by Payman Taei, founder of Visme
They say that you can only ever make one first impression, so you’d better work hard to make it a good one.
That, in essence, is what the startup pitch deck is all about.
It’s less an informational document and more a mission statement – an interactive presentation that you use to show investors what you want to do, why you want to do it, what the results are going to be and, most importantly, why they should care in the first place.
When the stakes are this high, a simple presentation isn’t nearly good enough to get the job done. Powerpoint alternatives like Visme are mission critical in terms of not only “wowing” your investors, but laying out your vision for the future in the clearest and most organic way possible. But even a powerful Infographic and presentation tool like Visme won’t be able to help you if your startup pitch deck is lacking in these basic, core elements.
Perhaps the most important element that your startup pitch deck needs is a sense of escalation. You need to begin with an overall impression of your vision, followed by your “elevator pitch” – a no nonsense, bare essentials version of what you’re planning to do and why it is so important.
You can then move onto factors like traction and validation, research you’ve conducted into your market opportunities and more.
The goal here is to lay out information in a way that makes the product or service you’re actually pitching the most logical option possible based on the data you’ve already collected. If you can make this compelling enough, you can make your investors arrive at the solution – your solution – before you even have a chance to get there yourself.
Another one of the core elements that makes up a successful startup pitch deck is a solid narrative flow. Again, go back to the basics of a compelling presentation in the first place and think about the way information is presented. It’s all important, but it can’t just be presented at random and you certainly can’t “rapid fire” data at your potential investors for fear of overwhelming them.
Playing off of your foundation of escalation, you need to lay out your points in a way that allows them to flow logically from one idea to the next. They need to build off of one another, using the power of storytelling to your advantage until you finally make it to your most essential of crescendos.
Identification of the Problem.
This is arguably the most essential element that your startup pitch deck must have to be successful. Remember that one of the major reasons that most startups fail in the first place is because they’re a terrific product or service in search of a market. By identifying the problem that your product or service solves, you therefore go a long way towards proving that you’ve also identified the market opportunity at the same time.
This will be great practice for the marketing work you have ahead of you when trying to reach your target audience. Present your information in a way that allows you to single out why the problem is so bad for so many people and why your unique solution is the only thing that can truly solve it.
A Macro Approach.
Along the same lines, another one of the most important qualities that your startup pitch deck needs to have is a macro approach to everything you’re trying to accomplish.
Remember that investors don’t just want to see what you need money for – they want to know it all. They want a complete breakdown of what your product or service does. They want to be able to see an outline of your revenue model. They want to see how you plan to tackle marketing, along with what your growth strategy is in both the short-term and the long.
An overview of your team will also be essential – who are the people that you’re surrounding yourself with? What are their histories? Why are these the right people for the job? What essential roles in your organization are they going to be playing that nobody else can?
Investors also want to see your current financials – how have you been spending the money you already have and why is NOW the right time to be looking for additional funding? They’ll also want to know as much as possible – which means that YOU need to know as much as possible – about your competition. Who does something similar to what you want to do, and why are you better? Investors are no stranger to competition and the good ones don’t fear risk, they embrace it. But nothing will send up a red flag faster than an incomplete picture (or by association, an incomplete pitch deck).
In the End.
Above all else, investors want to see that you’ve thought everything through – that, in a nutshell, is what your startup pitch deck is all about. Only once you’ve shown that you’ve already done a great deal of due diligence should you hit them with your investment “ask” – meaning, at the end is when you say “and here is the role that I hope you’ll be playing in everything that stems from today.
To that end, your startup pitch deck should be more than just an informational document. It should be more than just a bland list of bullet points that technically present all of the required information, but not in a way that anyone would find compelling. It needs to be an interactive presentation that gets investors excited to play a role in the future of your startup.
Think of all of these core elements like pieces of a puzzle. If you’re missing even one, you really aren’t looking at a puzzle at all. You’re looking at something that could be amazing, but that is incomplete as it stands. If you’re able to master the art of the startup pitch deck, which applications like Visme will play a key role in, you’ll find that a large part of the hard work has already been done for you.
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.