Probably the thing I get asked to do most often by founders is to review their pitch decks and give candid feedback. With this post, I want to share the comments I frequently give on this subject. I am going to start with a simple concept. If your business is still early stage, you should only use 10-12 slides for your deck. I see far too many entrepreneurs sending around 20+ page presentations when the company barely has a live product in market or any customers. If it takes you 20 pages to explain your business at this stage, then you are trying to do way too much. Cut the deck to the basics, make your points quicker, and investors will respect you for it.
Next, I want to talk about the look and feel of a pitch deck. Remember that you are using this presentation to ask people for money. Investors want to know that you can make something that looks great, or at least good. If you just put bullets into a simple colorless PowerPoint, how can we trust you to build a beautiful product or be effective at pitching corporate customers or partners? Find a pretty template on the internet somewhere. Or pay $100 and have someone on Fiverr or Freelancer make your deck look good. Use color, pictures, graphics, something. Trust me, it’s important and worth the minimal investment needed to do it right.
Regarding the content, Keep It Simple Stupid definitely applies here. You need to cover the problem you are attacking, your solution and team, and the size of the opportunity. You should also have slides on whatever traction or accomplishments you have to date, the competition, and the business roadmap. And make sure to close the deck out with your ask and contact info. You should easily be able to do all of this and stay under my maximum recommended size of 12 slides.
Here is a sample table of contents, one slide only for each topic:
- Opportunity/Market Size
- Business Model
- Financial Projection
- The Ask
- Closing with Contact Info