A Pitch Deck is a piece of marketing collateral used in early stages of a business to gain investor buy-in and eventual funding. It can be either digital or physical and is used to present the company and its products.
If you’re like me, when I first needed to put together a pitch deck for my first startup, your first step was to Google it. And boy, were there a lot of search results! What I’ve found through searching similar phrases is there are many easy answers – templates. “These are the only 10 slides you need” blogs and examples of famous pitches from unicorn companies that obtained large amounts of VC or angel funding. Right?
Many of our clients come to me after trying and failing with template kits. They have initial problem statements like, “my investor wants me to put together a deck that he can show other people.” . Template kits are not a quick fix and they can severely impact the performance and success of your funding round. Although the simplicity is tempting, having a cookie cutter approach to a very unique and personal story only dilutes your message and your brand. We wrote a whole post dedicated to this topic and created a template just because there are so many out there that suck and we keep seeing them: Why Pitch Deck Templates Don’t Work. You can download the template for free. But please don’t, for the love of your company, use it in any final deck.
So – What is a Pitch Deck?
It’s a tool that start-up founders will need to utilize to help raise money for their fledgling business. Venture capitalists and Angels are often some of the first investors outside of friends and family. These professional investors take varied approaches to working with and investing in companies for a piece of the ownership stake in the business. To understand your business and compare it to other opportunities, it is imperative that investors receive a robust, easy to understand, and well crafted pitch.
A good sales presentation of any kind captivates and engages the audience on an emotional and rational level. When you tell the story of your company, engaging your audience and gaining buy-in is the goal. Many template kits are setup to provide boiler plate fill-in-the-blank slide. To give you an example of boiler plate pitch deck samples, check out an example from Guy Kawasaki. He claims these are the only 10 slides you will need: https://guykawasaki.com/the-only-10-slides-you-need-in-your-pitch/
Sounds great, we wish it were so easy!
This approach is too simplistic. It is certainly easier to contain in blog length than more robust approaches and leaves the business under-represented. All businesses can show basic numbers and how awesome they are. It takes a talented business to craft an emotionally engaging message about themselves. Helping your investor cut through the clutter and helping your business stand out from the crowd are both positive outcomes of a successful pitch. This is where getting pitch help through pitch deck design services and/or pitch training can help. It’s important to getting your message right from the beginning. This will give you confidence. You will know you are well armed for maximizing the moments you get in front of would-be investors.
The Best Pitch Decks
Your primary goal in making sales collateral is to support yourself the story-teller (or pitcher) and help take their audience on a journey to understand what you do and how do they fit into this awesome idea. Articulating why your’re in it. What it means to the customer, and how it ultimately makes the world a better place, are key elements of a well crafted presentation. Perhaps, with just that simple explanation, you can see where a 10 slides fits all or templated approach might not work as well.
So why do they call it a pitch deck?
Let’s break it down “pitch” and “deck”. “Pitch” is a common term used in sales that refers to the act of selling something. Making a pitch, pitching an idea, all are ways of conveying information in the hopes that the audience will buy-in. With pitch decks, you are trying to get your potential investors to buy-in to your idea, and essentially buy a piece of your company with the expectation that their investment will reap rewards down the road. And “deck” this is usually the part that leaves people a little confused.
“Deck” is a remnant from the past where presentations were printed and handed out to everyone at the meeting instead of the digital presentation options we have today. And it doesn’t have to apply just to funding phase activities. Plenty of our clients start out with our pitch and logo design services prior to funding. Then, post-funding they engage us to help with sales collateral. A pitch is a pitch after all.
Pitch Deck Fire was borne out of a clear need to bring quality storytelling and rich visual design to the market. Our services are geared to help startup founders through their funding journey. Please reach out to us at [email protected] if you have any questions or comments about the above article or how we might help you navigate the funding waters.