According to several studies, the average American has an attention span of 8 seconds, and that probably applies to you, too. This fact has proven highly problematic for some industries, but as an entrepreneur, things are not so grim.
While getting hold of a potential investor is a difficult task in itself, the famous “1-minute elevator pitch” is a generally accepted time-measuring “device”. i.e., once in a room or electronically in front of a seasoned investor, you likely have a little more than 8 seconds to plead your case. Use that time wisely!
To exponentially better your chances, you should be ready to focus all your energy on your pitch deck. A short and sharp presentation can take you to the next round with the right investor. And here’s what that presentation should include:
- The problem you’ve noticed and the solution you’re offering. Each successful new business should address a need in a specific market. Whether you’re coming up with a new solution altogether, or bettering an existing one, your reasoning should be clear to someone who is perhaps not as familiar as you with the relevant market. Explain it the way you would to a layperson – that will not only answer all questions an investor may have, but it will also show that you, yourself, understand that market.
- Market overview. Even innovative businesses are connected to an existing market. Be honest with yourself when assessing your context and your competitors. That will show potential investors that you have a proper grasp of your business environment.
- Defining the product. Create a visual representation of your product – not all investors have great imagination! Make sure you explain how it works, who your target customer is, and how you intend to bring it to market.
- Your competitive advantage. How do you compare against your competitors? What are you bringing to the table that’s new and makes people’s lives better or easier?
- Your history. Show what you have done in the industry or, if that’s not the case, how your previous experience in another field can be used to build your product/company/vision.
- An augmented projection of growth. Give investors a good idea of what your numbers will look like, from investments to expenses. The more detailed, the better.
As a general rule, try to make your presentation as visually appealing as possible – where you can, use images, graphs, charts, and numbers, and make sure any text is brief and to the point. Everything you include should help create a full picture of what you’re trying to do with your product. Ideally, you will be in the room when the investor looks at the deck – in that case, you can provide them with more information as they’re reviewing it. But always assume that the deck, like a business card, should have all the information someone needs in order to understand where you’re coming from.
If you want some inspiration, Slidebean has some famous pitch decks from the likes of Airbnb, Facebook, and Uber. They’ve raised billions… so, they must be doing something right 😉