Answer from Matthew Stroul, Technical Project Manager at IPsoft
The problem with pitch decks is that they must be guided presentations in order to tell your story, regardless of whether you’re pitching a new business or a new concept to an existing business. If you include too much information, story arc or problems you are solving, you risk losing decision makers in details or giving someone enough information to replicate your idea. Bloated decks are unmanageable decks.
What I have found works best is breaking down your deck by the needs of your audience and creating multiple pitches starting with an elevator pitch and culminating in a high-level menu that includes a business prospectus and a due diligence-laden and finessed business plan.
Let's break down needs vs deliverable:
- If you cannot say what you are doing in 15-30 words, you have not mastered it yet. Your elevator pitch is the problem you are solving and how you and your team will solve it.
- You have seconds to convey competence in taking on the challenge of solving a problem. Choose your words wisely; they will live on. Your investors or leadership will use these words to continually sell this solution.
Introductory Pitch (Statement of Authority)
- Here’s a method for deconstructing the core information every capital investor or leader needs in order to accept you as the best person to address the problem and execute the solution. This is called a PITCH MENU.
- The pitch menu is a two-page PDF or double-sided 11x17 menu that people can take with them from your expo booth, business lunch or passing conversation. The pitch menu lists the bare essentials of your business and allows you to safely release information about what you are doing. The pitch menu gives principles the information they need to set up a real meeting that doesn’t start at zero.
- An ideal pitch menu is simple, effective, and follows a hybrid of the Fortune & Crowdfunder pitch decks lensed through the Harvard School of Business - Bplan fundamentals.
Fundamentals Pitch (Business Prospectus)
- This is the full presentation. For this to be worth your and your audience’s time, it needs to be complete.
- THis is the deck most people think about when they worry or panic about having to ask for money from investors or leaders.
- You cannot produce this deck if it does not include three years of due diligence and market forecasting. You should hire a designer to produce the deck for screen and print. Style matters, and you should never share the deck unless you’re using it in a meeting.
- The deck should follow the Fortune & Crowdfunder templates available on those sites.
- The more you think, act and present yourself like you have a viable product that helps customers, the more problems you will be able to solve for your customers.
- Your business plan is not a deck.
- Your business plan is not a Microsoft Office template.
- Your business plan MUST be designed to be read easily by anyone.
- Your business plan MUST contain project controls.
- Your business plan MUST be visually stimulating but not distracting.
- Your business plan must be able to be read by senior level leaders who can take the words and immediately put them into action.
- Your business plan WILL be a living document that will grow over time.
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