Many leaders have to present or “pitch” their ideas and plans for the future, with or without a “deck” to do so, and in these cases should always prepare well to do so. However, pitching for Investment has its own special “shape” and needs its own preparation steps. In this brief article we therefore want to focus on what is involved in making an investment presentation as good as it can possibly be.
When internal managers or entrepreneurs are pitching for investment, they may not have done very much of this in the past. It is therefore understandable that the individual can get very “hung up” on the deck that is best built and delivered (and hope they can at least copy a great one that seems to have worked well for somebody else). Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect Pitch Deck or even one that can be broadly emulated, as each situation is different and each audience will have slightly or significantly different needs that should be taken into account. However, what we can ensure is that we cover the key areas that an investment audience would expect to be covered in the deck and below we’ll therefore describe 10 of these that are widely seen to be critical.
It is worth remembering that the main purpose of a pitch deck is to assist the presenter in telling a story in a well-ordered and organized way that is readily understandable to the audience of investors. What this deck should therefore do, in as succinct a way as possible is to do the following. It should:
- Articulate what the business does at a simple level.
- Explain the problem or pain it deals with in the market or for customers.
- Describe the product or service in brief (and why it is new/different/disruptive)
- Describe why the business leaders (and founders in particular) know how to alleviate the pain and can execute well on their plan (including why they have special knowledge or expertise to do this versus others)
- Confirm that the size of the market is big enough (and that they can attain a credible share of it in a reasonable timeframe)
- Educate the audience that their competitors in the target market (direct and indirect) are well understood
- Properly communicate the business model for making money (often called the value proposition) which will often include the intended price and margin
- Demonstrate that the investment is wise financially and that a good return on the risks being taken are justified.
- Describe how the total investment sought will be used.
- Ultimately tell the audience what you want them to do next (whether it is to find out more, go to a web site, watch a video, contact you etc.).
Put simply then, the presenter pitching to an investment audience is selling a story with a strong vision of what the future will look like that his or her audience can “buy into”. As one pitch expert once suggested, make sure the deck covers “why this, why us and why now?”
Ultimately then, an Investment Pitch Deck is like making a short and easy to follow movie with a beginning middle and end that will educate your listening audience on each of the above 10 points in a logical and well-ordered way. Once this is done, it will all come down to the presenter’s ability to describe the story or “sell” his or her vision of the future, and then execute well on it once he or she has the investment that is being sought.
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