Always Be Pitching
A quick argument for constantly improving your deck
You won’t often find a carpenter without a hammer, or a chef sans knife, but a shocking number of founders fail to keep their most important tool — a deck — in top form. My advice is to always have your overview deck handy & updated.
A crisp narrative will increase your valuation, improve your odds of closing a client, and help recruit more easily. Talking points matter. But it’s hard to put a fine point on your pitch without practice. You’ll find you use these talking points more than you think.
I’m not suggesting you obsess over polishing your deck at the expense of trying to close a big enterprise account or working on a roadmap with your product team, but letting your deck fall into a state of disrepair puts you in a perilous position when you may need it.
Here are a couple of issues you’ll face if your deck starts collecting dust and how to better incorporate it into your workflow:
👩🔬 Problem: Compounding Complexity
As a startup grows and pivots, the story tends to become less clear. After delivering the same pitch hundreds of times or scaling the team, it’s easy to start abstracting the message and forgetting to keep it crisp.
👂Solution: Seek Out New Ears
Use your pitch deck as the basis of your new hire orientation. Pay careful attention to questions you get from new employees/customers and more importantly, confused looks which are more revealing. Adjust the story with each telling.
📆 Problem: Story gets out of date
Success leads to new opportunities — AND opens you up to new kinds of rejection. The innovations that made you an appealing option for early-adopters will be anathema to some enterprise customers who will need specific concerns assuaged.
👩⚖️ Solution: Objection Response
Be systematic about incorporating responses to common objections in your pitch. If you lose a sale or receive novel feedback, figure out how to address that in your deck, whether it’s with a new slide, an adjusted message, or a new offering.
Don’t think of pitching as a time-bound chore, like bringing in the fall harvest. It’s something you need to be doing constantly. One of the best founder behaviors is to start each update or board meeting with a high-level reminder of the mission & vision.
As CEO of a VC-backed tech company, you have two jobs. Keeping money in the bank and bums in seats. Your vision deck is the most powerful tool you have to do both. Don’t let it get sloppy.
Managing Partner Micah Rosenbloom recently shared this as a tweetstorm. We collected the tweets as a post for your convenience. Please share it with entrepreneurs you know who are preparing to pitch VCs!