An Insider’s Guide to 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Designing a Great Pitch Deck.
What if you could take everything about your “world—changing” Startup and churn it down to a few words, images and videos — to create as many Wows — that you could show to people who would help you in the journey of taking your venture to the next level...
We’ve worked extensively on pitch decks for many organizations, helping them raise funding from seed capital to large VC Rounds. One thing found to be common in most situations is that designing a well-structured pitch deck is difficult for everyone, be it a seasoned professional or a new startup. Most Investor Pitches last a few minutes and one only has a small amount of time to grab the attention of an investor to keep them engaged. It’s a lot like speed dating where you get a time slot of minutes to showcase everything about yourself, make sure the other party enjoys your company and eventually likes you. Add to that the fact that on a daily basis, most investors get to see a lot of pitch decks which are similar in thought, and Design. So, how do you make yours stand out? This is where a great pitch deck can help you achieve all this and more with ease.
It’s natural to search for pitch decks online of other startups that have done well and wonder “How did they manage to do that?”. Part of the reason for the success is a well-designed Pitch Deck.
Most Pitch Decks outline similar details: There’s a Problem, You offer a solution, there is already a competition — what are they up to, actual figures, your team, market scenario, your vision and the overall story. So if every pitch deck feels the same, how do you stand-out with your pitch deck? That depends on the way the Information is showcased.
Enter: The Pitch Deck Design.
Before you Start:
Know that Venture Capitalists, Accelerators, and Angel Investors have high expectations and have specific questions which they want to see answered in the Pitch Deck. Investors generally like to see and understand:
- What is the problem that your business is trying to solve?
- What skills do you and your Team have to address this problem?
- What’s your go-to-market strategy?
- What’s the Market Size of the business?
- Who are you competing with?
- How do you make money?
- Where do you stand now?
- What will you do with the funds?
This is why it is utmost important to create a pitch deck that clearly states the answers and eliminates any doubts for the Investors.
Most VCs, Incubators or accelerators have their own preferred slide order. It’s always better if you could get hold of their templates and customize your deck to theirs for a better synchronization. Remember a deck is a guiding path, the Audience is the follower but you are the Guide. In the end, it all boil downs to how you take them through that Journey. Here’s how you can
Here’s a commonly used slide deck order that addresses the questions listed above:
Investors get pitched daily. And almost daily they see clones of decks that have similar outlines and share similar data points and naturally within the first few slides they lose interest and attention. This obviously diminishes any chances of getting a funding. To avoid this, we have listed down a few pointers that you can utilize to create your own Epic Pitch Deck that has the power to take your business to the next level.
The Do’s and Don’ts of designing an epic Pitch Deck:
- Keep your deck up to date: keeping the deck updated with the latest information, numbers, and statistics is very important. Never make the mistake of presenting an Out-of-Date deck to potential investors.
- Keep a consistent look in the presentation: Usage of the same font, size and standard capitalization across the slides. Once done, save the file as a PDF for easy sharing.
- Images are fine, Videos say a lot more: Gone are the days of using cliched animations and transitions. Use Videos, Infographics, animations, and Images to help you share your story more effectively.
- Do make sure the design flows: You need to make sure that the design of the Pitch Deck is fluid and it complements the company’s brand identity. The design should help you narrate your story better and not be a hindrance in the presentation.
- Do make yourself the focus of your pitch: A well-designed pitch deck not only helps in grabbing the attention of the investors, it aids you in giving a better presentation. Keep the focus on yourself, don’t read the text, explain it, don’t load the page with bullet points, rather keep a few and then explain a lot.
- Limit your deck’s slides: Limit the slides to about 10 slides. Any longer and you risk losing the attention or would end up skipping slides. Both of which reflect poorly on your preparation for the presentation.
- Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to a pitch Deck: different Audience, Different Versions is what we say. Always have 2 versions ready. Smaller Version for quick viewing and discussion, like an elevator pitch etc. the bigger version is to be utilized when you have at least 20 whole minutes to discuss the presentation in details
- Don’t use text where an Image can do: A Pitch Deck should be best left to designers. So if you have employees who have design sense, delegate the task to them. Else consult design professionals who can streamline the deck the for you.
- Don’t use small fonts: Guy Kawasaki laid down the rule perfectly: — Don’t use small size Text as it would be unreadable on a presentation from far.
- Don’t copy paste the decks of famous startups: You are unique, your startup has a unique story. What worked for them may not work for you. Rather, use a template and start afresh. And show your story in your own way.
- Don’t use any copyright material. Beware of using data points or text that is copyright, although usually may not be checked, however, plagiarism is a serious offense and if caught, will reflect poorly on you.
- Last but not the least, don’t use a poor layout, bad graphics, or a low-quality “look and feel.”
To get the best results: think about hiring a professional team to give your pitch desk a more professional look.
While it holds true that the investment from a Venture Capitalist or an Investor rests on how well you communicate your idea and vision. At the same time, a good pitch deck helps you tell your story in a clear and simple way. If you manage to get this bit right, it can help you secure your future and the future of your idea and the startup. Get it wrong and the investment opportunity will fly out the door faster than you can blink.
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