Essential Pitch Deck Best Practices For Startup Owners

Posted by Ilayda Taze on Mar 29, 2021 08:08: AM
Ilayda Taze

The first step towards settling a new funding round begins with a winning startup pitch deck. It serves as a venture capitalists' barometer for startup success and worthwhile investment opportunities. However, creating a pitch deck that wins investment is no easy task.

A well-crafted slide can make all the difference. Your messages and key points will be more unforgettable if you use the visuals the right way. They can elicit strong emotions in your audience and motivate them to act, allowing you to get to the next meeting with your investors.

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a 10- to 20-slide presentation that gives an overview of your company, business plan, and startup vision. It's a presentation that provides more detail about the company to potential investors.

A complex platform or as simple as a PowerPoint presentation can be used to create a pitch deck. Its most critical aspect is that it must explain your company's mission, where it's heading, and why you need money to make it a success.

Read more about pitch decks here.

Here are the essential pitch deck best practices for your startups.

 

1. Limit the number of your slides

It's easy to cause collective information overload when you use so many slides. Unless it helps your audience grasp your key point, your slide hasn't won its place in the deck.

Most presenters who are inexperienced often make the mistake of trying to say too much. They feel compelled to prove themselves by displaying their expertise to the audience. As a result, an important message is frequently ignored, and valuable question time is frequently wasted.

Although you probably want to include everything on the slides, your audience would be more engaged in what's on them than what you're saying. Instead, use the slides as graphics to accompany the presentation. The best pitch decks often avoid using titles on their slides, favouring utilising a picture, a number, or a phrase to make a point.

When working with a visual medium, consistency should always take precedence over quantity. Ask yourself if a slide is needed and whether it furthers your point in a way that your words alone cannot.

Remember the 10/20/30 rule for a powerful presentation. The perfect number of slides for a presentation is 10, the perfect time spent on it is 20 minutes, and the perfect font size is 30 so that everybody in the room can see what you're talking about. 

2. Don't overload your slides with texts

It is essential that you don't present slides with heavy text. The more text the audience is reading, the less they can listen to what you're saying. 

This is because when your audience reads, they don't hear you. People can't take their eyes off the screen, not until their brains have digested what is on the slide.

When your audience sees much text on a slide, they start reading what is on it. And because they need to comprehend it, their attention will stay on the slide until they've read it all. Your audience's attention will be drawn to the screen, and they will read instead of listening to you.

To prevent this, each slide should only contain one concept. According to Hick's law, the decision time increases logarithmically as the number of options increases, making it more difficult for investors to make a decision. That's not what you're looking for. Make it easy to read and understand (you aim to get a face-to-face meeting or a 1:1 Zoom meeting during lockdown).

3. Be brief

Our attention span has become shorter than ever. We're bombarded with many diverse messages coming at us from different directions, and it is challenging to stay focused. When presenting your pitch deck, be brief. 

You can do this by following the "Rule of Three". An average person can only hold three to four pieces of information at a time on their short term memory. Find ways to chunk up the data into one of three distinct blocks if you want to cover more information. As a result, you'll have a more concentrated presentation that also appears to be shorter.

Also, remove words, phrases, or segments that aren't useful. It should not be said unless it is essential to endorse your presentation's main point(s).

4. Use Visual Aids

A picture is worth a thousand words. Making information visual has become increasingly relevant. Visual aids will help you improve your pitch deck. It will help your audience better understand your topic, clarify points, make an impact, and instill enthusiasm.

Also, attempting to clarify an argument by text or further elaboration runs the risk of making it more complex for others. Using visuals will help you in simply communicating intricate details.

However, don't go overboard with the visuals. Make your points concise and easy to understand. You'll have a greater chance of persuading the viewer if they are more involved and understands what you're doing.

Here are some dos and don'ts in applying visual aids for pitch decks.

  • Tell (and show) the audience what you're going to say. People are more comfortable and engaged when they know what to expect.
  • Keep in mind the "aim" part. Visuals aim to support your points, not to distract from or replace the message.
  • Your visual should be for your audience, not for you. If it's for you, you'll probably need to put in more practice time.
  • Don't hurry through your slides or aids, particularly if they're essential to the progression of your presentation. Slow down and allow the audience to pay more attention to videos, photographs, and physical objects.

5. Study how other startups do it

Your pitch deck's appeal is determined by the story you say about your idea, team, and concept validation. Still, looking for inspiration from previous successful startups is an excellent place to start.

You'll need to do analysis, attend presentations, and listen to experts when it comes to seeking investors and business partners. Find an investor interview and listen to what they want in a startup.

It's also beneficial to view other sample pitch decks. Check a startup pitch to see if there are any flaws and figure out how to fix them in your own presentation.

You can also view great pitch decks below like Facebook,

 

5d24dce6f558e49ce4916bae_Facebook-pitch-deck-slidesImage source


 and Buffer,

5f57e21c07ad62628027f6f7_pitch deck examples4

Image source

And, most importantly, don't be afraid to ask. Don't just look for mistakes or errors. Learning good habits will boost your confidence. 

6. Avoid financial predictions at the pre-launch stage

Investors want to put their money into a company that has the potential to grow significantly and become a profitable venture. If you show forecasts that show you will be worth €1 billion in two years, that will be seen as ambitious, mainly if you are at zero revenues today. 

Avoid making assumptions in your forecasts that would be difficult to justify, such as how you'll increase sales 500% while only increasing operational and marketing costs by 30%.

7. Keep improving your pitch deck

Make sure your pitch deck is up to date. You don't want a cover page with a date on it that is several months old. You also don't want stale or obsolete details or measurements about your organisation in the deck. You can also revamp your slides in terms of more engaging design.

Pay attention to your company's image. Keep an eye out for the perfect text size and colour combination. Concentrate on how you use colour palettes and integrate style improvements into your company pitch deck to make it simpler to grasp and more convincing to your target audiences. However, keep in mind the golden rule of keeping the slides simple.

Summary

A strong investor pitch deck will significantly increase the chances of your startup receiving funding. However, it requires much time, effort, and patience. You must also ensure that the story is convincing and engaging. Take note of these rules and best practices and apply these to your pitch deck and startup. However, if you still have questions, you can schedule an appointment with us today. With TrendScout, you can talk to someone who has excellent experience and insight about the industry you're interested in. Rest assured that someone will get in touch with you and help you every step of the way.