Why your startup’s pitch deck isn’t ready for prime time

When it comes to finding willing investors, nothing matters as much as the presentation, or ‘pitch.’

The business idea, the investment options, the market, and the story behind the company are important. But how the information is presented and what the potential investors walk away from the meeting understanding  — this is where the rubber meets the road and real traction is gained. Any startup needs to take careful notes about maximizing their pitch delivery because those who want to win over and persuade top tier investors need to fine tune their presentations to a degree they never thought possible.

The suit makes the (wo)man, and the visuals make the presentation

Presentations that are visually generic and boring are not going to interest decision makers. Whether the presenter is using PowerPoint, Keynote, or InDesign, the pitch deck should be beautifully designed and perfectly complement the person giving the talk. Investing the time and money needed to develop a sleek and professional presentation that will stand out from the crowd is key. A business incubator can offer the tools, but finding investors is about impressing people. Why should anyone else care about the company story if the company itself does not seem to? The presentation is the time to be excited about the company and all that it can do for the investor and for the market, and share that excitement and enthusiasm with the audience. A great presentation can be the perfect business accelerator; companies just need to reach out and seize the opportunity.

Rehearse until the mouth is dry

The spoken part of the presentation should flow seamlessly, be engaging, and leave investors excited about the new company. Presenters should avoid referring to notes or to their own presentation, they should know the entire piece by heart. Before a person walks into a new job interview at their dream position, they are sure to rehearse their answers and look sharp. They make sure their portfolio contains everything they want to share. They practice in front of mirrors and ask friends to give them practice questions. Imagine the presentation is a job interview. The presenter should show the audience that their ideas are so new and so exciting, that the investors would be missing something if they did not join in.

Rehearsal does not apply only to the spoken part of the conference, however. A startup should also be sure to go over all their tech (remotes, pointers, projectors, screens, etc.) and make sure that everything works properly. There should be backup plans and ways to troubleshoot in case something goes wrong on the big day. It is not possible to be too prepared. Keep everything contained within the presentation, and avoid linking from the presentation to the Web. It will minimize the chances for something to go wrong.

Prepare to Win

The presentation is the key to landing investors and building the business. Winning over prospects at this elite level, however, requires time and energy. Startups will never regret making the investment in perfecting the pitch.

Photo credit: Flikr.com, Bill H.