You’ve perfected your script and know exactly how to cast your characters and start production — in your head. Or, you want to scale your business, and you finally mapped out financials and growth — again, in your head.
Creatives, entrepreneurs, and service-providers: how do you communicate your grand ideas to investors?
Enter the pitch deck, a slide presentation translating your business or creative genius into an accessible project plan for investors to chew into. But what is a pitch deck exactly? By the end of this article, you’ll better understand and have a starting point for one of your own.
Does your business plan need a pitch deck? We think so — that’s why Creative Clan includes them in our business plan offerings. Keep reading for the 411 on pitch decks, their purpose, contents, and why you need them.
Table of contents
What is the purpose of a pitch deck?
A pitch deck is a supplementary communication method. Its purpose is to convey your business or project concept and strategy in a concise, accessible, yet intriguing way. But the pitch deck doesn’t take away your work as an entrepreneur.
“Clients and investors want to hear a powerfully crafted pitch and feel persuaded,” says Janice Tomich, Vancouver-based communications coach. “The pitch deck supports those carefully crafted words.” In other words, pitches chime in, but your brand, presence, and knowledge are the show-stoppers.
While your pitch deck helps you stay on track and packages your ideas nicely, it’s more of a supporting role than a protagonist. “A good pitch deck promotes your product and clarifies your message,” says Sean O’Neal, president at Onclusive, a PR and Communications firm. “It should convey what you can do without overwhelming viewers, and should convince them to want to learn more and have another conversation soon.”
So, what should a pitch deck include to adequately promote your product and bring on investors? Let’s find out.
What is included in a pitch deck?
Many experts weigh in on the ideal length and structure for pitch decks. Some say 20 slides tops, while others scoff at anything over 12. But the slide number isn’t as important as the content and structure.
Pitch decks should organize your thoughts for you and your investors — for that, structure is key. Here’s a common sequence for most pitch decks:
- Intro + Vision: Offer a short-and-sweet intro with your company name, logo, and business in a nutshell.
- Problem: Describe your target customer or audience pain point.
- Solution: Ta-da! Show the spotlight on your project, product, or service.
- Business Model: Highlight your business or creative goals and plan to achieve them. This usually includes your revenue structure and growth roadmap.
- Team: Who spins the wheels? Showcase your team, including expertise and success stories.
- Competition: Describe your competitors and how you fill their gaps.
- Financials: Sales projections, expenses, and profits. If you’re new, you might include market research and more details about your business model.
- Fundraising and investment: Describe how you’ve used investment funds in the past and/or how you plan to use your audience’s investment.
That’s a lot of content, but don’t overdo it!
What does a pitch deck NOT include?
You might be tempted to share your entire business history with investors. But this should be avoided in your pitch deck. Here’s a few things you definitely shouldn’t include in your pitch deck.
Too much info: A common, damaging pitch deck mistake is to include too much information.
“A bad pitch deck is used to pitch AT someone. Clients don’t want to be pitched AT — they want to have a meaningful conversation,” says Andrew Monaghan, Founder of Unstoppable.io. “A great pitch deck drives a conversation with value for both sides.”
Use your judgment here. If your investors are experienced VCs, they don’t need to see an entire slide about rising inflation. Don’t insult your audience, assume they’re knowledgable and focus on communicating the things they don’t know about you and your vision.
Too much text: If you add research, make it impactful. One powerful stat is better than beating a dead horse with three slides of data. Plus, research and other context get text-heavy and exhausting, fast.
That’s where visually appealing charts and graphs come in. Monaghan highlights pitch decks as channelling “one of the most powerful forms of communication” — visual:
“Clients and investors will understand concepts quickly when explained with great visuals.”
Limited risk and competitor info: Nobody likes cockiness, least of all investors. While your pitch should feel confident, it shouldn’t feel arrogant. Avoiding risks to your business model makes you look unprepared and naive, even deceitful. Always be upfront about the competition and risk factors — this is your chance to explain how you’ll overcome them!
Remember, pitch decks are like licking the spoon after mixing batter. Your investors should leave feeling hungry for the rest of the cake, aka further conversations. And that’s where you can include all the supplementary information you want, including more detailed financials, research, and company history. When in doubt, practice your pitch in front of friends and family to ensure it’s ready.
3 Types of Pitch Decks
While the “investor pitch” is the most commonly thought of pitch deck, it’s not the only one. As a communication tool, pitch decks meet many industry and business needs. Let’s run through some common pitch decks:
Film and Television
Every director and screenwriter needed a pitch deck to showcase their ideas to investors. After all, they needed some coin to cover the costs of production, labour, marketing and advertising, venue rentals, and more.
What’s great about the film pitch deck is the creative freedom. Feel free to let loose with head-turning visuals of character portraits, colour palettes, and action shots, where feasible.
Here’s what your typical film pitch deck includes:
- Instant visual cues: A close-up of your protagonist; rich brand colours for your animations — this pitch deck should be a feast for your investors’ eyes.
- Brief summary of the plot: Describe general themes in the film or TV show and the types of experiences your characters will go through.
- Mood board: Include any colours, photos, and references to set the tone for your project.
- Main character details: Showcase the protagonist and main characters, with clear photos and descriptions.
- Team: Do you have actors yet? How about directors, producers, and co-writers? Add a couple of slides about your experience, expertise, and why you’re creating this project.
- Target genre and audience: What’s the market like for this genre? Who do you take inspiration from? And what does your target audience expect from you?
- Financial details: How much are you looking to secure in investment? What have you already invested in? Where will your investment money go?
Still can’t envision strong visual cues? Check out these great snippets from AdventureTime’s pitch deck:
These are for new or seasoned entrepreneurs seeking funding to launch or scale their businesses. We covered the general structure earlier on in this article, but here’s a quick recap:
- Intro + Vision
- Business Model
- Fundraising and investment
Need some inspo? Check out these snippets from Uber’s first pitch deck:
Marketing Pitch Deck
We know — marketing is a giant umbrella. But your average marketing pitch deck resembles a startup deck, but usually without the financial ask. Investors, employees, and even customers could see this pitch deck.
Here’s where you can highlight specific products’ attributes, selling points, and general USPs for your brand. You might present this pitch deck to an investor as supplementary info, or email it to anyone working with your content marketing.
Most marketing pitch decks include the following:
- Product/service overview: What is it? Include a photo and short description.
- Market: Who are you selling to?
- Problem and solution: What is your customer’s pain point and how do you solve it?
- Cost: What is the price for each variation of your product? Do you offer any special discounts?
- Traction: How is your product performing right now? Show stats and charts where applicable.
- Goals: What are your overall marketing and business goals? What’s the dream for your product?
- Competition: Who are they, and how do you surpass them?
Check out this example pitch deck snippet from Buffer:
Do I Need a Pitch Deck?
Probably. If you ever need to source funding or gain a new client, a pitch deck is an essential tool to communicate your business model. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have one in your back pocket just in case.
Pitch decks are also great resources for customers and clients. You could compare it to a demo — a sneak peek about how your product or service works and how it could help your ideal customer.
Making a Pitch Deck for your Business
Let’s face it: inflation is on the rise and funding is harder and harder to come by. If you’re able to launch with your own savings, all the power to you.
But if you, like many other business owners, need support – A pitch deck is the starting point to get it.
But you’re probably busy taking care of your customers and turning your creative passions into feasible products and services. Why don’t you let Creative Clan lighten the load? Contact us today for our pitch deck and business plan services!