The Perfect Pitch – How to Avoid Those Painful Pitfalls (Part II)

“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” –  Old proverb from the mid-1500s.

In Part I of this blog, we covered some general pitch deck guidelines as well as some helpful presentation hints. As noted there, I cannot emphasize sufficiently the importance of the substance of your content as the critical element of a perfect pitch. So, I have taken the liberty of assuming you have content covered and you are not trying to use these guidelines to invoke the old proverb noted above.

So, you now have the content and some ideas on how to present it, but what you are missing is a framework. How do you organize these thoughts to present a coherent picture?  This suggested “deck” is one I have used successfully for many years. I have updated it when something new comes along (like embedded videos) but the core has remained tried and true. Without further ado, the 15 slides are:

  1. Company name, location, logo and website.
  2. Overview what you plan to present – a contents page.
  3. What is your product / service and why do we need it? – What pain does it relieve; what usefulness does it add?
  4. What is your business model and what are your summarized projected financial results? – freemium, subscription, SaaS, licensing, advertising. Be realistic as to the eventual number of users and price per use, for example.
  5. Market – realistic assessment of the size of the segment you are going after
  6. Customers – who are they and how will you “go to market?” – make sure it ties into #4; address one shot transactions versus stickiness.
  7. Competitive advantage – what differentiates you?  A grid showing key product components versus a competitor’s are helpful – this is a make or break slide for many.
  8. Barriers to entry – IP, processes, unique features, etc. that will help keep others out.
  9. Current state as to product status (beta?), current usage / revenue (key point), people (current mgt., employees, advisors) and funding (friends and family, angels, etc.) A brief embedded video is a real plus here.
  10. Near term (build team, develop mobile app, test market) and longer term (number of users, other key points to measure success) milestones.
  11. Current and proposed management and key advisors including relevant past experience.
  12. Financial overview for next three years with some key assumptions – and be prepared to defend them.
  13. What you are looking for in terms of investment and how you will use the money?
  14. Summary of what was presented.
  15. Next steps with full contact information for one or two key management members.

So, there you have it. The two parts of this blog should be sufficient to get you on your way and help you avoid the painful pitfalls of so many others who have sacrificed to give you the opportunity to succeed. We do learn from our mistakes. Good luck !

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