Raising capital as a growing business can be a daunting task. How will you find and get meetings with the right investors? What will you say to make them interested in working with you? One key tool to overcoming this challenge is creating an investor pitch deck that covers all the details investors want to see in the most digestible way possible.
How to create a solid investor pitch deck
When creating a pitch deck, it’s important to remember that the deck isn’t meant to stand on its own—it’s a visual aid to your presentation. That means each slide must visually present what you’re explaining. Keep any text clear and concise, and don’t go too far into the weeds because investors most likely won’t read every single word.
How long should my pitch deck be?
Your pitch deck should be short enough to engage your audience while also being comprehensive. Set yourself an upper limit of 20 slides, because it’s highly unlikely you’ll need longer than that to make your case.
What should my investor pitch deck address?
- What problem does your business solve? This needs to be your main focus. If your product or service doesn’t solve a problem, investors won’t see it as worthy of their capital. Define the problem so your audience can understand it.
- How will you solve that problem? Problems require solutions. This is your company’s purpose. Create some graphics that show how your company solves the problem.
- Can you demonstrate that your product/service works? Investors want proof that your solution works. Provide data you’ve collected as evidence that your product or service functions the way you say it does.
- Who’s your target market? Some businesses cater to a general audience, others a niche segment. Describe your target audience to investors so they can assess the impact your product or service might have.
- What’s the current condition of your market? Good ideas can falter in poor market conditions. Show your investors domain research you’ve conducted on your competitors and industry.
- How are you positioning yourself in that market? You don’t want to jump into a saturated market, and investors will want to see how you differentiate yourself from competitors. Make clear how your offering is unique.
- Is your business viable? Show your potential investors that you’re financially solvent and your business is profitable. Explain how you’ll use an infusion of new business funding to grow and scale your operations. Reassure them that you’re a reliable investment.
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8 tips to make the most of your investor pitch
1. Find the right fit
As an established business, it’s important you find the right partner for your company, not just any business funding that’s available. When choosing investors to pitch to, look at their area of expertise and record of investing in similar companies. This can tell you if they’ll be receptive to your mission and vision.
2. Talk to the right people at the right time
Schedule meetings with potential investors when they’re actually open to making a deal. You can leave a bad impression when you insist on meeting before they’re ready to invest, and you may not get the funding you need.
3. Tell an engaging story
Investors hear dozens of pitches every week. Your pitch deck and finances might look just like someone else’s they’ve already seen, but what distinguishes you is your story. Why did you first get into this line of work? What keeps you going? Why are you passionate about this round of fundraising?
4. Show, don’t tell
A picture is worth a thousand words. While your pitch deck is a visual aid to your presentation, it must also tell your story on its own. Investors will remember memorable images and charts from your pitch clearer than they’ll remember anything you just tell them.
5. Be clear about financial needs
Be confident and certain when asking for money, and don’t assume that the amount you’re asking for is too high. Clearly state your financial needs to your audience and explain why their investment in you will be profitable. If you do this, most investors will give you what you need.
6. Leave time for questions
Always save time at the end of your pitch for any questions investors may have. Maintain a list of questions investors ask you so that you can address them in your next pitch. If you don’t have a concrete answer to a question, admit that you don’t know—making something up on the spot will make you seem unprepared and unconfident.
7. Tailor your pitch
The main narrative of your investor pitch should remain intact, but adjust your approach to each audience the way you would for a targeted marketing campaign. Research the investors you’re pitching to and consider shuffling around slides or tailoring slide content for different audiences.
8. Practice, practice, practice
Rehearse as much as you can in front of your team or a mentor. Then, consider every meeting with investors as a chance to further strengthen your presentation. Keep pitching—while refining your pitch—until you get the results you want.
More ways to get business funding
Pitching independent investors and venture capital firms isn’t the only way to raise capital for your business. For example, a business line of credit could be better for a business looking to buy seasonal inventory. A business loan, provided the terms and conditions are reasonable, could provide funds for equipment purchases.
The source of these funds matters less than what you do with them. Investors don’t need to be repaid if you offer them company shares, but you’ll need to increase revenue to make their investment worthwhile. Loans and credit lines need to be repaid, so it’s important to assess whether you have the means to do so. Address these questions before you get the funding to make sure you’re taking the right next step for your business.