Here’s Why You Don’t Need a “Standard” Pitch Deck Template
One of our team’s definite strong suits is producing engaging, entertaining presenting decks. We’ve had more than enough practice whether it was at SXSW, IPO Pitch or Pitchathon; and always receive great attention and traction from whichever crowd we present to. But an Investor ready deck is a whole different ball game. How do you produce a deck, that in 10–15 static slides is going to make an investor sit up and take notice, bearing in mind they’ll probably quickly view it while scrolling through their emails. Here’s what we have learned when creating ours.
Don’t Google “How to create the perfect Pitch Deck”
You’ll probably come to an article like this.
GREAT! It worked for Air BnB, let’s just copy their template, put our details in and we’ll have investors knocking at the door. Well, we initially had this template, and attempted to fill in the gaps. We ended up with a deck — a pretty horrible one at that.
Then we thought: Are we Airbnb? No. Are we Uber? No. Are we one of the umpteen companies charging crazy money to create you an ‘investor ready’ pitch deck? No. We’re our own company, with our own story, own team and own special sauce. That’s what will make an investor take notice, so we made sure our deck exemplifies that.
Talk To Strangers
If you met a complete stranger, and were asked to describe the story of your company in 5 minutes what would you say?
What will make this complete stranger understand who you are, why you started this, and most importantly why is it so important that your company is here? You’ll start to realize what really makes people ‘get’ you, your company, and why it’s so important that they take notice.
By talking to strangers, we discovered the stories and points that made us want to talk with raw enthusiasm and passion. That’s what truly matters, and returned more “wow that’s cool” moments than anything else. After this, we really struggled to see why when it comes to an Investor Deck most spend half the time talking about the ‘competitor landscape’ or their ‘extensive advisory board’.
Don’t lose the story when turning it to visuals
Converting the story into a flowing, original narrative that truly showcases all of the above in a compelling visual format can prove very difficult.
Imagine your deck as a short book, where each page builds on the last but has its own importance and contribution. If you can take out a slide and your deck still makes sense as a narrative, there’s something wrong.
What to do when everyone keeps saying you need a template?
Yep, we’ve received the upmost ‘critical advice’.
“I don’t get the format?”
“You’re missing some slides here?”
“Why is your team slide first when you’re first time founders?”
One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned since starting Blurr is be yourself, and the same people will gravitate towards you. Never change for someone who doesn’t understand your why and motives. So, it’s okay to reject advice that has no relevance to you and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We may not want to do business with someone who doesn’t understand that the fact we’re roommates and best friends is paramount to Blurr’s existence. That’s the start of our story and that’s why it’s the first slide. Take all of the advice you can get, but be selective in the advice that you act upon. After all, you don’t want to get an investor that wants to take the company in a different direction.
It’s quality, not quantity that matters
Creating a pitch deck that regurgitates your powerful 5 minute story may get you less meetings with investors (which is really messed up when you think about it) but at the end of the day, who cares? Receiving a ‘shit guys that deck is powerful, incredible story’ response from 1 in 10 people who see our deck is better than getting a bang average response from 5 in 10.
We know that 1 in 10 is someone who gets our ‘why’ and understands that is of paramount importance to being successful. Hell, they may just be refreshingly pleased to see a bit of originality by actually showcasing who you are and finding people that love it.
We’ve been intent on showcasing Blurr’s own personality across all our content, without taking much consideration for the status quo. Thankfully we didn’t lose that with our pitch deck. After all, first impressions are everything, so why wouldn’t you give the most genuine?
*If you want any more information regarding our deck, please reach out at email@example.com
Originally published at yourblurr.com on May 17, 2016.