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7 Key Principles To Master The Art of Pitch Decks

There is a secret to raising money! In a word, it’s relationships. Nothing works better than have an authentic, warm and friendly relationship with your potential investor. In fact, every single penny of the $7.5 Million we have raised for companies, has been done this way.

But, whether you are pitching to a lifelong friend, presenting at a pitching event or even to a customer, the ultimate decision will be made based on how precisely you communicate the business opportunity. To do this, you’ll need to create a remarkable Pitch Deck.

A google search for ‘creating a pitch deck’ will give you tons of blog posts sharing what you should include in your pitch deck and how to organize the slides. Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 approach stands out, and this article by Chance Barnett on Forbes is also helpful.

However, there is little addressing the principles you should keep in mind to clearly articulate your business, when creating your deck. With that said, here are the 7 key principles to master the art of creating pitch decks.

BTW – Principle 7 is the most important

Related Post: 4 Reasons Why An Investor Would Not Invest In Your Business


Principle 1: Create one key take away! What will the audience remember? 

It doesn’t matter if you are emailing the deck, pitching to a small room, or presenting to an auditorium, you should always leave your audience with one key takeaway. What is the one thing you want the investor to remember about your business? Hint: maybe it is the customer story?! See Principle 7.

Here’s a simple way to test this. Pitch to a few people who are not already familiar with your business. After the last slide simply ask them, ‘What’s the one thing you remember best from the entire presentation’. If they all say the same thing, BINGO! If not, you might need to revise.


Principle 2: Show your vision within the market opportunity

It’s important to show your potential investor your vision. But, it’s much more potent if you can show how your vision fits within the market space. Demonstrate how messy and confusing the market is right now and how cleaner/clearer the future will be with your solution positioned in the market.


Principle 3: More illustrations/images, less text – Keep it simple!

This one is self-explanatory, a picture says a thousand words. Where you can, use little or no text, use images, graphs and/or illustrations to get the message across. And keep it as simple as you can!


Principle 4: Make it look great! It should be the sexiest deck anyone has ever seen

Investors see 100’s of decks every year and it’s important that they don’t question the design. Ideally it should be the best looking deck they have ever seen. If they think ‘this looks amateur’, you are already at a lost! If you are not naturally gifted in this area then consider finding someone to help you.

Shameless plug – this is a service we offer clients at 500 Designs – wink wink


Principle 5: Tailor for your audience

It’s rarely ‘one-size-fits-all’ when pitching your business. If your potential investor is an expert in a particular area, you might want to show them that you’ve done your homework. Keep the fundamentals the same, know your audience and adapt where you can.


Principle 6: Demonstrate your product in action

No matter what, you should demo of your product. Even a prototype is fine if it gets the message across. This is your chance to show your audience your team’s breakthrough innovation, how it solves your customers very painful problem, and how it does so easily and elegantly. Try to make your demo as interactive and as realistic as you can. The smart presenter would make sure that the demo is perfectly aligned with and comes directly after your customer story. Which leads me to the final and most important point.


Most important
Principle 7: Tell a story about real people 

It’s a fact that people empathize with, and better remember, stories about people. If you do nothing else, you MUST tell your customers story, and it should be in line with how you will make money.

Make it memorable, make it dramatic and ensure it has a nice flow so it’s easy retell. This is key! People don’t share information, they share stories! You want the investor to go home and tell their significant other. You want them to retell it to their friends because the more they hear ‘interesting’, ‘sounds cool’, ‘What the company called again?’, they more you occupy space in their mind.

If you want to know more on how to craft a remarkable customer story, read the book ‘ Contagious: Why Things Catch On’ by Jonah Berger. This animated video review of the book is a great place to start.

Also, J.J Abrams incredible Ted Talk called, The Mystery Box is a must watch!

Here’s a very brief example:

“A great friend of mine from San Francisco, John, and his beautiful French wife, Michelle were dying to go to France for Christmas this year. Christmas is a big deal for Michelle’s family and to make it even more tempting, her sister is expecting her first baby on the 23rd. Desperate to be home for the doubly special occasion, she immediately searches online to book early and get the best price for their trip. It would cost them $2,500, a little outside of their budget that month… The following month, with the money set aside, Michelle went to book the flights. She cried when she saw the price had increase over $3,000! They had to wait another month to book and in the end spent $900 more! That’s a price increase of 36%!!

I am sure you have had a similar experience yourself or know someone this has happened to. (VERY IMPORTANT LINE! – if they nod in agreement, you’ve got them emotionally connected’)

With the new TravTab app, Michelle could have paid a 10% deposit when she found the flights she wanted, booked the flight at its cheapest price and paid the rest in installments over the coming monthssaving here $850 include TravTab’s fees.”

Now, go fort and create an incredible pitch deck! If there is anything we can do to help you, get in touch

by Stephen Brett and Vivienne Piong

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