At some point in their lifespan, every entrepreneur will have had to pitch their business idea to a group of investors. Tesla, Facebook, Airbnb and Tinder (to name a few) would not be where they are today without pitching – with a pitch deck not so different from yours I’m sure – in their early stages. We know that putting together and delivering a pitch deck for your business idea is, undoubtedly, a stressful experience. It’s a seemingly impossible task to squeeze in all your hard work and effort into a short 5-minute presentation. BUT, it is essential for entrepreneurs so you can show off your business and raise investment. So check out our top 5 tips for creating the best startup pitch deck, to help you sell your passion and grow your business.
Tip 1 – Showcase your passion
If you’ve gottten to the pitch deck stage of your business idea, you’re evidently passionate about it. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t bother with the effort of putting together a presentation. So, take that passion and inject it into your pitch and pitch deck. When you show passion, you can engage with others to be enthusiastic about the business too and hopefully believe in you! If enthusiasm and passion don’t come naturally to you – which is fine – you’ll have to work twice as hard to get it across to your audience. Presenting and pitching is often a step outside of entrepreneur’s comfort zones, especially when you have to remember to be enthusiastic and passionate. A good technique is to think about adding at least 50% more energy than you feel comfortable with when pitching. However, you do have to ensure you don’t come across as fake. Balance is key!
Tip 2 – Timing is Critical
Pitching your business in five minutes is a seemingly impossible task. Especially when you’re (hopefully) passionate about it. Yes, time management and entrepreneurs don’t always go hand in hand but fear not, it is doable. As with anything, practice makes perfect. Time yourself and stick to the 5-minute timeframe. Time each section of your pitch too, analyse which parts take longest and ask yourself if they can be cut shorter. First impressions and introductions are important, but they shouldn’t last longer than 30 seconds. Outline the market gap and the problem in around 80 seconds. Focus on your solution & your value propositions in around 100 seconds. Keep talk about finance down to 50 seconds; yes it’s important but don’t overdo it. The rest of your time can be allocated between your call to action and wrapping up. It’s a good idea to plan some time to spare, just in case something doesn’t quite go to plan.
Tip 3 – Make It Eye Catching
Apart from your brilliant wit, passion and enthusiasm, one of the best ways of keeping your audience engaged is with a well-designed deck. It’s essential to have visuals within your deck that convey your brand and the information you’re saying. Whether you’re creating a pitch deck that uses infographics, pictures, graphs, icons or flowcharts, the role of visuals is to grab the attention of your audience in a way your voice couldn’t. BUT make sure they are relevant to your points, and not just in the deck for aesthetic purposes. The right image or graphic will undoubtedly stick in the mind of your audience much more than something you have said. Combine the two together, and you’ve got a sure-fire way to get investors engaged & on board.
Tip 4 – Always leave them wanting more
Much like this blog post, which I’m sure you want more of, you should leave your audience wanting to know more, whether they are friends looking to help you out or Angels/VCs/Entrepreneurs looking to seriously invest. The trick is to give just enough information that the investors are interested and want to learn more, and they know you’ll have the answers to any questions they have. Remember, you don’t want to give away so much information during the pitch that they have no questions! But you also don’t want to streamline it so much that they are just left confused by a lack of clarity. Finding a balance is essential! The only way to get it right is to…. PRACTICE.
Tip 5 – Anticipate Questions
If you’ve followed the above advice, and the investors want to know more, they’ll be sure to ask you questions about your business. 5 minutes of pitching may not be enough to fully grasp the pitch for some people. Therefore, entrepreneurs should be prepared for any questions that may come up. Think about if you were in the audience of your pitch, what would you ask? Not every audience is the same, so think about who you’re pitching to and what they will be interested in finding out more about. You mustn’t get caught short at this point, but you won’t, because you’ll be prepared and ready for any question! (Don’t forget, even if you’re networking people will want to ask questions about your business too!)
So there you have it, our top 5 tips for the perfect startup pitch deck for your perusal. Use them wisely! Here at Entrepreneurs Collective, we host monthly pitch competitions for London’s most exciting start-ups in front of a panel of investors. So use our tips, improve your startup pitch deck and get in touch to be a part of the next one!