How to Write a Great Investor Pitch Deck
March 20, 2021
How to Write a Pitch Deck
Every pitch deck is different.
Every business is different.
Every investor is different.
Despite this, people repeatedly make the same mistakes when writing pitch deck slides. These five essential rules, drawn from our experience of creating great investor pitch documents, will help you impress.
How to write a pitch deck: Five rules
1. How to write a pitch deck: Start with the big picture
To build on the Eurythmics song: Behind every great pitch is a great message. Make sure you have one big clear message underpinning your pitch. And one clear message for each slide. Writing these is the hardest part of putting an investment pitch together, but it is also where the most valuable work is done. When you have clear messages throughout, clear messages underpinning your pitch and clear messages in all your headlines, it’s much easier for your investor to understand your pitch.
2. How to write a pitch book: Decide how you will use it
Are you creating:
- A handout to be read afterwards?
- Something to be projected on a screen?
- Or a pitch document that you go through page by page?
These three uses require different documents. SO, design your pitch document for the use intended. One size does not fit all. This is possibly the biggest mistake made in pitches. We see it again and again, whether in investor pitches or business pitches. Remember: a pitch deck to be read at a desk vs a pitch deck to be presented should be as different as a book and a movie.
3. How to write a pitch deck: Tell your story in the headings
Think like a journalist. Make your headlines count. Your pitch deck headlines need to grab attention and inform. They need to be interesting and push your story forward. The headline writer at a newspaper is one of the best-paid jobs in journalism. Great pitch headlines will make it easier for others to understand your pitch and will make it easier to tell your story.
Work with someone who can write great headlines for you.
4. How to write an investor pitch: Make it interesting
That may sound obvious. But, we usually find extensive padding in investor pitches. Take out everything non-essential and keep only what the investor needs to know. Say less, and say it better is a good rule of thumb. Move pages to the appendix if you are not sure.
5. How to create a great investor pitch deck: Made it easy
Imagine you are your audience sitting reading your document. You are short of time, under pressure and lazy. So, does your pitch document pass these tests:
- Is the pitch document easy to read?
- Does the important information leap out?
- Does it answer all the top questions that investor will have?
- Keep transforming your document until it is as easy to read as a newspaper. And make sure you don’t make any of these common pitch document mistakes.
These five golden rules will help you create great pitch books.
And, if you want help with your pitch deck, we would be delighted to discuss what we can do. Call Louise Angus, our Client Services Director today on +44 20 7018 0922 or email her below.
And why do you need a better investor pitch deck?
A compelling investor pitch book is at the heart of successful fundraising. You use it to make it easy for the reader to understand you.
These days, a great pitch deck is not a “nice to have”, it’s a “must have”. A better pitch deck will help you raise money faster.
Working with our clients we have seen, again and again, the positive impact a great pitch deck makes. And this is equally true in private equity, hedge funds and in publicly-listed companies.
Just to be clear, we are not just talking about having a well-designed investor pitch deck (although that can help). A great investor pitch deck has the right content, organised in an investor-friendly way. It’s a pitch document that’s a pleasure to read and that addresses what an investor needs – and wants – to know. And it’s a pitch document that properly reflects the heart of your business.
It’s the difference between a piece of music by Saint-Saëns and by Stockhausen: they both contain the same notes, but one is a delight to listen to; the other is hard work.
1. A better investor pitch deck makes it easier to get first meetings
Just last month I saw this tweet by VC Nic Brisbourne of Forward Partners. If you make it easy to understand your investment proposition, then the reader is more likely to meet you. What this means is that you need to clarify your investment case, and then tell your story clearly and simply.
2. Writing a better investor pitch deck helps you stand out from the competition
If an investor gets ten pitch decks in a pile, what makes yours stand out? How can you get yours to the top of that pile? The good news is that there are tried and tested techniques that you can use. For example, when we re-write pitch books for our clients, we make them shorter and easier to read. Look at this collection of great early-stage pitch books for inspiration.
3. Writing a better investor pitch deck explains what makes you special
Does your investor pitch book really explain what makes you different? Can you equip your investors with the tools they need to justify their decision to take investment in you to the next stage?
This means finding the elements of your investment proposition that are distinctive and that underpin your success. For example, it could be your track record, your team, your approach or your investment strategy. You need to be very clear on this. Having one strong, distinguishing, memorable feature is more powerful than having ten.
4. Developing a better investor pitch book helps the investor talk about you as you want to be talked about
Imagine what happens after an investor reads your documents. They might discuss you, write about you, and share information with their colleagues. Have you written your pitch document so that it’s easy for them to do all of these things? Can they spread the word in a memorable and engaging way? That’s the sign of a great pitch deck. It means writing it so your words can be easily repeated.
5. Writing a better investor pitch document answers an investor’s immediate questions
Every investor will have questions. The easier you make it for them to get the answers they need, the more likely they will consider you seriously. But it must not say too much – it can’t answer every question or it becomes unwieldy. For example, in a teaser document, think of your pitch book as a CV or resumé. It should share just enough information for people to want to meet you, and no more.
6. A better investor pitch deck helps investors ask you the right questions
When you meet investors, you want to have an intelligent conversation. Well, what about writing your pitch so that it guides the conversation as you want it and stimulates the right questions?
For example, if you are raising money for a better mousetrap, and the key piece of evidence for the success of your business are the sales on Amazon, you want to write your pitch to encourage the investor to ask questions about that.
7. A better investor pitch deck weeds out those investors who are not interested
A great way to save time is to identify those investors who are not really interested. A ‘NO’ is the second best answer you can get. It’s the ‘Maybe’ answers that are often least illuminating. So, be clear, be definite and show exactly who you are and who your investment is best suited for.
8. A better investor pitch document makes life easier for the investor
Your pitch book could be the start of a wonderful relationship. If you make life easy for the investor from the start, they are more likely to want to work with you. A great pitch book is a great way to begin that process.
9. A better investor pitch book means more successful investor meetings
I am sure we have all experienced a meeting where you turned up to an investor and it was clear they hadn’t read your pitch documents. That might have been a sign that your pitch book was less than ideal. Your pitch book should be as easy to read as a newspaper or magazine. If it is, the investor can flick through it quickly and understand your investment case. We like to apply our ‘Flick Test’ to all pitch books to make sure the core messages are easily accessible.
10. Writing a better investor pitch document saves you time
As well as all the benefits for the investor, a better pitch book also saves you time. You get to speak with the right investors and you spend less time answering obvious questions. A great pitch book should also accelerate the fundraising process. That means you can get back to managing your business – where you really add value.
What can you do today?
We help firms and fund managers improve their pitch books.
From small private companies to some of the biggest firms in Europe, we create value wherever we work. We work on short-sharp projects that add huge value.
It does not cost much, and will repay itself many times over. Find out more today.
To improve your pitch deck, speak to our Client Services Director Louise Angus today or call her on +44 20 7018 0922.
Tell her what you want and we will help you improve your story to investors.
Other valuable resources to improve your talks and presentations
How to start your speech and presentations
The So What Test – an essential tool
Transform your fundraising presentations How do you make boring topics more interesting?
How to give high-impact presentations
Presentation structure – a quick guide PowerPoint presentations – The alternative
Avoid Death by PowerPoint
Presentation Coaching Course
About Benjamin Ball Associates
At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help clients to pitch, present & persuade.
Over the last 10+ years the award-winning BBA team has supported hundreds of firms globally to present powerfully to investors. You get access to a transformational toolbox of techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.
We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.
Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and discuss your upcoming investor pitch.
Contact us for a chat about how we can help you with your presenting.
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