When starting a small business, you may have an excellent idea for offering goods or services, but you need the capital to get your idea off the ground and running. An excellent example of this is the TV show “Shark Tank”. On the show, people pitch their business ideas to wealthy investors and try to gain their monetary support and expertise in certain industries, like marketing and media. While most aspiring business start-ups on the show use demonstrations and small play-like acts to showcase their service or product, in the real world, a pitch deck presentation is the most common approach.
What Exactly is a Pitch Deck Presentation?
Pitch deck presentations are not only used to gain support from investors, but they can also be used to pitch an idea to your team or board members for a new process, use of technology, or other aspect of improving business operations. They can also be used to bring on new employees and help train them in the business history and processes, and in sales tactics to pitch your product or service to potential customers. A pitch deck presentation is typically made using Microsoft PowerPoint and showcased to an audience using a projector. If a projector is not available, a laptop can suffice.
How to Write the Best Pitch Decks at A Glance
Great Graphic Design
You may have heard that we eat with our eyes first and then our taste buds. When you’re hungry and want something to eat, you’ll choose a meal that looks tasty before you’ll go for something that looks gross. Some of the best written pitch decks can completely fail to capture and hold the audience’s attention if the slides are lacking in visual appeal and stimulus. Most start-up small business owners are not graphic designers, but don’t worry, there are plenty of templates online featuring some of the best modern graphic designs. These templates come ready with pre-chosen color schemes, heading and body fonts, slide and text transition themes, and other visual icons and images that will make your presentation more interesting and professional looking. With a solid graphic base, all you’ll need to do is place your text and media, and to practice how your written pitch deck presentation will be verbalized.
How to Write the Individual Pitch Deck Slide
It’s easy for beginners to completely bomb writing pitch decks, even when they think they are doing the best job. When writing the content for individual slides, the most common mistake made is to put all of the information you plan to verbally speak during that slide onto it. During the actual presentation, the presenter ends up staring at the slide and reading it in a monotone voice that completely loses the audience. No one wants to stare at a bunch of jam-packed information you are reading directly to them.
Each slide should only contain the best points you intend to make. The use of bullet points can easily be used to list these tidbits of information. Short and to-the-point bullet points are easy to read for the viewer and gives them a summary of what you plan to explain to them verbally. The occasional image or icon can be used intermittently on slides to give viewers a better visual representation. Some slides may even consist wholly of short video clips or infographics that demonstrate your point. Remember not to go overboard with too much text or imagery on any single slide.
Performing the Best Presentation of Pitch Decks
Perfecting how to write the best pitch deck is easily conquered by many, but learning how to physically present your pitch deck involves the dreaded skill of public speaking. For some people, public speaking comes easily and they excel at it. For others, nerves can get the best of them and they stumble on words, turn red, speak under their breath, and end up receiving a total lack of interest from the audience. If this sounds like you, don’t despair! Like with anything, practice makes perfect.
Since your pitch deck slides won’t contain everything you need to say aloud, you will need to practice your presentation many times to become familiar with what you plan to say. PowerPoint also has an option for you, the presenter, to add notes that will only be seen by you during a slide show. While you shouldn’t depend on these, they can be helpful in a pinch. While presenting to investors is a serious subject, try to work in a little bit of light-hearted humor if possible. Get in the mindset of Billy Mays, the famous TV salesperson who backed every product he endorsed with his full vigor. Believe in your business and use your enthusiasm to help convince others to support it, too. If you find that your pitch is still lacking, bring in a presentation partner who can help add interest and take the heat off you in times of need.
How to Best Structure the Information You Write for a Pitch Deck
While the visual appearance and verbal presentation of pitch decks is important, your best chance of gaining investors also involves having the correct information they want to see. A simple formula for any successful pitch deck should follow these points:
- Get the investors’ attention. Find a way to intrigue your audience and get them enthused to learn more. For example, you could tell a personal story that first inspired you to offer your goods or services.
- Pose a problem. A great idea for a good or service will usually solve a societal problem. Describe what it is that needs improvement.
- Describe the market need. Who is the target consumer for this problem? What is the potential reach? What share of the market will want/need an answer to the problem? Include data and market research specifics.
- State the solution. The main part of your presentation should address the solution to the problem, your good or service. This is where you convince the investors that your idea is needed and will gain the proper attention from the market.
- Pitch the support you are asking for. The last section is where you state what support you need to get your business proposal up and running towards success. Afterwards, you can answer any questions the audience has to satisfy their concerns.
The best pitch decks are well thought out, looked over for errors and given constructive criticism by several people, and practiced until you know the presentation like the back of your hand. Having confidence in yourself and your business is also a key factor when convincing investors of a great idea. With plenty of research and planning, you too can create a winning pitch deck presentation. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying and looking for areas to make improvements. Swing at every pitch and you’re bound to make the connection sooner or later.