If you are at the point in your entrepreneurial journey where you have to seek funding from investors, then you should be ready to make loads of presentations before different audiences. Some entrepreneurs have to give hundreds of presentation before they get an investor, while some give only a few before getting an investor that wants to plough in funds into their business.
Typically, it gets easier as you go on because then you know from past presentations, the likely questions investors may ask, and what information they want to get from your presentation before they decide to invest or not.
If you are still at the beginning of the journey, let’s make it easier for you. Here are some elements which should always be present in your pitch deck, irrespective of the investor you are pitching to.
Have a one sentence punchline
This will typically be in your opening slide. While your pitch deck has been projected, and the audience is waiting for you to walk in and start your presentation, this is what they will be looking at.
So what does your first slide say? Does it get them curious? Does it give them an idea what industry your business may be operating? Does it give an idea what pain your potential customers are going through?
In addition to your logo, and whatever else you choose to put on your first slide, do make sure you have a punchline statement or question that can trigger interest in what you have to say.
Sell the problem
Your business is out to solve a problem for the market, but if you will convince anyone that you have a solution, you first have to convince them that the PROBLEM is a PROBLEM. This is what we mean by selling the problem. If the audience do not understand why the problem is an actual problem, they would be less interested in what the solution is.
Break down the problem to what any audience would understand, including a 5-year old. You may need to use a story to illustrate it, to really communicate it to the audience. There is no point using industry specific jargons that would leave your investors lost. You are not trying to wow your audience with your vocabulary. What you want is for them to see that a problem exists that you want to solve.
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This is where you say how you are solving the problem, and how it is unique to you. If you have successfully sold the problem to the audience, then half of your work is done. When they understand the problem and how much of a pain it is to the audience, they can follow your explanation about your solution.
It is also important that you show how this solution is unique to you. It would not be much of a business if you are doing the same thing everyone out there is doing, would it?
Market size/market opportunity/growth rate
It is okay to establish that there exists a real problem, and you have a fantastic solution to it. The next step is to show just how many people have this problem, or will have it in the near future. Your fantastic solution will be of no use, if you cannot show that a large number of people need it. This is what we refer to as market size.
Will the number of people who need your solutions increase in the coming years? Or will it reduce? Is there a real market opportunity or is it just in your mind.
Now, this is where you have to show your numbers. Know your competitors and check them out. Let your potential investors see the numbers to back your projections. Remember to show the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for your market as well.
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This is where you show proof of execution. What have you and your team been able to execute, and how do your results show momentum? Don’t be discouraged if you have not made any sales yet. There are other ways you can demonstrate traction. You can show what you and your team have executed in product development, in strategy building etc.
Business model/financial model
How do you make money? Don’t leave this out of your deck, or wait until your investors ask “how does this translate into money?” You should be able to show how your solution translates into some form of revenue, no matter how little. This will be a key justification to anyone seeking to plough funds into your business/
Do you have the right set of people to solve the problem? You have stated the problem and the solution, but do you have the team to execute it? If anyone is going to pull this off, is it this team? Is it the team you have already, or do you have plans to bring in some more persons with the required skillset?
One more thing. Don’t forget to ASK. What exactly do you want the investors to bring on board? Is it a certain skill or expertise? Do you require just financial investments? Or you want them to bring their network and connections to bear in your business.
Your pitch deck should focus on visuals, while your presentation can give the stories to go with it. Don’t make the mistake of crowding your deck with too many stories and explanations. Just make it visually stimulating.