When pitching to investors you will need a pitch deck to support the verbal presentation that you give. The deck should contain minimal information so that the main focus during your pitch is on you and what you are saying. Rather than paragraphs of text, try using bullet points that act as headlines for what you will be talking about in that part of the presentation and expand on these points verbally. This will help investors better follow, understand and remember your pitch.
You don’t want to miss out on opportunities to engage with investors because your overloaded pitch deck is distracting their attention away from you. Your presentation is the best opportunity to sell yourself to your audience, so here are some important points to cover if you want to nail your presentation and pitch deck:
Explain to investors the main problem you are trying to solve, and why a solution to this problem is so important. You should be able to prove this by showing evidence from the research, tests and experiments you have conducted to prove your business model is worth pursuing. Try and focus on just one problem – you want to show investors that you are focused and dedicated to resolving this issue.
Explain to the audience how your product is going to solve this problem. Your solution needs to be clear and concise – this is where many start-ups fail. All too often the explanation of the solution is too complex and long-winded, or it uses industry terminology that the investor doesn’t grasp. Instead, briefly describe what your idea is a sentence and boil it down to its core benefits, focus on the reasons the customer would want to use it – rather than trying to over explain the technology involved.
Where you can, show sketches, prototypes, screenshots or the product itself, to help the audience visualise what you are creating.
Make sure you outline who you are going to be selling your product or service to and give the investors a basic idea of the market size. They want to see that you have found a realistic market that is big enough to sell your product to and make a profit. In this part of your pitch deck, it’s important to have facts to back up your claims.
Prove to investors how much money they are likely to make by sharing your plans for the future along with your 3-year financial projections. If you need some help with this you can talk to an accountant or try it yourself by downloading our 3 Year Financial Projection Template. These figures will give your investors a rough understanding of your expected business growth and potential outcomes. When you consider this, it’s always better to be on the safe side and over-deliver than it is to over-promise and not hit your targets later down the line. That said, the projections need to look attractive enough to make an investor part with their cash. It’s all about getting the right balance between your ambition and what’s possible in reality.
Show evidence of your achievements so far and the progress you have made. Show your investors what you have learnt and how you have improved your start-up and made it stronger. The most successful pitches are those where start-ups show they are progressing well, already earning money and have the potential to make even more money with investment.
A lot of investors buy into the team more than they do the idea. If you have a great team and great board investors are going to pay attention. In the early stages of a start-up, they know that the idea can change, and you may not end up taking to market the concept you started with. However, if you can prove you have a strong, adaptable team with a range of different skill sets they are much more likely to believe that you will make your company a success – and them a return on their investment.