Common Pitch Deck Mistakes

A pitch deck is one of the most important instrument in a businessman’s arsenal. It can be used to convey investors about your goals, outline your progress, and create new opportunities for your business.

However, a pitch deck can also create opposite impacts if it’s not executed in a right way.

Suppose, you are about to go in front of a potential investor and deliver your pitch deck, but you’re unsure if you have all your ducks in a row. It is estimated that about 90% of startups fail. As intimidating as it sounds, you can end up being part of that 90%, if you are not able to get your pitch deck right and convince the investor to invest in your business to take it to new levels. In a world of growing economic variability, having a fine pitch deck is a must.

As Albert Einstein famously said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”

In other words, once you recognize the possible mistakes you will encounter in your pitch deck you are at least halfway there.

  1. Unprepared for questions or feedbacks

While having an interaction with investors, you are bound to come across questions and feedbacks. If you are unable to respond to the proposed question about your pitch deck or your business, then this might put you in bad stead with the potential investor.

Solution to this issue is practice. Attempt practicing your pitch deck in front of colleagues, peers, friends, and family and seek their critical feedback. If you are not able to respond to their questions appropriately, it is highly possible you won’t be able to do the same in front of investors where you are under pressure and you might end up losing opportunity. Bear in mind that an investor will want to see you as a man with ready replies; they won’t want a deferred or delayed answer.

2. Providing impractical projections

This is another important matter to be focused on which will not only help you to convey your plans better in front of investors but also will help you in the long run. Investors don’t want to see far out and impractical evaluations where you are forecasting a multi-million dollar projection within the span of three years. It only results in frustrating the investors and blow away your opportunity.

You also need to consider all the factors that could affect your finances in the long run. For example, it would be wise to take note of the possible risks and competition in the market (both existing and anticipated) so that you can provide more accurate projections to the investor.

At the end of the day, if you are projecting high-end figures, you will need to justify the numbers with evidence.

3. Being a poor story teller

It is highly inappropriate to avoid clarity and logic while selling you product/service. The easiest way to do this is to identify a problem. As American inventor Charles Kettering once aptly said, “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.”

One of the first things you should be doing is pitching the problem or the reason why something like your business needs to be there to the investor, not the solution. Convey the problem in such a way that investor is able to relate and agrees to it. Before bring up the problem have adequate information about the problem such as why it is important and for whom the solution will be beneficial. It’s time to pitch solution once problem is defined.

4. No homework done

The importance that you should do thorough homework. Your homework strategy must be all-encompassing. You can’t rely on the fact that you have a great business idea, a great team, a great structure, and growth potential. This will ultimately prove to be worthless if you are expending time, money, and energy delivering a pitch deck to a disinterested investor.

To begin with, you wouldn’t want to be pitching anything to an investor unless it is clear the business is in a space he is interested in. It is very important for entrepreneurs that  they research the type and size of investments the firm or investor has made in the past.

Even sending an executive summary or business plan unsolicited to a potential investor is generally seen as a no-no. Investors are inundated with an immeasurable amount of correspondence on a daily basis. Having a go-between of high standing (for example, a lawyer, investor, or colleague) to refer your work in the first place will likely get you further traction than if you go in alone.

5. Failing to have a professional pitch deck

Your pitch deck presentation needs to look professional. It should not look as though it was done by an amateur. This will entail that you have a strong, professional-looking design, organized content, good transitions, and presentable charts or graphs. The presentation should also not look as though you have merely plugged information into a template. Make it your own.

Presentation slides should not be text-heavy. In this respect, less will always be more. The presentation itself should not be overly long and would ideally be less than 15 slides. If an investor is interested in the business, there will always be a time and place to provide them with further information.

Thankfully, there are plenty of example templates online which you can refer to, including the pitch deck for Mint.com, a startup that eventually sold to Intuit for $170 million. You can also access a Google template, as well as Facebook’s original pitch deck from 2004. There are also professionals available to help you with your pitch deck.

Conclusion

These are just five of the classic pitch deck mistakes that you are likely to encounter. However, being prepared and avoiding these mistakes will automatically put you in good stead with investors.