping it. After all, new business is just the start of a new relationship…”
- Watch the time
If you plan your presentation or proposal well and run through it a few times you should have a good idea of how long it will take to get through it but remember the client is going to want to ask you some questions so don’t forget to allocate some time for this as well.
- Develop a thick skin
As with anything when you put yourself out there, there is always the possibility for rejection. If you’re old hat you probably understand that rejection is not always personal but if this is your first rodeo it can sometimes sting. Any successful author will tell you how many rejection letters they received before their successes came to them. If you are confident in your idea or product keep pushing it what one person rejects another may covet so don’t give up.
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