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What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a visual presentation that you make in preparation for meeting with an investor. It is a chance to summarize your business and your team, and to show the investor why they should invest in your business.

The pitch deck is your opportunity to highlight the problem that your business solves, the market opportunity you have identified, your unique advantage, the traction you have achieved, and the scalability of your business.

How to create a pitch deck

You can make your pitch deck yourself using PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or Google Slides. Or you can use a professional service like Slidebean or Prezi to build the pitch deck for you.

If you decide to make your pitch deck yourself, start by identifying the key messages you want to communicate. Create a one-page outline of your pitch deck, and be sure to include the following elements:
  • Problem : Explain the problem you are trying to solve for your customers.
  • Market : Explain why your solution should be compelling for your customers.
  • Team : Explain why your team is uniquely qualified to solve the problem and grow the business.
  • Revenue : Explain how you plan to generate revenue.
  • Market opportunity : Explain why you are confident that you have a large market opportunity.
  • Unique advantage : Explain why your business has a unique advantage over competitors.
  • Traction : Explain the ways you have validated your assumptions and business model.

Traction is a critical element of your pitch deck. If you are not able to demonstrate real traction, investors will have a hard time believing that you will be able to achieve the revenue you expect in the future. For example, if you are a startup looking for funding, you might have a hard time convincing an investor to give you $500,000 if you only have a handful of paying customers. In this case, it would be helpful to include in your pitch deck a list of your customers, a list of your sales pipeline, or a list of any other indicators of traction you have achieved. If you are not able to demonstrate real traction yet, it's okay to say that you will achieve traction in the future. Just make sure you explain the steps you are taking to get there.

How to pitch your business

If you are doing a formal pitch in front of an investor, there are certain components that you should include in your presentation: A thirty-second elevator pitch
  • A two-minute summary of your business
  • A two-minute summary of your traction and unique advantage
  • A two-minute summary of your business model
  • A two-minute overview of the milestones you plan to achieve in the next 12 months
  • At least three slides of your financial projections.

If you are doing a formal pitch, practice your pitch out loud. Try to get your pitch down to approximately two minutes. If you talk too fast, you run the risk of sounding like you are reading from a script. If you talk too slow, you run the risk of losing the investor's interest.

Tip: The most powerful slide in a pitch deck is the one that shows the traction that you have already achieved. The previous slides prepare the investor for the traction slide. If you show the traction slide first, you risk losing the investor's interest.

Tip: Do not just include your financial projections. Explain how the milestones that you are achieving will eventually lead to the achievement of your long-term goals.

Tip: Create a video of your slide deck and practice it out loud until you can get it down to two minutes. Record yourself and ask a friend to critique your pitch. Most people do not give themselves enough time to finish their pitch. The reason is simple. It takes practice to develop a pitch that is clear and concise.

Tip: Practice your pitch in front of a mirror. When you look in the mirror and see your facial expressions, gestures, and eye movements, you will be able to see where you are losing the audience.

Tip: Briefly mention your unique advantage. But make sure you spend the majority of your time on your traction and milestones.