You know your business could be the next big thing. But that means nothing if you can’t convince an investor of that. Pitch decks are presentations which you can show to a potential investor which sum up your business model, as well as its growth plans. This article will tell you how to make yours stand out from the crowd.
How to make it stand out…for the wrong reasons
All the usual rules for graphic design apply. If you use Comic Sans in a font colour that clashes with the equally horrible background colour you’ve chosen, investors are going to go running for the hills. Similarly, having those weird effects in Powerpoint where the word “money” comes zooming in and glitters isn’t cute. No one wants to work with someone who acts like Word Art is the most exciting development since sliced bread.
If you’re currently finding yourself stepping back from your neon monstrosity of a pitch deck in despair, calm down. Here’s a quick summary of what’s bad in a pitch deck:
- Unprofessional design. It’s not just about content. Your presentation needs to be polished. Bad design can be any of the things we’ve just covered – basically, it looks ugly, rushed or designed by a 5 year old who’s just discovered MS Paint.
- Not enough information, or unclear information – it can be easy to get tunnel vision. You know your concept inside out, but to someone who doesn’t, listening to your slide is like trying to see out of your elbow.
- Too much information! All your slides are covered in 8 pt, so no one can read it. If they can, it’s all too much to take in because you’re talking through it at 200mph in a desperate attempt to cover it all in your allotted 15 minutes. Cluttered slides are about as effective as keying the investor’s car.
A pitch deck is likely to be your first impression to an important investor. So it’s worth investing in! You wouldn’t be lazy with your website or logo, so don’t fall at the last hurdle.
Standing out for the right reasons
So what’s the right way to go about making a pitch deck? First of all, here’s what you need to have:
- Clear communication of growth strategy
- Effective branding
- Great presentation
A well-designed presentation helps to communicate growth strategy and brand effectively. As for communicating your core messages, less is likely to be more:
- Simplify. 4 bullet points communicating your business strategy in easy terms is far better than 6 slides drowning in text. Even the most complex ideas can be simplified. Take the time to figure out your narrative. Talk it through with a friend who doesn’t know the business. If they don’t understand, simplify again.
- Graphs and charts – as long as they’re easy to understand without extensive explanation – are a great way of communicating strategy.
- Use relevant and relatable images – sometimes a picture really is a thousand words. Clip art has no place in your pitch deck.
- Minimalist design – bold colour and design choices can be exciting and innovative, but only if they’re done properly. If you know nothing at all about design, stick to something simple and timeless. For instance, blue is always popular in pitch decks.
Can you really do it yourself?
You might think you’re saving yourself money, but if you lose out on a £500,000 investment, you’ll probably regret not spending the money to get your deck done professionally. If you take the DIY route, make sure you’ve got the time to do it properly and the design expertise to do it well. Remember, it’s also often easier for a third party to figure out the core messages because they’re not so immersed in the business, and this can be an advantage.
If you can’t stop writing your pitch decks in Comic Sans (or you’d rather have the security of a professional design) it’s definitely worth hiring a graphic designer. They know the tricks of the trade and will make your pitch deck look convincing. And if you want to be a success, that’s what it needs to be.