Design Your Way to Funding: Building a Pitch Deck that Gets Results

A pitch deck is a valuable tool for entrepreneurs and startup founders to showcase their business, capture investor interest, and potentially secure funding for company growth.

Given its importance in presenting information visually, a well-made pitch deck is essential for convincing investors.

But the question remains: How can you create a pitch deck that truly impresses investors?

Let's explore that question in this article.

Understanding the Basics of a Pitch Deck

In the business world, a pitch deck is a concise presentation used by entrepreneurs and businesses to provide a brief overview of their company or startup to potential investors, such as venture capitalists or angel investors.

A pitch deck presentation, sometimes called a slide deck, is a visual document that offers investors important information about your business plan, products or services, fundraising needs, and important metrics like target market, , financial goals and valuation. Good pitch decks are straightforward yet informative, often featuring visually appealing slides made with software programs.

Pitch Deck Best Practices & Design Tips 

1. Utilize Storytelling Techniques

Stories are influential.

They engage and persuade.

Plus, they connect with your audience emotionally, guiding their decisions—often driven by emotions, yet grounded in logic.

Consider trying one of these storytelling structures for your presentation:

A. The Before-After-Bridge Formula

Start by describing a world dealing with a specific issue (before). Move on to envision a world without that issue (after). Finally, introduce your business idea (the bridge).

B. The PAS Formula

PAS, which stands for Problem, Agitate, and Solution. Begin by outlining a problem (one that resonates with your audience), amplify the problem, and then present your solution (your product or service).

C. TED Talk presenter Nancy Duarte’s Formula

This method involves shifting between the present (the status quo) and the future (the ideal scenario). Wrap up your story with your business proposal (the bliss).

No matter which storytelling framework you opt for, ensure your presentation is well-structured for a smooth delivery.

2. Emphasize Benefits, Not Features

When pitching your business idea, focus on highlighting the benefits it brings rather than just listing its features.

Take Dropbox, for instance. In 2007, they secured $1.7 billion in funding and gained support from investors like JP Morgan by emphasizing how their idea would revolutionize data storage and sharing, rather than just talking about its features.

To replicate this approach, focus on how your product or service will improve the lives of its users.

3. Show Instead of Just Telling

Whenever possible, provide practical demonstrations of your idea's value rather than just describing it.

Think about Tinder's pitch deck, which earned over $50 million in funding across three rounds. They did this by presenting a relatable story and visually showcasing their app within their presentation.

You can do the same by using wireframes, minimum viable products, or mockup screenshots to visually explain the solution you offer.

By showing instead of just telling, you engage your audience's imagination, making it more likely for them to support your idea. This approach leverages the persuasive power of storytelling and visualization to garner a positive response from potential investors or stakeholders.

4. Make Sure Your Pitch Deck Looks Professional 

Consider using an AI Presentation Maker to enhance the appearance of your pitch deck, especially if you're not a design expert. This tool can give your deck a unique edge compared to the standard PowerPoint presentations. Along with using this handy tool, keep these simple design tips in mind:

a. Keep It Simple

Avoid overcrowding your slides to keep your audience engaged. Opt for clean designs that make a lasting impression. Overly busy slides can confuse your audience and distract from your message. Only include visuals that are necessary, avoiding unnecessary icons or graphics. Each element should have a clear purpose to improve clarity and understanding.

b. Make It Easy to Read

Choose readable fonts that won't strain your audience's eyes. Stick to common presentation fonts like Verdana or Georgia. And make sure your font size is big enough—at least 24 points. Don't go overboard with fonts; stick to 2-3 styles to keep things clean and simple.

c. Use Colors Wisely

Think about your business's brand identity when picking colors for your presentation. Thoughtful color choices can leave a strong impression on your audience and convey specific emotions. Pay attention to color psychology to evoke the right responses. Ensure your color palette offers good contrast to improve readability across your slides.

5. Craft Engaging Pitch Deck Content

After perfecting your design, focus on your written content.

The goal is straightforward: keep your writing simple, clear, and impactful.

Remember, presentation slides aren't the place for long paragraphs. Aim for 6-8 lines per slide—around 30 words per slide.

Consider using the 5 x 5 x 5 rule:

  • Limit text to 5 lines per slide, with
  • 5 words per line, and avoid having
  • 5 consecutive text-heavy slides in a row

Alternatively, try the 2/4/8 rule:

  • Transition to a new slide every 2 minutes, featuring
  • 4 bullet points per slide, with each point containing no more than
  • 8 words

Regardless of your approach, the principle remains the same: keep your text concise.

Start by writing your content without worrying about length. Then, edit it carefully. Remove any overly technical language or unnecessary filler.

Avoid using jargon; opt for simpler language so your audience can easily understand.

Additionally, steer away from abbreviations and rephrase sentences to make them shorter.

6. Practice Your Presentation Delivery

Confident delivery is important for reaching your funding goals.

Take the time to practice every aspect of your presentation, including what you'll say, how you'll say it, and timing your speech with your slides.

Keep a steady speaking pace to keep your audience interested; speaking too slowly can bore them, while speaking too quickly can make it hard for them to follow along.

During practice, work on removing filler words like "umms" and "ahs" to make your delivery feel more natural and conversational. Avoid reading directly from your slides, as this can make your presentation less engaging.

Try to make eye contact with your audience, even though it might feel overwhelming. If that's tough, looking at people's foreheads can be a helpful trick.

Closing Thoughts

That's all for now. We hope you're feeling confident about putting together a pitch deck.

Just remember: focus on your target audience and how your business can solve their problems. Tell a story that they can relate to. And when you present, do it with confidence. 

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