Prepare PowerPoint Deck Smartly
In the entrepreneur community or the high-tech world, you need a PowerPoint or keynote deck to present your new idea or business opportunity. But make one thing clear: your pitch is not your deck; it is you. People do not give million-dollar checks or even a five-thousand-dollar check to a deck. They give it to a human being or a team of human beings. So, it is true you must have a deck, but your deck will not make a penny for you. It will not be able to raise a single dollar; only you will do that. Have a deck, but you are the one that is going to put life in this business. You are the one who must excite people by showing your passion.
Guy Kawasaki’s 10 20 30 rule
There are many schools of thought on decks about what should go in a deck. Guy Kawasaki, who is famous in entrepreneur circles, has a famous 10-20-30 rule. He believes you should never have more than ten slides in your presentation. You should not speak for more than 20 minutes, even if the venture capitalist has given you an hour to speak. Leave the rest of the 40 minutes for conversation and Q&As. The 30 stands for 30 font size, which means making the font large. It is a fact that most rich people who have money to invest are of greater age and use glasses to read. Those people would not like to strain their eyes by trying to read a slide that is 30 meters away. In this way, you are allowing the investor to lose interest. If you have big letters and just a few words per slide, you will increase the odds that a person in the audience can read and understand it.
Essential Tools to attract investors
You can put three things in your presentation that impress investors more than anything else: the prototype, evidence of a robust and devoted customer fan base, and actual paying customers. Suppose you can talk about these three things compellingly, despite any other deficiencies in your presentation. In that case, you will succeed in having investors come in. Looking great, having good eye contact, or commanding voice but not talking on these three points will not make you raise any money.
Prototype of the product
Nowadays, the cost of doing business has fallen dramatically due to advancements in technology. You do not have to hire many people, or you do not need to have huge headquarters as people can work virtually. You do not have to buy huge server farms; you can use the cloud. There are so many tools you can use for free. The days are gone when you would make an idea on a piece of paper, a napkin, or a few slides, and people would throw money at you. They expect you to do your due diligence, which means creating a prototype. So, no matter what it is, whether it is an internet product, a piece of technology, or a new broom! Create the product no matter what you spend on the fancy art on your PowerPoint; it will be useless.
If it is a mobile app, show it how it works. If it is a broom, show it and tell how it works. You should be able to show the prototype of what you are presenting so that people can see it instead of visualizing it. It makes it easy for the investor to understand when they are looking at it with their eyes rather than stopping to imagine in their brain. The prototype doesn’t need to be perfect, but it must give an idea about the product. This will make your presentation powerful and make you stand out among the presenters with slides.
Show a solid fan base
The next thing you must have is a solid fan base. Facebook didn’t start with the assumption that billions of people use the internet, so if we get 1% of them using our social network, we will make money. This is not the way they make it. They just focused on the students of Harvard, dominated the market, and spread to other schools and colleges. You need to know what your base is and show some excited users. They may not be paying money like Facebook users but show you have a committed fan base. You can have a 20-sec video recording of one of the dedicated fans of your product. Embed this video in your PowerPoint, and ensure you have speakers attached.
A testimonial from an enthusiastic fan is compelling to attract investors because this is what they want. They understand that if you have one, you may have more. You can attract more, and you have the potential to create a large business. Sometimes people start businesses on social media sites while not being sure how they will make money. The point is that it is a fan base that investors are looking for.
Show the paying customers.
The third thing which is wildly attractive for investors is money. If they see you already have the revenue, they practically salivate. This does not apply all the time. If you have something as monumental as Twitter, you don’t have any revenue but you can still be valued at a billion dollars if your product has rapid growth. But for other businesses, including non-technological products, having committed customers and clients paying you money is a powerful tool to attract investors. Do not bury that plus point.
Too many entrepreneurs spend too much time describing the design elements of the products. Investors do not care about design elements; they want to see that you have a product for which there is a need in the market, and if you already have customers paying you money, you prove the concept. You can capture a ten-sec video of a customer talking about why they like your product or why they are paying money for advertising on your site. Whatever the situation is, if you can represent paying customers, you are light years ahead of entrepreneurs who only have concepts or slides. Even a high school student can make a PowerPoint slide. Not that many people overcome the next hurdle of finding paying customers. Put that into the presentation, ideally with a short video clip. Talk about who your customers are and use their own words. By doing this, your pitch for venture capital will be much more powerful.
Carefully organize and prepare your PowerPoint deck. The famous Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule successfully prepares a good presentation, which means preparing ten slides, talking for 20 minutes, and using 30 font sizes in your presentation to let the audience read without glasses. Prepare a prototype of your product that gives an idea of what you have in the form of a discrete identity, not just an imagination. Show that you have a solid fan base and that your product is meeting the demands of consumers on a large scale. Implement the wisdom in this article and you will be far ahead of entrepreneurs who rely on ideas or slides to conduct an investment pitch presentation.