These slides try to help an audience understand where you fit in the world, and why that’s exciting.
There are many ways to do that. You can frame where you fit economically, defensively, against competitors, for customers, against other layers in the industry, in comparison to analogues in other industries, and in many more ways.
But positioning should satisfy two objectives: it should help understand specifically where you fit, and it should be exciting. If it’s missing one of those two, it’s failing.
There are some common formats below, but try to be more creative, and have the format serve the story you’re trying to tell. For example, positioning might be best told for you through customer lock in and how you build your competitive moat. In that case, none of the formats below will work, and you’d want to start fresh from a general slide.
(This is one section of a large bank of slide formats to use in your pitch. To follow along, subscribe to the Pitch Patterns publication on Medium. For a free .key version of these slides, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Here are some templates to consider:
Simple Customer Statement
You’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs can’t concisely explain what they provide, and for whom. This does that, by positioning in the most pure way possible: for what customer?
Visual X for Y
Startups are fond of saying “We’re X for Y”. Uber for massages. Open Table for yoga. And so on.
This can be a clean, simple way to help people understand where you fit, if a) the comparison is exciting, and b) it’s easily understandable.
Don’t try to stretch it. It there’s any doubt that it’s working, then it’s not working.
2 by 2
This is simple: pick two characteristics of the value you provide, and map out your competitive landscape against them.
You’ll be an open area at the upper right. If you’re not, then try again.
Quadrant 2 by 2
Same as above, but in 4 quadrants. This is one of the most common visual formats you’ll see.
This format differentiates you from competitors by what your feature set is.
It’s actually more of a sales slide for customers. It works better in that context, because presumably your customers will have a much deeper understanding of their pain point than investors, and so this format will hit home.
Investors have a harder time viscerally understanding the pain through this format, so it’s generally not a strong format for fundraising pitches.