How to create the perfect pitch deck for your startup

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Written by: Natalia De la Peña Frade
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Successfully presenting a business idea is often quite complicated. If you are clear about the communication strategy to follow and know your strengths, a pitch deck can be your golden ticket to succeeding with the presentation of your project.  

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a sales tool used to communicate about a product or service, either to get an investor interested in your entrepreneurial project or startup, or to make it known in other areas, such as competitions or events.

When saying “pitch deck”, you can be referring to the presentation or document you prepare to send or show to an investor, which must be attractive and contain everything investors are looking for in a pitch deck, that is, all the key information.

How to create a good pitch deck

If you’re going to use a pitch deck as a first step to get the funds needed to carry out your business idea, your goal is to get the investors’ attention and leave them wanting to know more. You will almost certainly not leave the meeting with a check in your pocket, but you need to get a second meeting!

You can get inspired by pitch deck examples from successful companies, such as the one used by AirBnB in 2007 which earned them $600,000. On the title page of their presentation they summarized their business with the phrase “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels” – a concise 7 words. 

The ability to summarize and intrigue is evident. Put yourself in the shoes of the people who heard this phrase for the first time – don’t you think you’d want to know more?

A pitch deck presentation should be brief. In this post about what a pitch deck is, you will find a detailed explanation of the 10 slides that your pitch deck needs. But before you begin, you should know one thing: your business idea doesn’t interest the investor (or anyone). The investor is interested in getting his money back soon – the bigger return on investment (ROI), the better. And any audience at competitions or other events will be interested in the ability that idea has to succeed in the marketplace.

Therefore, before you start creating a pitch deck, you need to be clear that it’s not just talking about your project, but that it does so convincingly. You need to ensure that among all the projects that an investor sees every day, yours is the chosen one.

This means prioritizing certain information. Your idea has to shine, but the ability of that idea to become a successful business has to stand out even more. It’s not enough just to have a great business idea. You also need to be able to present it well, making it interesting, engaging, and promising.

A good practice is to start with a powerful and descriptive statement of your business which will capture your audience’s attention. From there, you will go on to address the information relevant to investors: details about the product or service and the problem it solves, the business model, the monetization strategy, and the team capable of making it all happen. The icing on the cake will be a clear call to action.

Want to see a real example? We’ll share one of Genially’s pitch decks with you.We’re sure it will inspire you!

What should your pitch deck include? Keys to creating one

The most common doubts when creating a pitch deck are how long it should last and what information it should contain. The truth is that there is no exact and universal theory for this. However, a good reference is the brilliant marketing guru, Guy Kawasaki, and his famous theory 10/20/30. According to this theory, a pitch deck should not contain more than 10 slides, should not last longer than 20 minutes, and should not include text less than 30 point size.

We should mention that in the 70s, when Guy Kawasaki developed this theory, Genially did not exist. Otherwise, he would certainly have taken animation and interactivity into account. Today, fortunately, we have more effective resources to draw our audience’s attention than 30 point size text.

There are many online tools for creating pitch decks. If you use Genially, you get a number of important benefits. To get started, you’ll find several free templates designed for this purpose.

Creating your pitch deck using a template will make it much easier because the template already contains the structure you need and a striking design, so you’ve got that part done, and can focus your efforts on gathering the optimal information to convey your idea.

Another advantage of using Genially is that it allows you to add two powerful resources to keep your audience’s attention and create the impact you need: interactivity and animation. With animation you’re sure to get the attention you need. And interactivity can be used, for example, to present information in a staggered manner – so it appears when your listeners are ready.

Check out this pitch deck template for startups. Besides coming with all the slides you need, it’s easy to edit:

Remember, a pitch deck is a history

The structure of this type of content has a lot in common with that of a good story. A good pitch deck has an introduction, discussion, and ending, and must be effective in creating a connection with your audience.

At the beginning of the presentation, you should consider the problem that your idea solves because without conflict, there is no story. Then you should discuss the information your audience is waiting for, moving toward the ending, where everything is resolved and clarified. It must have a happy outcome, leaving your audience feeling good about the presentation and, at the same time, eager to hear more about the subject.

And how is this applied in practice? Genially’s pitch deck templates already come with storytelling elements in each of the slides you can include. Remember that it is not mandatory to include everything. Use only the slides you need to express your idea convincingly.

8 mistakes to avoid

Now that you’re made the effort to gather the best information and turn it into a spectacular presentation, you don’t want to ruin it by making an avoidable mistake.

Luis García, Genially’s CMO, has made a list of some common mistakes to avoid. He has a lot of experience creating and presenting pitch decks. Thanks to his tips, you can learn about and avoid the most common mistakes.

  1. Putting too much text on the slides. Summarize your message, include only the essential words. Otherwise, your audience will be reading instead of listening to you. And you shouldn’t be reading the slides either! It’s much better if you can convey each idea visually.
  2. Including too much information, not knowing how to focus on a clear message. You can’t say everything about your company. It’s crucial that you arrange your information in order of importance and highlight the most important messages.
  3. Assuming people understand all the information. In other words, being so “inside the box” that you’re not able to clearly explain your business because you take for granted that your audience is familiar with certain concepts when they may not be.
  4. Not adjusting the message to the channel or audience. Don’t make the mistake of using the same presentation for all occasions. Your pitch deck cannot have the same structure you would use to present it if you are going to send it by email. And you may need to present your pitch deck to different audiences – presenting it at an entrepreneurial competition isn’t the same as presenting it to a group of investors. Adjust your message to improve the outcome!
  5. Not being transparent and convincing with metrics and explanations when finished. This can destroy a great pitch.
  6. Having a bad ending. Some people end their pitch by saying something such as, “And yeah, that’s it,” which ruins the effect of the entire presentation. Often people flip to the final slide too early, and this also creates a bad effect.
  7. Not including a clear call to action. This is a very common mistake and enough to derail all your efforts. What do you want to get from your audience? Making it clear is the first step in getting it done. Make sure you don’t leave the meeting without a call to action.
  8. Not keeping track of time. It’s also a common mistake to spend too much time on the first few slides and then be forced to skip information or omit important points on later slides. Almost all pitch decks have a set amount of time allowed. Practice as much as necessary until your speech is fluid, complete – and perfectly timed!

Templates for pitch deck presentations

Pitch Deck Presentation

Financial Pitch

Startup Presentation

Startup Color Presentation

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read
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