While working late in your office, many of you may have wanted to become your own boss. To start a business of your own. Turning your passion or hobby into a business can be a path-breaking move from your side. But starting a business is not a simple task. First of all, you need some money to start a business. And if you do not have that kind of money with you, the only option is to get some investors. And for that, you need to pitch your business idea.
What is a Business Pitch?
A business pitch is a presentation of a business idea to a group of people who can help make the idea a reality. This can be for any of the following people:
- Potential customers.
- Partners or advocates.
The business need not be a new business. You can pitch your existing business to get more funds and expand your business. In any case, a business pitch becomes a successful one when you manage to grab the interest of the listening party. It is a successful business pitch when you generate the desire in them to learn more about your business.
What is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a brief presentation that gives potential investors or customers an overview of your business plan, the services you provide, your product, etc.
For even experienced people, creating and presenting business pitches can be difficult. In that case, it can be quite intimidating for beginners. However, do not worry. If you know how to structure a good pitch, you will be able to do better.
What to include in a pitch deck?
Keep things short and simple. It may be tempting to tell the investors every possible information about your business and product. However, nobody likes endless info-dumping. Hence, it is always best to keep the presentation shot, which means no more than 19 slides.
It is always arguable what to include in a pitch deck or not, but mostly all the successful pitch decks will have these 10 basic slides.
A good first impression is always a key point. You need to present who you are and what you offer. In simple and short sentences. It may be beneficial to use tag lines as well.
- What Problem are you solving?
Your business is always targeted to solve a problem. You are offering a solution to fix this problem, or a shortage – a gap in society that currently is not filled. Your problem could be related to the current price of the products or services. Or it could be the lack of quality of those products or services. You state the problem clearly in your slide.
You provide a clear and easy solution that you are offering. This should be easy to follow for your investors. Instead of trying to say that you are the only business that is currently addressing the problem, try to come up with several solutions. And then choose one solution among them all. And tell them why you chose that solution. But you should not info-dump on the investors, keep it short and simple.
- Market Size and Opportunity
You need to understand the market that you are stepping into. You will get funding depending on the market you are getting into. If it’s a niche market, the investors would be hesitant to invest. Also, if it is a large market already which has enough similar businesses, then also the investors will think twice before investing. You need to include the main key information about the market in your slide, and what the opportunities are in that market that you are exploring.
Now it is time to show them the actual product or service that you are selling. If it’s a physical product, add professional photos of your product from different angles. Photos will always help in giving investors a visual idea of the product and hence create more intrigue. If your product is a service or an app or tool, including screenshots or images of those, will also be helpful. You can also do a physical demo of your product or service. If it is an app, make the creators use that app. And if it is a small product, for example, some handmade soap, you can hand out the soaps to the investors. A physical product will always create more interest in investors than just hearing about it.
This slide should be about what you have achieved till now. About the growth of your business, the number of sales you have made, etc. Showing a graph of your growth will immensely impress investors. The traction slide is important since they show the investors that your business is profitable. This slide helps the investors to know that the risk factors in investing in your business are low.
This slide will include your team members. The investors will be always interested in knowing your team members. Having an interesting, skilful, and passionate team is a plus point in selling your business.
You may not be the first one who is starting this sort of business. You already have a lot of competitors in the market. In this scenario, you have to have some idea about what is unique about your business. What is it that you are offering that your competitors are not? You should be able to explain that on this slide.
This slide should contain your company’s projected growth over the next three to five years. It should also have details about your business model and finances. This is the most important slide that the investors spend several minutes looking at. Here the key is to use visual aids. Your audience will soon feel bored or lose concentration if you have a lot of text and numbers in your presentation. You need to have visual aids—like charts, graphs, icons, photographs, and diagrams to keep the interest of your audience. This will also help them to quickly and easily grasp the information provided.
- Investments and Funds
Before we end the presentation, don’t forget to tell the investors exactly what you need from them. How much money do you need to expand your business? But here, they also need to know what they are giving the money for. So you have to also include what will you be doing with that money. With this you are creating trust and the investors will be more likely to give you the investment. Also do not quote too high than what you actually need. Your investors will have a basic idea about how much you need. You may lose out on an opportunity for investment if you get greedy and aim too high. So keep it real.
Dos and Don’ts when making the slides
Now that you know what to include in your pitch, let us look at some of the Dos and Don’ts when it comes to making a pitch deck.
- Don’t use too much text in your slides. You need to keep things short and simple. Do not info-dump the investors.
- Do use bullet points on your slide. If you do have text, separate those into bullet points.
- Do include your contact details. They will need to know where to contact you.
- Don’t add too many team members. We already dedicated one slide for your team members. But just include the core members of your team. Too many team members may overwhelm your audience.
- Do have a story. It is always best to have a narrative. Humans retain the maximum information when it is told interestingly, possibly like a story.
- Don’t focus on the stats only. The statistics are important, but they are not the only interesting factor in your presentation.
- Do elaborate and minimise wherever you see fit. You may want to elaborate on a certain point or minimise talking about a certain boring aspect. How you present the presentation is very important.
- Don’t just read from the slides. You will bore the audience if you read from the slides like a robot. Make the presentation interactive and interesting. Never just read out what is already on the slides. Your investors can read it themselves. You talk about things that are not on the slides.
You may find it difficult to make the first pitch deck. But you can always choose a template from the internet, customise it and download it. It is the easiest way to create a pitch deck.
It may be terrifying to prepare and present your first pitch. But having a structure and following these guidelines will tremendously help you to create an impact. As you do it more, you will develop your own style and have more confidence in presenting the pitch. So go ahead and make that business dreams a reality.