For a new business, a pitch deck is vitally important to convince a person or a group to invest in your business. It’s also beneficial to the founders as well. Why, you ask? It’s simple.
A pitch plan will: Help you and your team understand your business. Identify problems you haven’t realized yet. Provide a way to break down finances, sales, processes, and process development. Make sure you and your partners are on the same page.
Professionalism is key to making your pitch to investors and for how you represent your business. To paint a clearer picture of what a pitch deck looks like, we’ll occasionally use ShingleHanger as an example.
1. Introduce the company
What is ShingleHanger?
ShingleHanger™ is an online platform and mobile app that provides aspiring small business owners and side hustlers business tools to manage clients, organize appointments, send invoices, and help build a brand.
What is ShingleHanger’s mission?
To remove barriers to entrepreneurship for everyone.
Who are ShingleHanger’s customers?
Any one ages 16 and older with a business, or ready to start one.
Why do people need ShingleHanger?
There’s a growing population of people who need help turning their passions or hobbies into a successful business. ShingleHanger is especially helpful to those with full time jobs, and little time left in a day to manage their business.
2. Name the team
Include biographies, photos of co-founders, mentors, and partners. Does a team member have prior experience with start-ups? Other business successes? Be detailed about everyone involved to show experience and to shine a positive light on your team (see ShingleHanger’s About Us).
3. Detail how your product is a solution to a problem
Explain the problem and the solution.
Again, we’ll use ShingleHanger as an example:
There are basic tools required to start a new business. Entrepreneurs need affordable access to these tools, but most in the market are unaffordable for someone with a new business. ShingleHanger offers a low-cost, all-in-one online business management platform (soon to be mobile, Fall 2021).
ShingleHanger’s platform offers appointment scheduling, a website, an invoice generator, and tracking of business progress, as well as a growing ecosystem of partner businesses to help with other aspects of building a successful business. All are necessary elements of helping getting new and established businesses onto solid ground.
4. Identify your target market/audience
You must learn as much as possible about the people who you expect to buy your product. Ask questions like: How big is the audience? Where are they located? What are the demographics: age, gender, family size, income, personality, interests, values, attitudes and lifestyle? Can an entire industry use the service?
Do you have competition? If so, what do you offer that’s different and sets you apart?
6. Business Model
Describe your business model: how it’s built, how it operates, and how it will generate revenue. Investors want to know that they’ll make a return on their investment, and need to see that a return is possible.
What traction have you built already? Do you have survey responses from actual users or any organic traffic?
8. Marketing Plan
How will you get your business in front of the market? Show your plan in stages (personal networks, social media groups, SEO, paid marketing campaigns, direct marketing, ads, etc).
Show how much money is needed to operate. Do you have prior funding? If so, include it. Any investment from founders? Upcoming expenditures? As your business grows, the budget needs will change. Be sure to always stick to your budget!
10. Exit Strategy
What’s in it for investors? Do you plan to sell the business? Take it to the stock market? How soon can investors get a return?
11. Contact Information
Provide an email or phone number where people can reach you.
The Actual Document
When designing your pitch deck, use a PowerPoint or Google Presentation, no longer than 15 slides. It should look professional and not too busy (flashing screens, disappearing words, fades, etc). If that means hiring a graphic artist to create it, consider it. Someone once said, “It’s your first chance to make a lasting impression!” Use uplifting colors, illustrations, charts, and graphics, but avoid putting too much information on each slide. Leave a lot of white space. People want to hear you talk about the product, not read about it. When you’re done, convert your power point into a PDF file, and then pitch it to a friend. Pitch to several friends to become very familiar with your deck.
At the bottom of each page, be sure to put the following: “Confidential and Proprietary. Copyright (c) by [Name of Company]. All Rights Reserved.” This will protect your idea and avoid anyone stealing your idea. Before you even show this to your audience, consider having them sign a confidentiality agreement. Your ideas are valuable.
Now you’re organized and have all your information in one place. Take a deep breath and GO.