After seeing hundreds of formal presentation decks and hearing thousands of elevator pitches, some patterns emerge. Here is my recommended formula for how to put together an 8-10 minute pitch deck & speech for investors. Full template here, summary below:
- Company – Describe your venture in a tweet/sentence | describe what kind of skill set you bring to a job in a tweet/sentence. Some tips on condensing your value proposition into a tweet.
- Credibility – Talk is cheap, SHOW us you are someone with more than just an idea / someone we should continue listening to. If you have no credibility yet (very common!), skip this section. Remember to show, don’t tell.
- Customer Segment(s) – Give us a quick feeling for who your target market is and that they have enough money to make your venture worthwhile. Better yet, tell use about a sample customer.
- Pains – What is the pain (for your target market) you are solving? How to articulate your pains. Some tips on making sure your pains & gains match.
- Benefits – What benefits can you deliver to the target market that alleviates their pain? Note: features are not benefits :).
- Competitive Advantages – How are you positioned better than the competition? Remember the positioning triangle.
- Channel/Promotion – How are you going to find and get your customers cost effectively?
- Market size – How many dollars have your problem (video tips on market section)?
- Rev. Model / Key financial drivers – How do you make money? Can you make enough? Don’t show a spreadsheet! Video w/ tips on financials & exit
- Exit – How do investors get their money back out plus a lot of profit for them? For instance: can you show us a screen full of logos representing companies like you that have been purchased for a lot of money? video w/ tips on financials & exit
- Team – If possible, intersperse this content throughout the rest of presentation. If that is tricky, make a dedicated team section. Remember to show, don’t tell how your team has the skills needed to help your kind of company succeed. What skills / people are you missing?
- Next Steps / Ask – ALWAYS end a pitch with some kind of ask. It can be explicit or implicit, but it must always be there. A great way to do it implicitly is to show the audience what your next step is. Get more detailed help on how to make a great Ask here. If you are asking for money, remember “Don’t tell us how much money you’ll burn.”
Some other great tips:
- When you make your slides you want a “dead seagull” on every slide!
- Don’t put more than one number to a slide, it confuses people.
- Use relative values instead of absolute, industry-specific ones.
- Turn “We added 1,000 customers over the past year” into… “Our customer base has doubled in the past year”
- Turn “20 customers in the 1st month” into… “We acquired as many customers in our first month as our competitors had after two years.”
- Turn “We spend $1.24 on materials” into… “Our gross margins are 75%.”
- Anticipate the questions your audience will ask and have extra slides at the end of your presentation that you can pull up during Q&A if the question comes up.
Hat Tip: This content expands on the work I did while working at the awesome www.valleyventurementors.org.