It’s been a record-setting year for startups. If your small business is looking to take the next step and engage with the many investors out there to secure funding, you’ll want to get started on your pitch deck sooner rather than later. And while you are likely eager to get your company off the ground, finding the right investor is crucial to ensuring your startup’s long term success. Take a look at some of the tips below to make sure your pitch deck packs a punch and gets investors on your side.
Investors understand you have a lot to share when it comes to pitching your dream company. It’s only logical that some of that content will be cut when preparing your deck. In this case, the old adage “less is more” rings true. But as you work to commit your vision to powerpoint, sometimes some of the most important, basic information can get lost, specifically as it relates to the financials. Investors will want to see this type of information up front so they know you’ve done your homework and are knowledgeable enough within your specific industry to speak to the overall market. Every deck should include background on the size of the market and potential for market penetration, in addition to detailed profitability projections and a breakdown of what you have achieved so far. If investors have access to the information earlier on, it’s easier for them to assess your needs and adjust accordingly. Similarly, engendering this level of upfront transparency will be helpful down the road as you become partners.
When it comes to financial information, you’ll want to be very clear about your timeline and look for investors who are willing to work with you on sustainable growth, rather than the arbitrary meeting of benchmarks that has come to dominate the startup industry. But this process can put pressure on entrepreneurs to meet deadlines that might not make the most sense as a company progresses, and takes away from management’s time to fully develop product timelines, update plans or even generate sales that might be better competitively in the long-term.
As such, when presenting your financials, startups are best served to establish long-term, sustainable goals and agree to an upfront evaluation. Then moving forward, look for investors who will commit to meeting your forecast capital needs for a significant period to come and who will also reward you for meeting or exceeding the goals you set with them. Regular check-in’s are a must.”
At the end of the day, your pitch deck should be a conversation between your company and your potential investors, so you can work together to achieve meaningful progress at a pace that makes sense. Allow them to get to know you, your company and your vision. Use this as an opportunity to tell your company’s story, past, present and future. Do you have a less traditional background or unique experience that makes you perfect to speak to your addressable market? Put that expertise front and center! Does your small business aim to improve efficiency in the workplace? Showcase that same approach in your deck design. You only have so many slides to get your point across, so make sure each one counts and points back to your central thesis. When your investors understand and care about your company’s visions, it’s easier to work with them to create sustainable goals and meaningful progress.
This is as much an opportunity to make sure the investor is the right fit for your company as it is the other way around. Trust your gut, and make sure your deck is attracting not only the right type of investor, but the right type of partner.
Alice P. Neuhauser is Seismic Capital Company’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Since May 2017, Neuhauser has served as President of Gramarye Media, Inc., helping to develop the business model and business plan for the start-up IP incubator. From 2002 to 2018, she served as the Responsible Officer and Manager of The Kushner-Locke Company and was responsible for all financial and operational functions for the company through its bankruptcy and post-restructuring.