Everything You Need To Know Before Pitch Day

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Many small businesses and non-profits at some point need to think about fundraising and bringing in investors to get things done like enhance programming or launch a new venture. Gaining the attention of investors can be intimidating, but eventually, you will encounter one or 10, or 10 million. As your venture evolves out of the idea stage, odds are you will one day find yourself pitching your big idea for a substantial amount of money. Here are some tips so you don’t freeze during the Q&A session, and some gems to keep in mind when you’re creating your pitch deck.

What Investors Want

For starters, an investor’s job at pitch competitions is to look for any reason why they should not give you money. Don’t let them. Investors are looking for three main things:

  • Credibility: What is the problem and how is your product the solution?

  • Like-ability: Do you have charisma and have an inviting tone and mannerisms to go along? In other words, are you or your idea marketable enough to see it through?

  • Momentum: Do you have the energy and drive to get shit done?

When creating a pitch think about why your product is important to your company, your consumer, and your investor(s). Ask yourself, “How would the consumer feel without my product around?” Let that guide you. Lastly, don’t forget that investors are people too. Sometimes they may know absolutely nothing about your product. Engage them with emotional impact.

Know Your Numbers

Emphasizing your “why?” is cool, but judges also want to know the how. So make sure your pitch decks highlight some important numbers such as clients, costs, reach, impact, and profits. Here are some key performance indicators to highlight in your pitch deck.

  • CAC - Customer Acquisition Cost

  • CPC - Cost Per Customer

  • Growth - MoM, QoQ, YoY

  • Market Size

  • Revenue

Once your emotional impact and numbers are laid out, don’t forget one important thing. Research the investors who will judge the pitch competitions. Find out who the judges are, try to find their investment portfolio. Find their sweet spot. A little extra research will also help you figure what investors you want to work with and which ones you don’t.

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An impressive pitch deck is a key part of your fundraising toolkit.

Pitch Deck

Now that you’ve done all your research - its time to put the pitch deck together. When creating the pitch deck, think about using it to create a narrative. This is not the time to channel those powerpoint presentations you made for school. Your pitch deck should be able to work for you whether you’re presenting it to a room of people, or if you just need to email it to a potential stakeholder after a one-on-one. Bring the most important points out and leave the extra information for Q&A curveballs or as fillers in your presentation.

When our team is designing pitch decks for organizations, we break down this vital piece of marketing into 4 parts, why, how, ask, and sell. Use the guide below to help organize your points and slides for your next pitch competition.

Your “Why?”

This is the area we find ventures get caught up with the most. As the business owner, it is easy to want to share every detail about our business idea in the beginning. However, it’s important to keep this section short and sweet. This is the one chance you have to pull at the emotional heart-strings in the room. Tell the story of how your business came to be, then go on to explain how it connects to the problem your business is solving. This way you are always approaching your pitch with why people need your product or service, rather than why people want or like your product.

Whenever the founder of Clean Course Meals pitches her healthy meal prep delivery service, she starts with what first inspired her lifestyle change, an unforgettable, unflattering experience she had before losing 150 lbs. She goes on to share with the room, how she did it using the meal prep strategies she now offers to a community in need of her service. In less than a minute she gets an “ah” and a “wow” from her audience, making it an easy introduction to a problem that is familiar - there is a need for affordable healthy food options for individuals and families living in New Orleans and surrounding areas.

Clearly, state the problem your business aims to solve so that there is no confusion for your audience. Make sure that this statement firmly addresses who or what groups your solution will impact, directly and indirectly.

Your “How?”

Once you’ve presented the problem it is now time to show how you will utilize your skills, your team, and your partners together to solve this problem. Are you an expert in your field, is there an operational strategy already in motion that has proven to be successful?

Give a step-by-step guide on how your operation works, how you plan to gain exposure, and how you are already solving the problem you presented.

Your “Ask”

Investors want to know where their investment will go, how funds will help your operation, and how supporting your organization will benefit them. Be honest and candid about how stakeholders will be affecting your future. If you’re a non-profit, and you aim to expand your location for future programming with your new investment, include a brief breakdown of the cost of your expansion versus financial milestones you plan to meet over the next 3 years. It’s best to be upfront about projections.

Your “Sell”

If you’ve tackled the first three parts of your pitch deck, you’ve already done the tough stuff. The sell should be easy. This is the part where you get to brag and show off those who believe in your vision thus far. Showcase satisfied clients, other happy investors, or successful fundraising efforts. Take every opportunity to share your wins. Make note of a long-time stakeholder in your business and focus on how you’ve helped them. If you have loyalty programs for various levels of stakeholders, mention your tiers and a few of the best perks for getting involved and supporting your cause.

You are guiding potential stakeholders through your story, why you are the right organization to solve your presented problem, starting with the “why” and “how” you and your team are turning your vision into reality. Finally, end the slideshow with additional information such as social media handles, website, and personal contact info.

Tip: If you’re sending your pitch deck as a pdf, potential investors usually look through pitch decks for about three minutes, so make sure to fill up the pitch deck with interesting photos and infographics and keep it within 10-20 slides. We don’t have to tell you to invest in a design team to make this deck look stunning, but we will anyway.


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