Nailing your pitch to an investor can mean the difference between fast upward growth and the pain of slow bootstrapping. With good cause, most teams slave over their presentation, trying to iron out every wrinkle and perfect every word in hopes of creating a rehearsed slideshow that is as shiny and attractive as possible. Often times, the result is a bloated, unnecessarily long presentation that either over sells a product or completely misses some of the most important components of an effective pitch.
Below, we outline the perfect investor slide show using just 10 short slides. You will learn the right information to include and the order in which you should present it. Keep in mind that for every slide, you should be trying to keep words at a minimum. Since you will be presenting this to the investor live, keep everything to an outline and save the wordy explanations for your verbal presentation.
Slide 1: General Outline
Every investor slideshow should kick off with an outline of your proposed product. This overview should be as direct and concise as possible; no longer than a few sentences. Essentially, it should be a printing of your elevator pitch. Your slide show will have plenty of time to sell the idea with specifics, so keep this slide to the essentials.
Slide 2: Key Issue
Next, you will need to address the problem your product aims to solve. Be sure to explain why the problem exists, why it causes pain for the potential consumer, and why no one has solved it like your team will. If you have any special insight or industry connections that give you an exclusive edge on the problem, state it on this slide.
Slide 3: Market Demographics
As a natural continuation of the conversation you just started around the value and utility of your product, it logically follows to demonstrate exactly “who” is having this particular problem. In other words, who are your customers and how many are there? Are they a large generalized group, or a small particular niche of consumers? Be sure to touch upon how you arrived at these estimates.
Slide 4: Your Marketing Plan
Finally, you’ll need to explain how you plan to reach your target audience and inform them of your product. This slide should contain both your inbound and outbound marketing plans. In fact, it makes sense to divide the slide thusly:
Inbound Marketing Strategies:
- Google Adwords campaign
- Aggressive content marketing for SEO
- Free weekly insider’s mailing list
- etc, etc.
Outbound Marketing Strategies:
- Ads placed in XYZ magazine
- Radio spots on 10 XM stations
- Sponsorship of local events
- etc, etc.
Again, just cover the basic outline on the slides, as you’ll be explaining the details of each as you give the presentation.
Slide 5: Core Executive Team
Now that you have sufficiently hooked the investor by validating your product’s potential worth, it’s time to introduce yourselves. This is your chance to prove why your team has the special sauce to get the job done! Name each founding member and state their role at the company. Be sure to include any relevant awards, special experience, or other accolades you have recieved as individuals, as well as any successes you have accomplished as a group in the past.
Slide 6: Current Development Stage
Many investors prefer to put money behind products that already have forward momentum. That is to say that if you’ve already began production on the project and have a prototype or working model to demonstrate, dedicate this slide to showing it off. If the product is software, use screenshots of the application in action. If it is a physical product, use photographs and perhaps even bring the physical item in to demonstrate it in person alongside the slide.
Slide 7: Revenue Model
While it might seem obvious, it bears repeating that most investors want to see a viable revenue model in place before putting their resources behind a project. Especially in today’s digital age, many new founders mistakingly feel that a good idea will fly on its own regardless of its ability to generate revenue.
Don’t be like them. You need to make the pitch seem like an attractive proposition that the investors would be fools to turn away. The best way to do this is by clearly stating how the product will generate enough revenue to make the investment worth it. Try to specifically state your pricing model, and/or other creative ways to monetize the project.
Slide 8: Finances and Projections
After discussing how your product will make money, it’s a good idea to go over the financials for your current business year. You should disclose any current investments (including the money your team has already put into the product), your working capital, and your recurring expenses.
Go deep here, as investors prefer to work with founders who have a firm grasp on the financials of their company. Try to provide expected profit margins moving forward, growth of expenses and how you will compensate for them, and an over-all five year projection.
Slide 9: Competitive Overview
Here, you will need to address the other players currently in your market space. Do not try to dodge this discussion out of fear of talking about your competition. Competition is a good thing; it shows that there is an existing market and money to be made in it.
Discuss how your competition addresses the same needs your product will fill, but stress the key differences that set your company apart. Will you solve the customer’s problems faster? More thoroughly? Provide stronger customer service? Make sure you paint a realistic picture of the competitive landscape while keeping your pitch attractive by explaining your advantages and battle plans.
Slide 10: Your Conclusion
Finally, your presentation needs a concise conclusion to deliver an emotional impact. Much as your opening summary served to bait the interest of the investors, this one should hammer home the main points of your pitch and capture your investor’s favor at a deeper level. Be sure to re-touch upon the problem your product solves and how you’ll solve it, and finally conclude with a strong statement of value. Since all decisions are made with equal parts brain and gut, you want the investor to leave your presentation with both a firm understanding of your product and business model, and a positive emotional attachment to it.