Even if you have the best product, service or business idea in the world, if your pitch deck is not up to scratch, you’ll struggle to convince people it is worth their time of day. Connecting with people is an acquired skill and you can make things a lot easier by using the right tools. As a business owner or salesperson, your pitch deck is one of the most important pieces of your armoury, and here we explain what you need to do to overcome the typical challenges you’ll face.
What is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a brief presentation that gives potential clients, investors or partners an insight into your business, service or product. It is ideally used in face-to-face environments and should contain no more than 10-20 slides, giving just enough detail to deliver your message without overloading the listener with too much information. PowerPoint, Keynote and Prezi are the programmes most used to present a pitch deck.
Creating a pitch deck that succinctly delivers your message poses several challenges. It’s something that requires a fair bit of practice to master and unless enough time and care is put into it, the chances of engaging your audience are much smaller.
Some of the common mistakes made in pitch decks include:
Not explaining the problem solved by your business
It’s easy to get caught in the long grass explaining how your product or service works, rather than focussing on the problem it is intended to resolve. This is known as the ‘problem slide’ and should feature early on in the deck.
Too many slides
Including too much information in a pitch deck can be overwhelming and off-putting for the buyer. It will also affect the design as you’ll have to use a smaller font to squeeze everything in, which makes it harder to read and absorb.
Low quality imagery
You don’t want to over explain with too many words on the deck, which means you’ll have to rely heavily on provocative imagery. Using standard, low-res images will only serve to bore the audience and quickly lose their attention.
Bad technical set-ups
Pitching without using the right equipment can quickly affect the quality of your presentation. Basics such as battery chargers and HDMI/USB leads that are needed to support the pitch should be checked before you arrive onsite. Equipment can go wrong at any time and relying on the bare minimum to get by is never a good sign.
How to improve your pitch deck
If some of the issues above sound familiar, the good news is they can be addressed and resolved. Whether you choose to tackle them yourself, or outsource to a professional presentation design company, with a little planning and reorganisation you can design the perfect pitch deck to impress and win over any audience you stand in front of.
While there is room for variation, every pitch deck should include the same core set of slides. Using the structure below will ensure you develop a consistent flow from one slide to the next, building a story around your brand to support your pitch, helping you achieve your goals:
Include key facts about your business, the problem your solution solves and any important, relevant experience you have to date.
Tell people your business vision. This is your ultimate aim as a business and serves as an elevator pitch of sorts.
Investors will want to know about your team, so include information about key members, their titles, experience and relevant expertise.
Here, you explain the problem, its importance, why you want to solve it and your target customer base.
You can now propose the solution to the problem posed in the previous slide, linking it with the product content that will feature in the next slide.
Explain what makes your product or service unique, including key features, how it can help customers and if any additional features will be added later on.
Excite investors by telling them about the potential market opportunity and define how you will address it and where you aim to be within it.
If you already have some customers, this can be a powerful addition to the deck. Include the most high-profile company logos of any existing customers to make an impression.
Investors will want to know who your competitors are and what sort of advantages you have over them.
Let your audience know more about your pricing model and how your business makes money.
Every product or service needs a strong marketing plan to succeed in such a competitive marketplace and you can explain your plans and ideas here.
Give an overview of the company’s current financial status, future projections (without over projecting), revenue, losses and other relevant information.
Here you set up how much you are asking for from investors, how long the funds would last, while providing more detail about existing investors and how the money will be spent.
These are the basics that should be covered in most decks and combined with a strong pitch it should mean the presentation goes to plan.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to putting together a strong pitch deck. Keep things simple and concentrate on the essentials and you stand a much better chance of keeping people engaged. The pitch deck should build a story around your company that compels your audience to not only invest in your product or service but also you and your team.