It’s a competitive world out there. Competition for investor funds is fierce. There is a lot of talk about how to position your product positively against the competition. But how do you compete with the thousands of startup entrepreneurs looking to grab a chunk of the same funding pool?
One way you can distinguish yourself from the masses is for your pitch to be seen as a formidable contender. Get investors excited. Here’s how to avoid the common pitch deck mistakes.
Here are the top 5 pitch deck mistakes and what to do instead:
1. Mistake: Pitch the Product – Solution: Pitch the Business
Investors don’t invest in ideas. They don’t invest in products. They invest in businesses. Investors invest because they want to get a big fat return on their investment one day. A product doesn’t give them a return. A viable, profitable and sustainable business can. If you have traction, lead with it. There’s nothing better to prove that you have something that a market wants, needs and will buy.
2. Mistake: Verbose – Solution: Be Succinct
Too many pitch decks are verbose. They are confusing and investors check out rather than write a check. From the very beginning provide specific and succinct details about the problem you solve, for whom and why your solution matters above all others. Resist over communicating. Get to the point quickly with your first slide.
3. Mistake: Wordy Slides – Solution: Visuals and Bullet Points
Too many pitch deck slides are packed with what the presenter is going to say. Entrepreneurs can read – and they can read faster than you can speak. Investors expect you to know your material without having to read it. Only put the primary points on the slide, a single critical point will do. Instead of a bunch of words on a slide consider using stunning visuals to make your point. Great visuals communicate a clear message and engage audiences emotionally. And while we’re on the subject of slide presentation, ditch the animations and transitions. They distract from the focus of your pitch.
4. Mistake: Focus on Tech (or Product Features) – Solution: Focus on Distribution
Your pitch deck needs to show that you know exactly what it will take to get, keep and grow customers in a competitive marketplace. This is a critical slide because investors will want a clear picture of how you plan to get your amazing product into the hands of lots of customers. Broad generalizations such as “social media networking” is a tactic, not a strategy. Show that you’ve invested a lot of time and energy in developing an actionable distribution plan and leveraging your unfair advantage.
5. Mistake: One Size Fits All – Solution: Tailored Pitch
Too many pitch decks are cookie cutter template-based presentations presented to all types of audiences including investors, channel sales partners and strategic partners. Know your audience. Tailor your pitch to your specific audience. How does your business fit with the rest of their portfolio? Do your homework, how is it smack in the middle of their investment “sweet spot”. Specifically shape your pitch, your business story, to the audience to which it is presented.
If you want an investor to get serious about your business get serious about your pitch deck. Look at your pitch from an investor’s perspective. Make sure each slide delivers a compelling answer to “What’s in it for me?” and “Why should I care?” The main thing is to focus on the main thing in the minds of your potential investors. Turn your pitch into a story well told.