Hey fellow founders,
Navigating the tricky waters of the startup ecosystem is no easy feat, and when it’s time to present your vision to investors through a pitch deck, you want to ensure you make the best impression. Over the years, I’ve reviewed numerous pitch decks and, unfortunately, have stumbled upon many common mistakes. Today, I’m going to share some of those with you and help you sidestep them, making sure your pitch deck shines.
1. Starting with Only a Logo Cover
Your opening slide is the first impression. While it’s tempting to showcase your logo, and it’s a source of pride, an investor needs a bit more context.
Easy Solution: Add a tagline or a short explanation that sums up your business. It sets the stage for what’s coming next.
2. A Slide With Just One Question
While asking questions in face-to-face meetings or phone calls can spark curiosity, question slides in emailed decks will only create confusion. Investors are looking for answers, not questions. Instead of creating a slide for a single question, give the entire topic by adding the answer.
3. Using Quirky Titles Like "Unicorn Makers" for Your Team
It’s fun to be creative, but some investors might not resonate with these unconventional titles. You don’t want them to guess who’s in charge of what. Stick to more straightforward titles. If you want to showcase personality, do it in your team’s descriptions or backgrounds.
4. Embedding a Video Demo in Cold Emails
Yes, we’re proud of our demos, but embedding them in cold emails can be problematic. Some email clients block them, or they may end up in spam. Also, VCs will not have time to review these demos. Rather than sending a demo video, explain your product shortly in the pitch deck.
5. Lack of Clear Value Proposition
This is a big one! If investors can’t decipher what you’re offering or why it’s unique within a few seconds, it’s a missed opportunity. Craft a concise value proposition. Think of it as the guiding light of your pitch deck.
6. Aiming at a Massive, Vague Market
"Everyone" is not a target market. While it’s great to have big aspirations, investors want precision. Segment your target market and clarify who your primary users or customers are. Large numbers can make you lose connect with reality, which can make investors think you’re unprofessional. Instead of taking this risk, try making plans in a niche market that are more realistic.
7. Overloading with Technical Jargon and Feature Lists
Remember, not every investor is a techie. Bombarding them with tech-heavy lingo can disconnect them from your story. Solution is easy: Focus on benefits and the problems you’re solving. Features are just a means to an end.
8. Start with Making Presentation and Missing the Story
Data and slides are essential, but what really sticks is a compelling narrative. Investors are not just investing in a product but a vision and a journey. Weave a story around your startup journey, the problem, and how your solution is changing the game.
If you start with making the presentation, you’ll probably lose the story. Rather than focus on presentation file and slide designs, focus your story and speech. Once your story and speech are ready, prepare a presentation to support it. Because that’s what pitch deck is for.
Creating a pitch deck is hard job. Even small mistakes can cause big losses. To fix some mistakes, you need to know what to do. But aside from that, it’s not hard to avoid making many other mistakes.
Even though a perfect pitch deck means different things to different industries, projects, and investors, it is possible to make a pitch deck that works. With these tips, you’ll be one step closer to that.
Your story deserves to be told in the best way possible!