Great Ideas come too often, yet selling them successfully is the toughest cookie to crack. And this has happened time and again with entrepreneurs who go to great lengths to show how a new business plan or a creative concept is practical and high margin—only to be shot-down by decision-makers who don’t truly understand the real value of the Idea. Similarly, Venture capitalists and business angels together provide more than $50 billion in funding to more than 75,000 U.S. businesses every year. However, hundreds of thousands more entrepreneurs seek hundreds of billions of dollars in capital annually without success.
One quick solution that entrepreneurs use is to search the internet for templates based on winning Pitch decks.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
Simply copy-paste the template, edit your data on it and you are on your way to the next Billion Dollar Startup.
- On Average, most companies would need to pitch to 40 Investors in over a period of 12 weeks to close a round.
- And not surprisingly, most investors spent around 3 Minutes and 44 Seconds on average looking at the pitch decks
Researchers have been trying to understand the many factors that undoubtedly affect the probability of an entrepreneur obtaining financing for a new venture. One important, but the under-investigated factor is the entrepreneur’s “pitch” to investors. Pitches play a role in almost all efforts to raise money, and, in many cases, are an entry point for investors. Moreover, the role of the pitch appears to be growing as the venture finance market changes. Pitches matter more for companies that enter business accelerators seeking money through equity crowdfunding portals, and that raise money from angel groups than those that pursue venture capital.
Most entrepreneurs believe that the success in closing the rounds lies in two primary factors of their pitch: Information and the business logic, usually encapsulated in a presentation deck. That’s why VCs prefer to go through the pitch deck (within those 3 Minutes and 44 Seconds) prior to actually meeting the Startup’s Team. Now here’s the kicker, what most pitchers do not realize is that by sending a great pitch deck forward, the investor already has had a pretty good understanding of what the business idea is and only if they like the Idea, are then the pitchers invited for a meeting. This means that the great deck that you spent days or even months finalizing, has already been read. With that, the initial charm of a well-designed Pitch deck would already be over and you would then need to rely solely on your presentation and public speaking skills to make your way through the barrage of questions from the Investor.
To break this cycle, it is suggested to have 2 versions of the Pitch deck. The initial “Trailer” Version of the pitch deck has to be visually engaging yet crisp and concise enough to wrap up quickly. At the same time, it has to be designed well enough to tell your story cohesively. Once you are asked for an in-person discussion, this is where the “Full Version” Deck is utilized for a detailed discussion of the business model and its needs.
And there is a perfectly good reason for it. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly telling your story — You have to be ready to pitch anyplace, anywhere, anytime and to anyone. This is not just about pitching to investors. Investor pitches represent a very small percentage of how many times you’ll tell your story — you need to tell your story to almost everyone you come across — Family, Friends, Employees, Stakeholders, Influencers, Media, Customers, and Partners, etc. Many times, the entrepreneurs fail to understand the different audience types and hence fail in arousing curiosity and interest in the listener. Often, this is because we don’t tell a story — there is no setup and the listener is never drawn in. Instead, as a pitcher, we tend to dive right in and talk at them rather than motivating them to engage in the conversation.
That’s why it is critical that the full-version Pitch Decks have to be engaging yet only be a tool to help you take the discussion forward and not take over the pitch completely. Text-heavy decks loaded with poorly designed slides or badly written ideas take away from the pitch and leave a negative impact. On the other hand, a well-designed deck with its Animations, Videos, Imagery, and Infographics, will not only help you be the star of the pitch but also ensure that you have the unwavering attention of the investors all throughout the presentation.
Great pitch decks take a lot of effort to conceptualize and design. It can take months to design a deck that conveys a cohesive message from the very first slide till the end. Hence, it is always suggested to let the task be handled by specific employees within the company who can design an awesome pitch deck and if none are available to serve the purpose, then you may also consult a team of experts. Either way, it’s best advised that the Deck is designed by skilled professionals who speak the language of Business and Finance, understand designing, Storytelling & Content and can also help write your story so that when the final deck is created, it is not only cohesive, it becomes a complete movie where you are the Star.
In the end, it all comes down to the type of audience with whom you are discussing your business plans and how much time you have available.
One size does not fit all here.
You need to customize your pitch according to the Audience and that starts with your pitch deck. The Trailer styled shorter pitch deck should only be used for Elevator Pitches, Introduction of the product or business Idea, general conversations, Media or PR events etc. or as mentioned above, can be emailed for initial review of business strategy. The larger all-inclusive Pitch deck has to be used where clearly you have a scope of an extended discussion such as fundraising Rounds’ discussions, stakeholder meetings, and Sales presentations etc.
Whether you are a startup or an entrepreneur looking to raise money, or a sales executive looking to win new business, your pitch deck is your biggest weapon. It is the most important tool that can make or break a deal.
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