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A Pitch Deck - 13 top things yours must include

Having a professional pitch deck is essential whether you’re a dynamic career woman employed by another company or you own your own enterprise, big or small. It is important for:

· Getting potential investors excited and interested in funding your product or service.

· Functioning as a smaller version of a big business plan.

· Acting as a sales pitch.

· Keeping you focussed on where you're going and on achieving your goals for the year.

It gives others a glimpse into the “who, what, where, when, and how” of your business or department.

What is a Pitch Deck?

A pitch deck is a brief, punchy synopsis of your company that includes only the most relevant information – from the problem your potential and target markets face and how you solve this problem for them to your business model, competition, funding needs, and growth plans.

Its goal is to answer all of the main questions about your company or department in a succinct, easy-to-follow presentation that is not overwhelming (in terms of both technical information and lengthy paragraphs).

It is usually a simple presentation of up to about 20 slides or pages with simple graphics and as few words as are necessary to convey the essentials. Your pitch deck helps others to get an insight into your past, present and future; and incites excitement about being part of it moving forward.

Why Do You Need a Pitch Deck?

Your pitch deck is probably going to be the first contact that potential investors and other professionals have with your business, products or services. So, it gives you one important shot at rousing their interest and convincing them that they should spend money on your initiative.

An effective pitch deck can be used for expos, corporate presentations, on your website, in training, and as an introduction that can be emailed to potential investors. So, it has fantastic potential in terms of reach and effectiveness.

Importantly, it tells your story. It’s not just about facts and figures. It works to create a relationship with potential investors, so make it personal.

13 Things Your Pitch Deck MUST Include

To create a professional pitch deck with all of the necessary information and none of the unnecessary fluff, include these important elements in yours:

1. Cover Slide and Introduction

Include your company logo and details, plus a very brief description of who you are and what you offer. This should be done in one sentence or phrase that sparks interest. Some examples of great pitch deck introductions are:

· “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels.” (Airbnb)

· “Social experts that drive traffic.” (Iconics)

· “Today every business is an online business.” (Dribbble)

This needs to be well thought out, true, and clear enough that the basic industry and service are understood.

2. Purpose

What are you basically about? What do you offer and why do others need it? Answer these questions here.

3. Problem

The success of any product or service is in how effectively it solves a specific problem for the user/client. In outlining the problem that you address, make it personal to the reader of your pitch deck. They should either identify that it’s a problem they also face and would like a solution for, or that it is a common problem that they see around them and would like to be part of resolving for customers.

4. Solution

This is your opportunity to explain what you do and how you solve the problem outlined in the previous slide. In so doing, you convince the audience of your value and importance in the market. For example, Airbnb uses this slide to outline that its solution is to provide a “web platform where users can rent out their space to host travellers to save money...make money...and share culture.” This simple, direct solution is easy to understand.

5. Your Product or Service

Here, discuss the basics of what you offer and how your offering solves specific challenges. This could comprise a few simple sentences or attractive infographics. Try to include screenshots or demonstrations to make its value clear.

6. Why Now?

Explain why “right here, right now” is the best time for this product, service or company to exist and how best to make an impact. This may involve adding a bit of context about the external forces that influence your market, their needs, and their spending habits.

7. Market Potential

Show investors that you have a keen understanding of your market and how you plan to target them. Include your market size and, if possible, how that translates into income. Making the benefits and profits quantifiable adds so much value in your ability to convince the audience.

8. Your Competition

Give a brief overview of which companies are your main competition so that it’s clear where you’re positioned in the market. Rank yourself in terms of affordability and resources in comparison to your competition, if possible.

This is your opportunity to tell the audience what makes you different from or better than your competition.

9. Your Team

Whether it’s just you or you have a support team (or department) behind you, this is the place for introductions. Highlight your experience and training; all the things that make your team special.

If you don’t yet have a team in place but intend to create one over time, use this slide to identify the roles in your organisation or department that will need to be filled and the particular skill set required to fulfil those roles effectively for your company to grow.

10. Traction

Here, assure potential investors and others that your company or department is growing and moving forward. So, if you have good customer reviews or any impressive sales figures, include them on this slide. Mention the milestones you’ve met to date and where you plan to go from here as a result. Build confidence.

11. Business Model

Provide insights into and understanding of your company structure, how you plan to create success, and your general financial resources.

12. Current Financial Situation

Rather than a detailed peek into your statements (which investors will eventually want to see), simply focus on showing a current snapshot of your total customers, sales, expenses and profits. Be transparent and be prepared to answer more detailed questions about your financials, if necessary.

13. Funding Needs

Now, ask for the money. Be clear about how much you need, what you will use it for, why any other investors have been prepared to provide funding, and how they will benefit.

Easy Tips for Your Pitch Deck

Once you have these basics in place, your pitch deck is almost ready. To make yours stand out from the rest, here are a few more tips to implement:

· Tell your story in a personal, real way. This helps others to engage with you and feel connected to and invested in your initiative.

· Get to the point. Use as few words as possible to convey a clear thought or point.

· The whole pitch presentation should be heard or read in about five minutes. The rest of the time you have with the audience should be set aside to answer their questions.

· Don’t exaggerate your potential or promise more than you can deliver.

· Have supporting material on hand. This could include detailed financials, catalogues, or prototypes of your products.

· Outline an exit strategy and be prepared to discuss this with investors that want to know.

· Keep your pitch deck current and updated.

· When emailing it, send your pitch deck as a PDF. This will retain your design and layout, and should be a smaller document than the design files of your presentation.

Learn More

WiBA Continuum’s masterclass for creating pitch decks, presented by Andrea Bohmert, was incredibly valuable for business women. Make sure that you are part of future events that add real value by becoming a WiBA member today. There are various membership packages available and each offers an array of resources and benefits to working women around the world. To become a member of this dynamic community of female professionals, click here.

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