Making my first Pitch Deck
Honestly, the best way to start a story is by being honest. And, I have no clue how to make a pitch deck. I have read so many articles, heard so many stories and hundreds of people have told me that I need to have a pitch deck ready, but honestly, I am not sure how can I express my “grand” plan (Its not really grand, its small, with potential to make a difference) on a PowerPoint.
As a kid, I didn't really see too much value in PowerPoint, but now financial future (to some extent) of my dream project depends upon these slides is kind of overwhelming. But how did we come to this stage that a meeting with a person is incomplete without a pitch deck. Isn’t me standing here telling you of my project and plan enough, that you need a thoroughly prepared deck that should be oozing of a billion dollar opportunity to really complete a presentation. Would me giving you an upward growing chart of my user acquisition, with a downward chart of spending is really going to seal the deal? I am sure the answer is no. These guys are smart, I am sure they know, its just for ‘documentation’. That’s how we used to ask for evidences during my time as an auditor. We would meet the client or call them up and say “Could I have that screenshot please, I need it for documentation” Despite all the valid protest from the client that you already have enough to prove your case, you still need that additional insignificant screenshot! And they would give it to us, because I used to be persistent. But that persistence did not come from my belief that the screenshot was of tremendous value, but it was because of conformity. Conformity to ‘standard’ practice because, that’s how it’s always done. And you can see the itch or restlessness in your managers when you are trying to fight your case that things should change. But because they are so used to a certain way, they do not baulk and you end up conforming to their ways, which in turn becomes your way too, because that is ‘standard’ practice and that’s what even you start to believe in and that’s exactly what you’ll end up teaching the newer lot who would look up to you for guidance and find nothing but conformity to ‘standard’ practice.
However, I completely agree that if I can’t put my plan on paper, then it may not really be a plan but just an imaginary story that I tell myself every morning and night (which is true, I do keep telling myself everyday that it’ll work). Hence, I need to focus on the pitch deck, because I get distracted too soon by my own story (paragraph 2 is a good example of that). My biggest concern is with the numbers to be put in a pitch deck. I am not really an accounting guy, I have worked for big accounting firms, but I am a technology guy. I don’t understand ‘capex’ or ‘opex’. I actually Googled these terms, because I initially thought that was BS for financial intelligence snobbery. But Capex is Capital Expenditure and Opex is Operating Expenditure. Financial guys are super lazy because they end up shortening every possible financial terms and expect us to know them all. Back to the point, I cannot predict how much money a person in a country like India would like to pay for my product or services. Honestly, I truly feel that people pay for services and not really for the product. So your services need to stand out for someone to pay anything for your product. So I could put an arbitrary number and say that people will pay this * number of people who WILL use my product/services * number of months they will subscribe for = an imaginary big number originating from a big assumption, irrespective of how thorough your market research may be, as a startup, you are still primarily assuming how much people may pay for your services (A manager once asked me never to assume and what he said was prophetic, “Assume if broken down is ‘Ass’, ‘U’, ‘Me’. And if you ‘assume’ you are making an ‘Ass’ of you ‘U’ and ‘Me’) Hence, giving a number on how much money the business could make or how much we are going to spend is proving difficult. Because, personally, I hate giving ball park numbers. I feel like I am lying to myself than to anyone else. And one thing my late father always told me was, “never cheat on your work and if you fail, its because you did not work hard enough and you were not honest to yourself about the work you put into it”.
To conclude, I need help with my Pitch Deck.