Winning Pitch Deck Structure for Founders
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
I have had multiple failed startups but also some successes. I have created so many pitch decks that I lost count but through all my experiences I have seen what works. I am a big fan of the 10/20/30 Rule when using PowerPoint. It forces you to be more natural and tell stories instead of just reading a paragraph from a slide that puts the audience to sleep. It’s very simple to follow: a pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and never use a font smaller than thirty-point. PowerPoint can be used in so many ways nowadays, and it’s essential for success when making a pitch. Whether you are raising capital, making a sale, or trying to form a partnership, follow these rules next time you are preparing for a presentation.
Ten Slides is the ideal amount of slides in a PowerPoint presentation. Beyond ten, people are unable to comprehend that many different ideas in one sitting, even venture capitalists! To be honest, if you need more than ten slides to explain what your business offers, you probably aren’t even sure about what you offer yourself! Regardless of the topic of your presentation, here is what the ten slides should show:
Company name, your name and title, and contact information. Tell your story and how the company came into existence. Talk about how the idea was born and why you are passionate about it.
Describe the problem your product or service is solving and the solution your company can provide. Incorporate it into a story and avoid reading text from the slide. This is where your expertise in the industry and passion to solve the problem you have identifies needs to be seen by your audience.
Strive to identify the value of the problem you are solving and why you are the best person to solve it. Focus on benefits for the customer. Not on product features. Use terminology that anyone can understand instead of industry-specific terminology.
This slide is best demonstrated with a prototype or product screenshots. Here, you need to reveal the secret to your product, and what sets it apart from those already on the market. If you are first to market in your category, make sure you highlight this as well. Have a short but very tailored and rehearsed demo prepared. Incorporate stories as much as possible. Study your audience. Some might want to just get to a demo very quickly while others might be interested in the talking points.
Your Business Model
How do you plan to generate revenue? After all, it is a business and not a charity. Talk about the one or multiple revenue streams, how each will work and cost/pricing for each, if available.
How do you plan to introduce the product into the marketplace? Touch on your strategy and why you believe you can execute it successfully and achieve the desired results.
Go into good detail about your competition in the market. Be honest, transparent and realistic about this analysis. Your audience will do their due diligence so you don’t want to come across as you are hiding facts or less aware of your competition than your audience.
List your management team, including advisors and current investors. Your audience will probably use this slide to determine if the team has the credentials necessary to execute or if they bring something of value to the table, like celebrity endorsement etc..
Funding needs and metrics
If all you have are projections, be realistic. You are not fooling anyone by providing inflated revenue projections. If you have some traction (users, customers) and they are trending up, include it in this slide.
Your timeline, current accomplishments to date and the use of potential funds. Talk about critical milestones for the next 12 months. Don’t go beyond that as it now becomes too much speculation.
Click here to gain instant access to my FREE pitch deck template to see how the above comes together.
Twenty minutes should be ample time to show these ten slides listed above. The rest of the time should be used for product demos and Q&A. If you spend any longer on your presentation, you’ll lose the interest of your viewers, whereas a dynamic conversation and discussion will keep them engaged the whole time.
I’m sure you’ve sat through many presentations in the past with tiny font, that’s completely impossible to read from a distance. There’s nothing worse than a PowerPoint presentation where the presenter simply reads from the slides, which makes the viewers do the same in turn. Avoid this situation and have a font at thirty-point, to ensure that everyone can see what’s on the screen. Keep notes separately so that you can give an engaging presentation that will capture your audience’s attention from the first slide.
The 10/20/30 Rule for PowerPoint has transformed my presentations over the last few years and is easy to remember and implement. It’s a guaranteed way to give informative yet exciting presentations and will help you stand out when you are next pitching a product or service your company offers.
Would like to hear your thoughts and your pitch stories. Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.